Utah Republican Rep. Chris Stewart announced on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” and on social media late Wednesday that the explosive whistleblower complaint concerning President Trump’s July call with Ukraine’s leader has been declassified — and Stewart said that it doesn’t contain any damning information. “The entirety of it is focused on this one thing, and that’s the transcript of one phone call,” he said. Stewart added that he was initially “anxious” before viewing the complaint but concluded “this is going to go nowhere. … there are just no surprises there.”
Stewart was among bipartisan select group of intelligence committee lawmakers in the House and Senate who gained access to the whistleblower complaint in a classified setting on Wednesday. House Democrats emerging from a secure room would not divulge details of the document, but described it as disturbing and urgent. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said it “exposed serious wrongdoing.” The complaint was not immediately available to the public but was expected to be released Thursday morning. Click here for more on our top story.
Rep. Stewart’s claim came hours before Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire was set to testify before Congress on Thursday. On Wednesday, Maguire denied a Washington Post report that he had threatened to turn in his resignation over concerns that the White House might try to make him stonewall Congress over the whistleblower controversy. Meanwhile, Fox News is told there was serious conversation among lawmakers as to how far Maguire could go in an open session at the hearing. One source tells Fox News the administration may have declassified the document so it could be discussed publicly during the hearing.
The White House on Wednesday released a declassified transcript of President Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It showed that Trump sought a review of former Vice President Joe Biden’s efforts to have Ukraine’s former top prosecutor fired. The president made the request on the call only after Zelensky first mentioned Ukraine’s corruption issues, and after Trump separately requested as a “favor” that Ukraine help investigate foreign interference in the 2016 elections, including the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server involving the data security company CrowdStrike.
Multiple news outlets, including the New York Times, CNN, and the Washington Post, inaccurately reported that the “favor” related specifically to investigating Biden. The transcript also did not show that Trump leveraged military aid to Ukraine to obtain a “promise” on a Biden investigation, as a widely cited report in the Post had claimed. Click here to read the transcript.
A defiant President Trump said during a press conference in New York Wednesday that he wants “full transparency” not only over the “so-called whistleblower” allegations leveled against him, but also “from Joe Biden and his son Hunter on the millions of dollars that have been quickly and easily taken out of Ukraine and China.” Trump also demanded “transparency from Democrats who went to Ukraine and attempted to force the new president … to do things that they wanted under the form of political threat.”
The president’s comments signaled that the White House would seek to turn the tables against Democrats who have initiated a formal impeachment inquiry. Biden, Trump’s potential challenger in the 2020 presidential election, said the allegations against the president are impeachable, but his job is to “beat him” in the election.
Military commanders are warning service members about the potential for mass shootings at screenings of the upcoming film “Joker”, according to media reports. The Army issued a Sept. 18 memo in response to social media posts from so-called “incels” that were uncovered by the FBI, the website said.
Incels are part of a subculture that identifies as involuntarily celibate, meaning they are unable to find romantic partners even though they desire one. The memo said incels “idolize the Joker character, the violent clown from the Batman series, admiring his depiction as a man who must pretend to be happy, but eventually fights back against bullies.” Click here to read more.
Tucker Carlson notices how quickly scandals fizzle in today’s news world, saying that, with the release of the transcript, the Trump-Ukraine phone call blockbuster is already a bust for the mainstream media. “Try to find the extortion in there. There isn’t any,” he says.
Fox News First is compiled by Fox News’ Bryan Robinson.