Lawmaker Accuses U.S. Justice Department of Blocking Whistleblower Disclosure

Adam Schiff
Brendan McDermid/Reuters

The head of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on Thursday accused the Justice Department of blocking intelligence officials from providing Congress with a whistleblower complaint that reportedly involves a discussion between President Donald Trump and a foreign leader.

The panel’s Democratic chairman, Adam Schiff, leveled the charge after a closed-door briefing with the inspector general for U.S. spy agencies, who Schiff said had earlier told the committee about a credible and urgent complaint from a whistleblower that should have been turned over to Congress under the law.

“I don’t know whether the White House is directly involved, because we can’t get an answer to that question, but we do know that they are making some claim that a privilege may apply,” Schiff told reporters after a closed-door meeting with Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.

The Washington Post, citing two former officials familiar with the matter, reported on Wednesday that a complaint had been filed alleging Trump made a promise to a foreign leader during a phone call, a story Trump on Thursday derided as “Fake News.”

Reuters has not been able to confirm details of the whistleblower’s complaint.

“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,” Trump said on Twitter.

“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,” he said.

“I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!”

Schiff said the Justice Department had misinterpreted the law in blocking acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire from providing the complaint to Congress.

Schiff had issued a subpoena to Maguire last week in an attempt to force him to turn over the complaint. He said on Thursday the committee could be forced to go to court to seek an order compelling officials to disclose the complaint.

“I hope that the director of national intelligence will reconsider because it’s my understanding that by law he can provide this to us and by law he’s required to provide this to us,” Schiff said.

Maguire’s office did not respond to a request for comment, and the White House declined immediate comment.

Maguire is scheduled to testify in public to the House panel next week.

A congressional source told Reuters the complaint was filed with the inspector general on Aug. 12. The source said it seemed unlikely to have been filed by someone at the Central Intelligence Agency, because the CIA has its own inspector general.

Two congressional sources said the Senate Intelligence Committee had not been fully briefed on the complaint.

(Reporting by Makini Brice and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Tim Ahmann, Sonya Hepinstall and Tom Brown)

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General Confusion
Member

Oh, interesting development in to whom King Donald The Loser spoke and what he may have promised.

“But it is very plain that the president has committed what even his people know in whatever passes for their deepest souls is a serious crime and, it hardly needs to be said, an impeachable offense.” Esquie

Don’t worry. Nothing ever happens to Teflon Don.

General Confusion
Member

After Phyllis gives details and asked questions: “Wow are you delusional.” I Ching

Why? (Yes, I saw your other “squirrel” comment.)

I am confused.

Screwtape
Member

Phil, What color is the sky in your world? You are delusional and lack the superpowers you pretend to. “I failed junior Latin but still won the presidency.” As Hillary said about ALL YOUR TRIVIAL SHIT “what difference at this point does that make.” You have no idea whether James attended college nor what his grades were. What were your grades and where did YOU go to school? Do you have access to the WH visitor logs for either Obozo or Trump? I doubt it, though Obozo’s visitor logs show a disturbing pattern of Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, celebrities, but… Read more »

Phyllis Softa
Member

If the self-proclaimed “most transparent POTUS” said nothing inappropriate, WHY not release the whistleblower’s complaint? The IG referred it to Congress following the procedure outlined in the law. WHY would Barr block it? Twitter had a field day with Trump’s tweet—If you need a laugh, check them out.

Phyllis Softa
Member

James, what exactly was Obama not transparent about?? Did the public have access to WH visitor logs? Did the public have access to Obama’s tax? For heavens sake, Obama released not only his short form BC, but his long form BC. Yes, we get it you wanted his grades, but if one graduates from ANY college with magna cum laude honors, it indicates a GPA of 3.5 – 3.7. You do not have access to Trump’s WH visitor logs, taxes, or grades. You don’t have known Kislyak was in the Oval Office during Trump’s meeting with Lavrov had the Russia… Read more »

General Confusion
Member

This serious stuff! Apparently, the king has done this multiple times.

But for the administration to not cooperate is seriously problematic. The Director of NI MUST report this to Congress within seven days.

Wake up! This is NOT usual.

Screwtape
Member

Oh noes! The president having phone discussions with foreign leaders! Get the pitchforks ready! This must not stand!

I wonder if Schiff would prefer that a president travel abroad to apologize and grovel in person like #44 did.

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