President Donald Trump learned of the whistleblower’s complaint in late August, just before he released the frozen military aid to Ukraine in September.
According to the New York Times, that debriefing by White House lawyers Pat Cipollone and John Eisenberg could also explain where Trump got the phrase “quid pro quo,” which he used on a call around the same time to Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, before it had become the default phrase to describe the situation.
It is unclear how many details Trump was given about the complaint.
Trump had been facing bipartisan pressure to unfreeze the aid, but when Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) met with him days after the freeze, Trump said that he hadn’t yet made up his mind about releasing it. Trump reportedly flew into a rage when Johnson asked if the money’s release was dependent upon some action of Ukraine’s.
“‘No way,’” Mr. Trump said, per Johnson. “‘I would never do that. Who told you that?’”
The aid was originally frozen just hours after Trump had his famous call with Ukraine President Volodymy Zelensky on July 25.