President Trump knew about the whistleblower complaint filed in response to his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky when he released military aid to Ukraine in September, two people with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times.
Trump learned about the complaint in late August, when lawyers from the White House counsel's office told him they were trying to figure out if they were under legal obligation to turn it over to Congress, the Times reports. Trump's decision to hold nearly $400 million in military aid for Ukraine has become a central focus of the House impeachment inquiry against him. Witnesses have testified that Trump froze the aid over the summer when he was trying to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
During a July 25 phone call, Trump asked Zelensky to launch probes into the Bidens and an unfounded conspiracy theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election. This conversation concerned the whistleblower, and they filed a complaint. The inspector general for the intelligence community determined that the whistleblower's complaint should be sent to Congress, but White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy, John Eisenberg, concluded otherwise, saying it was protected by executive privilege. Read more at The New York Times.