WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is under intense scrutiny over a classified whistleblower complaint about his behavior, which at least partly involves his dealings with Ukraine’s new president and Trump’s call for Ukraine’s government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, who is a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Here are some of the basic facts behind the controversy.
What did Trump do?
In a July 25 phone call, Trump is said to have pressed the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate Biden’s younger son, Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. Trump has seized on an unsubstantiated theory that Biden was trying to protect the company from prosecution when he called for the firing Ukraine’s top prosecutor in 2016. Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, has pushed the Ukrainian government to investigate the matter.
Why is this coming up now?
Because of an intelligence community whistleblower who filed a complaint last month about the president’s actions. An inspector general deemed the complaint “credible” and “urgent” and forwarded it to the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, who has refused to share it with Congress. The issue was brought into the open when the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., sent an angry letter to Maguire Sept. 10 demanding the complaint be shared with his panel.