The Department of Justice’s criminal division reviewed a bureaucrat’s complaint about President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and found it neither urgent nor requiring referral to congressional committees. All relevant components of the department agreed with the legal conclusion, and the matter was concluded, a DOJ spokesman announced.
The complaint was leaked to the media and other Democratic officials who have used it to call for the immediate impeachment of President Trump. A transcript of the call was released to the public. In the wide-ranging phone call, the transcript shows the two leaders discussing Ukraine’s meddling on behalf of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, which the Justice Department today confirmed is now being investigated by a team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham.
The Ukrainian president asked that former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani, who is the president’s attorney, come to Ukraine. “We are hoping very much that Mr. Guiliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine,” Zelensky said.
The legal opinion rests mostly on the idea of whether the foreign policy role of the president of the United States is subject to unelected bureaucrats’ complaints. It is not, they found.
A complaint from an intelligence-community employee about statements made by the President during a telephone call with a foreign leader does not involve an “urgent concern,” as defined in 50 U.S.C. § 3033(k)(5)(G), because the alleged conduct does not relate to “the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity” under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence. As a result, the statute does not require the Director to transmit the complaint to the congressional intelligence committees.
The investigation also found that the complainant had political bias in favor of an election opponent of President Trump, though that had no bearing on the DOJ decision.