A mysterious whistleblower complaint relating to President Donald Trump’s interactions with an unnamed foreign leader is setting the stage for heightened discord between Congress and White House intelligence officials.
According to Washington Post reporters Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Shane Harris, the complaint—filed August 12—involves a “promise” from Trump to another world leader that the whistleblower found concerning.
House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) is pressuring intelligence officials for more information after Acting National Intelligence Director Joseph Maguire refused to provide Congress with additional information.
Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who deemed the complaint urgent enough to inform lawmakers, testified before the House Intelligence Committee in a closed door hearing on Thursday morning.
Little is known of the complaint’s actual contents, but the President has interacted with numerous world leaders in the months ahead of the complaint’s filing, including with Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Also notably, Former Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats—whom Maguire replaced—left the administration at the end of July. Trump was expected to replace Coats on an acting basis with Coats’s immediate subordinate, intelligence expert Sue Gordon, whose career is respected on both sides of the aisle. Trump bypassed Gordon for Acting Director Maguire, who continues to stonewall lawmakers regarding information on the complaint.
Obstructing information is nothing new for the Trump administration, which has repeatedly ignored subpoenas, limited testimony, and lied to the public.
But something about this complaint and the mystery surrounding it seems particularly ominous.
Fit the whistleblower’s complaint into a disturbing pattern with Trump:
– shared intel w/Russian officials in Oval (May 2017)
– confiscated notes from Putin mtg in Hamburg (July 2017)
– sided w/Putin over IC in Helsinki (July 2018)
– vowed not to spy on North Korea (June 2019)
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) September 19, 2019
I want you to understand that the DNI and AG are doing EVERYTHING in their power to cover up, block and hide the content of that whistleblower complaint. That is how much they are NOT on the side of the United States of America. THAT is how dangerous they are.
— Pam Keith (@PamKeithFL) September 19, 2019
Why the intel whistleblower complaint is so serious: the IG found it to raise an “urgent concern.” According to the statute, that means it dealt with a “flagrant abuse or violation of law” that goes beyond a mere policy dispute. pic.twitter.com/f4KxyTBEcf
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) September 19, 2019
We don’t know what the whistleblower complaint says: but with a @POTUS whom the Special Counsel couldn’t clear of conspiracy with a foreign power + who says he’s open to receiving foreign dirt, it’s not a stretch to understand why him making a “promise” is concerning.
— Sam Vinograd (@sam_vinograd) September 19, 2019
Trump’s total silence in the wake of the IC whistleblower complaint speaks volumes.
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) September 19, 2019
A question to ponder: Given the astonishing things that Trump routinely says about US intel, what could he have said/promised on call that would be considered so gravely "urgent" by the IC inspector general? https://t.co/t39p7tmzVD
— Greg Miller (@gregpmiller) September 19, 2019
this is all getting rather terrifying, to be honest.
— Obscura (@Kristasuza) September 19, 2019
One Republican, Ohio Congressman Mike Turner, had one thing to say when leaving the Inspector General’s closed door testimony this morning: “No comment.”
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