The CIA’s general counsel made what she considered to be a criminal referral to the Justice Department over the whistleblower’s allegations against President Trump weeks before the complaint became public, ABC News reports. The whistleblower reportedly passed along his concerns to the agency’s top lawyer, Courtney Simmons Elwood, through colleagues. Two days after the whistleblower filed the complaint—which at the time was still secret—Elwood reportedly participated in a conference call along with the top legal adviser to the White House National Security Council in which the two told the top Justice Department national security lawyer that the allegations against Trump warranted a Justice Department examination. A DOJ official told NBC News that Attorney General William Barr was made aware of Elwood's concerns, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence also filed a formal criminal referral. The department later declined to open a criminal investigation into the matter.
The whistleblower raised concerns about a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate corruption allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Trump also sought to connect Zelensky with Barr, who has been asking foreign officials for assistance in a probe examining the origins of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe.