Published: Thu, September 19, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump reportedly implicated in intel whistleblower scandal

Trump reportedly implicated in intel whistleblower scandal

President Trump disputed a Washington Post report Thursday that his interaction with a foreign leader had prompted an official in the USA intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint, saying it was inconceivable that he would say anything inappropriate on a heavily monitored phone call.

The communication was contained in a phone call and involved a "promise", though it is unclear which leader was involved, according to the report. "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". Let's also highlight the fact that this whistleblower took a big professional risk by taking his or her concerns to the inspector general's office, but this person did the right thing anyway.

Mr. Schiff said none of the previous directors of national intelligence, a position created in 2004, had ever refused to provide a whistle-blower complaint to Congress.

The Inspector General is scheduled to testify before Congress today on the matter.

Schiff subpoenaed Maguire, saying he was withholding a whistleblower complaint from Congress and questioning whether he had been directed to do so by the White House or the attorney general.

It's not clear who the leader was or what the substance of Trump's promise was, but the revelation raises new questions about the president's handling of classified information.

The White House declined to comment late Wednesday night.

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Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel, said on Thursday that he and the committee's Republican chairman, Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, also expected both the inspector general and acting director to brief them early next week and "clear this issue up".

The acting director of national intelligence will testify publicly before the committee on September 26, and the Intelligence Community Inspector General (IC IG) will testify in a closed session on Thursday. The DNI has asserted that lawyers determined there was no notification requirement because the whistleblower complaint did not constitute an urgent concern that was "within the responsibility and authority" of Maguire's office.

Schiff said that Macguire further argued that the complaint was about someone who was not within the intelligence community, and that the whistleblower statute thus did not apply.

Schiff did not divulge the subject of the complaint, but said the committee "places the highest importance on the protection of whistleblowers and their complaints to Congress".

According to the Washington Post, the whistleblower's complaint - which has sparked a battle between the intel community and Congress - centers around Trump's interaction with an unnamed head of state. But a conversation between two foreign leaders is not itself an intelligence activity.

Unfortunately for the White House, this new scandal is just getting started, as is the search for the truth.

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