Schiff says he confronted acting spy chief on whistleblower complaint
Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire faces a deadline Tuesday to turn over a whistleblower complaint that was never alerted to the House Intelligence Committee, whose chairman says he confronted the DNI over the matter.
Maguire’s office says they are reviewing the request, but House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff has said if the complaint is not turned over, he’ll force the national intelligence chief to appear publicly before Congress later this week.
Schiff said on “Anderson Cooper 360” Monday night that the intelligence community inspector general’s found the complaint to be “credible” and of “urgent concern,” conditions that, Schiff says, require congressional notification.
The California Democrat told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he had found Maguire’s answers on the matter to be “not very encouraging,” noting that the newly installed acting DNI had initially answered “no” when asked if the complaint involved something the committee was investigating but was immediately corrected by his legal counsel, who said they “could not say that.”
Schiff then issued a subpoena to Maguire on Friday demanding he produce all relevant details related to the complaint, an announcement that has sparked questions as to whether the administration may have violated whistleblower protections and whether the President or top White House officials were involved in the case.
“The DNI acknowledged that this involves someone apparently outside of the authority of the DNI. Someone above the DNI — there aren’t that many in that category. And they also suggested that there may be privilege issues here, which means that it would have to involve communications of the President or people around him,” Schiff said Monday night.
Schiff said he does not know the exact nature of the complaint, as he has not yet received the details from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, nor the identity of the whistleblower.
He declined to say whether he has been contacted by the whistleblower or their legal representation, saying he wouldn’t want to jeopardize them.
A spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence told CNN earlier Monday that they have received the subpoena but have not yet responded.
“The deadline for the Subpoena is tomorrow, Tuesday, September 17. We are currently reviewing the request and will respond appropriately. The ODNI and Acting DNI Maguire are committed to fully complying with the law and upholding whistleblower protections and have done so here,” the spokesperson added.
Schiff is demanding that Maguire turn over the intelligence community inspector general’s “determination and all records pertaining to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI) involvement in this matter, including any and all correspondence with other Executive Branch actors such as the White House,” according to last week’s news release from the congressman’s office.
“A Director of National Intelligence has never prevented a properly submitted whistleblower complaint that the IC IG determined to be credible and urgent from being provided to the congressional intelligence committees. Never. This raises serious concerns about whether White House, Department of Justice or other executive branch officials are trying to prevent a legitimate whistleblower complaint from reaching its intended recipient, the Congress, in order to cover up serious misconduct,” Schiff said last week in a statement.
Schiff added: “Absent compliance with the subpoena, the Committee plans to require Acting Director Maguire to appear before the Committee in an open hearing on Thursday, September 19, 2019.”
Schiff’s statement said the intelligence community’s inspector general sent a letter to the House Intelligence Committee on September 9 notifying it of the complaint. The next day, Schiff said, he requested the full and unredacted complaint, only to receive a response from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence three days later declining that request.
This story has been updated.