Donald Trump dismisses reports of 'promise' to foreign leader triggering intel whistleblower

Ben Riley-Smith
Congressional oversight committees have been notified over the phone call to a foreign leader - AFP

Donald Trump has pushed back at reports that a whistleblower in the US intelligence community had flagged concerns over a “promise” he made to a foreign leader. 

The US president tweeted that he was not “dumb enough” to say something “inappropriate” on a telephone call knowing that other members of his administration would be listening. 

The remarks were his first public comments about a remarkable stand-off between Congress and America's most senior intelligence figure about revealing details of the whistleblower’s claim. 

Legal procedures state that the relevant congressional oversight committees are meant to be given details of a whistleblower’s complaint in such scenarios if it is judged to be of “urgent concern”. 

The inspector general for the intelligence community, a form of watchdog, has decided that the complaint - which was filed on August 12 -  meets that level. 

However Joseph Maguire, the acting director of US national intelligence, has refused to share the details with lawmakers, triggering a heated row with congressmen and fierce speculation about the allegation itself. 

The Washington Post has reported that the complaint involved Mr Trump and a “promise” he made to a foreign leader, citing two former US officials familiar with the matter. 

The paper added that one former official said the communication was a phone call.

In the weeks leading up to August 12, it is known that Mr Trump talked to a number of world leaders including Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, and received two letters from Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader. 

He also hosted Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, Imran Khan, the Pakistani prime minister, and Tamim Bin Hamad Al Than, the emir of Qatar, at the White House. 

A Number 10 source told The Daily Telegraph that calls between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump were not the communications at the heart of the row. 

Mr Trump did not explicitly deny that his comments to a world leader were addressed in the whistleblower’s complaint but tweeted a broad rebuttal. 

He wrote: “Another Fake News story out there - It never ends! Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself. No problem!

“....Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially “heavily populated” call. I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!”