Who Is John Eisenberg? Trump Lawyer Moved Ukraine Transcript to Classified Server After Vindman Complained

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And today house democrats have released transcripts of the testimony given by former US s. ambassador to ukraine maria vich and former state department official michael mckinley we will be following that but meanwhile a top lawyer for the national security council counsel john eisenberg is a no show today for a scheduled deposition on capitol hill to find a subpoena an escalating the white house's legal battle with congressional democrats let's eisenberg is a key witness for the impeachment inquiry he reportedly was instrumental and locking down the transcript of president trump's july twenty fifth phone call with ukrainian union president by moving it to top secret server so let's learn more about who eisenberg is and his role in this whole saga tom hamburger is is an investigative political reporter for the washington post and tom last week alexander van men the top ukraine advisor at the white house testified that he listened in on that call where president trump asked the president of ukraine to investigate the biden's and vinson said he raised concerns to the white house's top national security lawyer earlier john eisenberg what was eisenberg's response according to your reporting so what we learned about colonel benjamin's testimony to the a house impeachment investigators is is this he was alarmed as he listened to president trump's call with ukraine's president on july twenty five so unnerved that he went immediately after listening to the call to see john eisenberg the white house legal adviser on national security parity to tell him that what the president did was wrong that it seemed to be violating US policy and seemed to be seeking a personal sola political favors from foreign leader he testified that he went to eisenberg's office because he was alarmed by what he had heard on the call and and the only response that he offered during the meeting right after the call was that the roughed transcript of the call the summary of the call should be placed in an unusual usual spot that is the highly classified top secret vault i'm usually reserved for documents that would reveal sources and methods for US intelligence awesome military operations not for presidential call transcripts in fact we're told it's unheard of or virtually unheard of for for such a call to be placed on a classified server like that so that was one step another was a couple of days after the conversation eisenberg approached vitamin again and said i'd like you not to talk to anybody about what we discussed and what you observed in the call again a by itself perhaps there's an innocuous explanation for this but in combination with a couple of other factors that we're talking about here it seemed seemed to some is though it was part of a pattern or could have been part of a pattern or an effort to conceal or berry the substance of the president's conversation with his counterpart in ukraine you also write that by the time vin men came to eisenberg and late july eisenberg was already familiar with concerns among white house awesome officials about the administration's attempts to pressure ukraine for political purposes what did he know and why is this important to note eisenberg was aware of concerns from the national security staff because a couple of weeks earlier on july ten presidents alinsky had sent a delegation of ukrainian indian officials to the white house to try to shore up relations with the US they couldn't figure out why it seemed there was a delay in getting face as to face meeting set up between the newly elected president and president trump and there was some concerns about whether legally mandated a military aid would be flowing to the ukraine and so they came to the white house these two emissaries end-july ten and had a meeting with the national security council staff but also with three other they're individuals one is a special envoy appointed by president trump mr samland another was energy secretary rick perry and the third was a special on on void to ukraine volcker and in the course of meeting with this group those three led by sandra fund seemed to be pushing a request for assistance in getting information that might be helpful to the president politically the conversation was a bit subtle but it so alarmed armed john bolton in this meeting that they had on july ten that he quickly called it to a close and then he later asked one of his associates the national security advisor sir for ukraine to report what was observed to legal office and so the the place that those bolton advisers went was once again john eisenberg so on july ten there was the first warning of an executive branch effort this time not involving the president personally but involving some of his top appointees to seemingly introduce a question of seeking political favors from the new ukrainian administration as a condition for getting a meeting meeting with president or getting needed aid has eisenberg or his lawyer responded to any of this eisenberg has so so far declined to comment and the white house has declined to comment the response that we have is really the response that is visible today on capitol hill which is where in the impeachment investigators hoped john eisenberg would be sitting to answer questions there will be an empty chair eisenberg is another of several figures at the top level of advisors to the president who are declining to respond to subpoenas and request testify in this impeachment inquiry and so he is one of these figures who is now part of this constitutional drama that we're witnessing between the demands of the legislative branch and the claims of special privilege by the white house in the office of the president and those other folks michael ellis also of the national security council as well as robert blair and brian mccormick of the white house office of management and budget they're all skipping this meeting as you said these meetings what will the the democrats do next now that these folks have decided not to testify so there are others who are facing request to testify who are even more senior one is john bolton the research resigned recently as national security adviser he remember is the guy who is at the top of this national the security establishment and in a sense the buck stops with him he would be a critically important witness and his testimony is considered vital so much to a follow that's tom hamburger investigative political reporter for the washington post tom thank you so much good to be with you

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