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Trump calls media report about whistleblower complaint 'Fake News'

Trump calls media report about whistleblower complaint 'Fake News'
U.S. President Donald Trump descends from Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner -
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TOM BRENNER(Reuters)
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday blasted as “Fake News” a media report that he made a promise to a foreign leader that prompted a whistleblower complaint from a U.S. intelligence official.

“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,” Trump said on Twitter.

“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,” he said.

“I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!”

The Washington Post said on Wednesday that Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson determined that the complaint was credible and troubling enough to be considered a matter of “urgent concern,” a threshold that requires notification of congressional committees.

House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a Democrat, has sought to compel intelligence officials to disclose the full details of the complaint to Congress, which the Republican Trump administration so far has refused to do.

A congressional source told Reuters the complaint was filed with the inspector general on August 12. The source said it seemed unlikely to have been filed by someone at the Central Intelligence Agency, because the CIA has its own inspector general.

Schiff’s House panel was meeting with Atkinson in closed session on Thursday to discuss the complaint and has scheduled a hearing next week with the acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.

(Reporting by Makini Brice and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Sonya Hepinstall)

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