Whistleblower Complaint Alleging Troubling ‘Promise’ Between Trump And Foreign Leader, Is ‘Credible And Urgent,’ Congressman Says
A whistleblower complaint within the intelligence community is causing quite a stir, as the issue is likely to bring about more worries over the president’s interactions with foreign leaders.
At issue is a complaint that alleges an official became aware of a “promise” made by President Donald Trump and an unknown foreign actor. What the promise was or what it may entail is not yet known, but according to reporting from the Washington Post, it was enough to prompt a formal complaint by this official to their superiors. (The reporting was based on several former officials who spoke anonymously to the Post.)
Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson determined the complaint warranted “urgent concern.” That definition is a legal one, which normally requires congressional notification to certain committee members in both the House and Senate. Yet acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire has so far refused to share details about the complaints.
The inaction by Maguire has prompted some to suggest his actions are not out of dismissing the complaint for lacking reasonable concern, but rather for protecting the president from further congressional scrutiny.
In spite of the inaction by Maguire, some legal experts say the whistleblower has the authority to go over his head, bringing their complaint directly to committee heads.
“It appears that the employee whistleblower may lawfully transmit the report in question directly to [House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff] and his Senate counterpart upon notifying the DNI of the employee’s intent to do so when the DNI bottles up that report,” Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe explained in a tweet on Wednesday evening.
It appears that the employee whistleblower may lawfully transmit the report in question directly to @RepAdamSchiff and his Senate counterpart upon notifying the DNI of the employee’s intent to do so when the DNI bottles up that report.
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) September 19, 2019
Other former government officials are speaking out about the complaint as well. Former acting solicitor general of the United States Neal Katyal has suggested the matter could become significant in the coming days, Newsweek reported.
“This is going to be huge. DOJ & Admin are contorting themselves backwards to try to hide this, Katyal wrote in a tweet.
Katyal also predicted that there “are probably tapes and transcripts documenting a gross abuse of power by Trump. Gonna be ugly. And enablers should all face consequences.”
Schiff himself has blasted the fact that he has not yet seen the report. He has determined that it is “both credible and urgent,” and warrants intelligence officials to be candid with congressional leaders.
The committee that Schiff oversees has issued a subpoena to the acting DNI, who has so far refused to comply with it.
“The committee’s position is clear — the acting DNI [Director of National Intelligence] can either provide the complaint as required under the law, or he will be required to come before the committee to tell the public why he is not following the clear letter of the law, including whether the White House or the attorney general are directing him to do so,” Schiff said this week, per reporting from Politico.