President Donald Trump knew of the whistleblower complaint when he released nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine, reports The New York Times.
The central thrust of the House impeachment inquiry into Trump focuses on whether the president tried to pressure a foreign government to investigate his political foes and used military aid as leverage.
The whistleblower was not among administration officials who heard Trump ask Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during a July 25 phone call to investigate Biden.
The Times report says Trump's lawyers briefed the president in late August about the complaint as they were attempting to determine whether they were legally required to give it to Congress. Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community, concluded it should be.
Reports about the complaint surfaced publicly in late September.
The whistleblower filed it Aug. 12. Trump released the aid to Ukraine on Sept. 11.
"There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great," Trump told Zelenskiy, according to a memo of the call released by the White House on Sept. 25. "Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it . . . It sounds horrible to me."
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