White House Admits They Did the (Other) Bad Thing

Photo: Evan Vucci (AP)

It’s been quite the week for White House admissions of guilt, following an anonymous whistleblower’s now-public complaint that President Donald Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to interfere in the 2020 elections by investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

First on Tuesday, Trump copped to the fact that, yeah, he did temporarily withhold military aid from Ukraine, telling reporters, “Those funds were paid, were fully paid,” but adding he would “withhold again.” And now, as the Democrats’ impeachment efforts ramp up, the White House is admitting to a second key part of the whistleblower complaint: that the administration blocked access to the readout of Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky by locking it away in a restricted server for classified information.

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In a statement to CNN, the White House said the decision to compartmentalize the information about the call came from National Security Council lawyers who “directed that the classified document be handled appropriately.”

The White House did not explain why the Zelensky call was handled this way, or the process that lead NSC attorneys to make that decision.

Still, the fact that the administration is admitting the fact that this particular call was not treated as most presidential transcripts are lends further credence to the whistleblower’s report, which also accurately described the content of Trump’s conversation with Zelensky—as confirmed by the White House’s self-defeating release of a memo detailing the call, in which Trump clearly pushes the newly elected Ukrainian leader to investigate the former vice president’s family.

Despite these two confirmations, the president has insisted the whistleblower complaint is “inaccurate” and suggested the information contained therein came from a “spy” or “partisan operative.”

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Seems like things at the White House are really clicking along smoothly!

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About the author

Rafi Schwartz

Senior writer. When in doubt he'll have the soup.