Trump denies 'inappropriate' conversation with foreign leader

Intel community IG Michael Atkinson was slated to appear in a closed session on Thursday before a House panel to testify on the handling of a whistleblower report on the allegation.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Lauren Egan

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Thursday that reports on a recent whistleblower complaint involving his communication with a foreign leader were “fake news,” and that he would never say anything “inappropriate” on a call where “many people” might be listening.

“Another Fake News story out there - It never ends! 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. No problem!” Trump wrote 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. I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!,” he continued before calling the reports an example of "Presidential Harassment!"

The complaint was made by an intelligence official who was reportedly troubled by a promise Trump allegedly made during a phone conversation with a foreign leader, The Washington Post first reported. It is unclear which foreign leader the president may have been speaking with during that call.

The whistleblower report has sparked an unusual standoff between congressional Democrats and acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire, who has refused to share information with lawmakers as they seek to further investigate the matter.

Inspector general Michael Atkinson, who called the whistleblower complaint "credible and urgent," was slated to appear in a closed session on Thursday before the House Intelligence Committee to testify on the handling of the report.