Donald Trump 'Must Be Removed From Office' if Intelligence Whistleblower's Complaint Is About Ukraine, Constitutional Expert Says: 'As Soon as Possible'

A prominent constitutional lawyer has said President Donald Trump "must be removed from office" to face a criminal investigation if reports of an intelligence whistleblower's complaint about his alleged conduct towards Ukraine are true.

Larry Tribe, a Harvard Law School professor and frequent critic of Trump, noted the president's lawyers' arguments that he cannot be investigated for any offense until he's out of office, which "leads to one conclusion only: He must be removed from office. As soon as possible."

According to The Washington Post, the as yet undisclosed nature of the complaint involves Trump communicating a "promise" to Ukraine's President Volodomyr Zelensky. The information comes from two unnamed U.S. officials.

Around a fortnight prior to the complaint, filed to the inspector general of the intelligence community by a U.S. intelligence official who worked at the White House, Trump had called Zelensky. House Democrats are investigating the call.

Trump's attorney and campaign aide Rudy Giuliani had traveled to Ukraine to meet with government officials earlier in the year.

Giuliani admitted in a CNN interview on Thursday that he had asked them to investigate former vice president Biden, the leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination, over bribery allegations involving his businessman son, Hunter Biden.

The Trump administration recently withheld $250 million in military aid for Ukraine in its fight against Russian separatists, before eventually releasing the money.

"If this turns out to be what the whistleblower complaint is about & it's accurate, Trump must leave office immediately," tweeted Joyce White Vance, a former U.S. Attorney in Alabama. "A president can't offer US aid to a foreign country in exchange for prosecution of a political opponent. Heaven help us if we can't all agree."

Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, tweeted that he had met with Ukraine's President Zelensky a few weeks ago and discussed "the surprise cut off of aid and the inappropriate demands the Trump campaign was making of him. The obvious question everyone in Kiev was asking was—were the two things connected?"

"Zelensky did not explicitly connect the two in our meeting, but he was VERY concerned about the cut off of aid, and VERY aware of the conversations that Rudy Giuliani was having with his team," Murphy continued.

"I told him it was best to ignore requests from Trump's campaign operatives. He agreed.

"I don't know what is in the whistleblower complaint, but it was clear to me that Ukraine officials were worried about the consequences of ignoring Giuliani's demands. And of course they were. That's why presidents shouldn't have their campaigns talking to foreign leaders."

Democrats are attempting to secure a transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call and a list of all those who listened in.

It opens up another front in the debate over impeaching President Trump, which Democratic party leaders have been hesitant to pursue, fearing it would be unsuccessful and backfire given that the Republicans control the Senate.

But many House and Senate Democrats believe there is already enough damning information about the president to launch impeachment proceedings, and the latest Ukraine whistleblower affair will likely impassion them further in their push to remove Trump from the White House.

"Another Fake News story out there - It never ends!" Trump tweeted yesterday as reports of the nature of the whistleblower's complaint emerged.

"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!

"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!"

Donald Trump Ukraine whistleblower complaint intelligence
President Donald Trump speaks on September 18, 2019 at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California. Trump was reportedly the subject of a complaint by a U.S. intelligence official over a "promise" he made to the Ukrainian president on a call. Nicholas Kamm / AFP