No 'big deal': Trump downplays reports that notes from phone call with Ukraine president were locked up to avoid leaks




  • In Business
  • 2019-10-09 22:57:19Z
  • By USA TODAY
No \
No \'big deal\': Trump downplays reports that notes from phone call with Ukraine president were locked up to avoid leaks  

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump downplayed reports Wednesday that notes from his phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky were stored in a highly secure system reserved for classified information, saying said he assumes the step was taken to keep them from being made public.

"This city is like the leaking capital of the world," Trump told reporters in the White House Roosevelt Room. "If you want to get something out to the press, all you have to do is hand it to somebody in Washington."

Trump's remarks are the first time he has publicly discussed the measures taken to safeguard records of his conversation with Zelensky. That conversation is at the center of an impeachment inquiry House Democrats have opened against Trump.

A bombshell whistleblower complaint, released two weeks ago about Trump's phone call with the Ukrainian president, alleged that White House staff took extraordinary measures to "lock down" all records of the conversation.

The declassified, partially redacted nine-page report alleges White House officials were "directed" to remove electronic records of the phone conversation from an internal computer system where the material is typically stored and instead the records were placed in a highly secure system reserved for classified information pertaining to national security matters.

Trump told reporters on Wednesday he doesn't know for sure why the notes were moved.

"I'm not a lawyer," he said, but "I can say this. I assume it was for leaks."

Trump insisted that the decision to lock the notes away "doesn't seem like a big deal."

"What is a big deal, I think they're probably trying to protect it from leaks," he said.

More: Donald Trump impeachment inquiry: White House says 'no' to Nancy Pelosi. China says 'no' to Joe Biden probe

Trump also claimed the whistleblower, whose identity has not been made public, is a "strong Democrat" with ties to one of his political opponents. That allegation drew a rebuke from the whistleblower's legal team.

"Our client has never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign, or party," attorney Mark Zaid said. "Our client has spent their entire government career in apolitical, civil servant positions in the Executive Branch."

Reports of Trump's phone call with Zelensky and efforts to conceal what was discussed have prompted House Democrats to open an impeachment inquiry into the president.

The Trump administration has released a summary of the conversation to counter allegations that he pressured the Ukranian president to open an investigation into a Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden's son, Hunter, who served the board of a Ukranian energy company.

More: Whistleblower says Trump used 'the power of his office' to solicit foreign help to discredit Joe Biden

On Tuesday, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter advising House Democrats that the administration would not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry because it considers the probe to be "illegitimate."

"You have designed and implemented your inquiry in a manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process," Cipollone said in the letter.

More: President Trump inserts Attorney General William Barr into political firestorm in call with Ukrainian president

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Impeachment: Trump says notes from Ukraine call locked up to avoid leaks

COMMENTS

More Related News

Fauci: Hydroxychloroquine not effective against coronavirus
Fauci: Hydroxychloroquine not effective against coronavirus

Dr. Anthony Fauci's comments come days after a 96,000-patient observational study concluded new findings about hydroxychloroquine.

Kathy Griffin Gets Backlash for Tweet About Giving Trump Syringe Filled With Air
Kathy Griffin Gets Backlash for Tweet About Giving Trump Syringe Filled With Air

Comedian Kathy Griffin has once again stirred up controversy with a tweet about President Trump. Griffin's name became trending on Twitter on Tuesday night after she tweeted about stabbing the president with a syringe full of air. Her post was in response to a tweet from CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, who wrote […]

Inside the Dizzying Effort to Pitch Trump to Black Voters
Inside the Dizzying Effort to Pitch Trump to Black Voters

WASHINGTON -- Nearly every week this spring, President Donald Trump's reelection team has held one of the most peculiar events of the 2020 online campaign: "Black Voices for Trump Real Talk." It is a dizzying effort by Trump's black advisers to put their spin on his record -- often with a hall-of-mirrors quality, as they push false claims about opponents while boosting a president who retweets racist material.The most recent session, on Saturday night, was one of the most head-spinning yet. For an hour on a livestream, three black Republicans tried to portray former Vice President Joe Biden as a racist, while ignoring decades of racially divisive behavior by Trump, from his remarks on the...

Widower of late Scarborough staffer asks Twitter to take down Trump
Widower of late Scarborough staffer asks Twitter to take down Trump's tweets

Trump has resurrected conspiracy theories about a 2001 accidental death to attack critical talk show host Joe Scarborough.

Trump insults Marine veteran Rep. Conor Lamb, calls him an
Trump insults Marine veteran Rep. Conor Lamb, calls him an 'American fraud'

President Trump spent part of Memorial Day taking shots at Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Penn.), calling him an "American fraud," misrepresenting his voting record, and spelling his name wrong, all in one tweet.Lamb, a Marine Corps veteran, represents Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District. The

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business