NYT Says Unnamed People Fear White House Review Of Ukraine Call Is Hunt For Scapegoat

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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The New York Times said in an article Tuesday that “people familiar with” a White House decision to open an internal review of a Ukraine call fear it “is a hunt for a scapegoat” but provided little details as to who was making that claim or on what basis.

The article, written in part by NYT reporters Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt, both on teams that won Pulitzer Prizes in 2018, said the White House will review a July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. This phone call sparked an official House impeachment inquiry into the president on Sept. 24.

Haberman and Schmidt, along with NYT national security reporter Julian E. Barnes, do not include any information about who, specifically, is worried. They cite “White House aides and other people familiar with it” as sources.

“Some advisers fear that the inquiry is a hunt for a scapegoat, people familiar with it said,” the NYT article’s sub-headline reads. The article does not give any names of the people making this claim.

The newspaper sent the article out as a news alert, where the headline also highlighted the claim that the inquiry could actually be an effort to find a scapegoat. (RELATED: Multiple Outlets Chop Up Ukraine Transcript, Focusing Only On Trump’s Comment On Biden)

White House lawyers are leading this review in an effort to understand White House officials’ actions around the phone call, the people said according to the NYT. This phone call is key to an August whistleblower complaint made by a CIA official accusing the president of asking Ukraine’s president to look into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

The internal review is focused specifically on why deputy White House counsel John A. Eisenberg put a transcript of the phone call into a computer system that is reserved for state secrets, according to the NYT. Trump released the rough transcript, which the article cites as “a reconstructed transcript,” to the public on Sept. 25.

“Since releasing the transcript last month, the White House has tried to cast its pressure campaign as itself an anticorruption effort, though to little effect,” the article reads.

Eisenberg denies wrongdoing and said the transcript was stored on a more secure computer system to avoid leaks, which has been an issue in the past, the NYT reported citing a person familiar with his actions. The whistleblower cited the decision to move the transcript into a more secure server as evidence that lawyers might have been aware of issues regarding Trump’s phone call.

The New York Times did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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