White House lawyer John Eisenberg reportedly rushed to hide the transcript of President Donald Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s leader on a highly classified server shortly after National Security Council official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman—who testified before House impeachment investigators Wednesday—raised alarm about the conversation.
Citing anonymous officials familiar with Vindman’s account, the Washington Post reported late Wednesday that “Vindman told Eisenberg, the White House’s legal adviser on national security issues, that what the president did was wrong.”
After “scribbling notes on a yellow legal pad,” according to the Post, “Eisenberg proposed a step that other officials have said is at odds with long-standing White House protocol: moving a transcript of the call to a highly classified server and restricting access to it.”
“The White House lawyer later directed the transcript’s removal to a system known as NICE, for NSC Intelligence Collaboration Environment, which is normally reserved for code-word-level intelligence programs and top-secret sources and methods,” the Post reported. “Former Trump national security officials said it was unheard of to store presidential calls with foreign leaders on the NICE system but that Eisenberg had moved at least one other transcript of a Trump phone call there.”
House impeachment investigators have asked Eisenberg to testify Monday. It is not yet clear whether the White House will attempt to bar him from participating.
“In light of this astonishing story, it is imperative that Eisenberg testify before Congress about his involvement in concealing the Ukraine affair and explain the other presidential call memorandum he moved to the codeword system and why,” said CNN legal analyst Susan Hennessey.
Not Giuliani. Not his personal lawyer. The *White House* lawyer. https://t.co/z1qxfQqATg— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) October 31, 2019
The Post‘s story was viewed as further evidence that the White House engaged in a widespread cover-up to suppress possibly illegal conduct by Trump, who pressured the Ukrainian president to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.
As Common Dreams reported, Vindman told House impeachment investigators during his 10 hours of testimony Wednesday that the White House omitted key details from the rough transcript of Trump’s call that it released last month.
“For weeks Trump called the call record which showed he sought foreign influence in our elections a ‘perfect transcript,'” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) in response to Vindman’s testimony. “It was a doctored transcript. The White House cut out some of his words, refused to restore them, and hid the transcript in a secure server.”
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