The Washington Postreported Wednesday night that a phone call between President Trump and a foreign leader "included a 'promise' that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint," leading to a standoff between Congress and the acting director of national intelligence. Two of the three major cable news networks had some big questions on Wednesday night. On MSNBC, it was: Who is this leader?
"If you look through the White House records, Trump had interactions with about four or five foreign leaders in the weeks leading up to this complaint," Washington Post reporter Greg Miller told Brian Williams. "Perhaps the most relevant one is a late-July, end-of-July conversation with Vladimir Putin, in which the White House readout was very different from the Russian readout afterward." Former U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul had a similar thought.
"Fully-fledged bilateral relations" sounds like the lifting of US sanctions on Russian companies and individuals to me. https://t.co/L3sB7mT5Xa
"I think it's safe to say that the speculation is going to center on Putin and on Kim Jong Un," Miller said, and "there almost undoubtedly is a record of this call."
Phil Mudd, a former CIA counterintelligence official, was hopping mad, asking CNN's Chris Cuomo "why it's the U.S. intelligence community's responsibility to listen to the president of the United States speaking to a foreign leader," and why Congress needs to know? "So you don't like that somebody snitched on the president?" Cuomo asked. "Correct," Mudd said. The whistleblower law is supposed to be for in-house policing, and the president "can say what he wants to Putin, he can say what he wants to Kim Jong Un," he said. If you don't like it, "you quit."
Post reporter Carol Leonnig told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that the whistleblower is an intelligence official who used to work in the White House, but cautioned that Trump talks to lots of foreign leaders and some of the calls are reportedly off the record. Still, she said, Trump's alleged abuse is "serious, it's not a small thing." Watch below. Peter Weber