Lawmaker accuses US Justice Department of blocking whistleblower disclosure

Lawmaker accuses US Justice Department of blocking whistleblower disclosure

The Washington Post on Wednesday night reported that a formal "whistleblower" complaint filed by an official in the intelligence community to the intelligence community's inspector general was related to the president.

"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.

The panel's Democratic chairman, Adam Schiff, leveled the charge after a closed-door briefing with the inspector general for USA 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.

But during a three-hour closed-door briefing, Atkinson told the House Intelligence Committee that the acting DNI, Joseph Maguire, has barred him from providing details of the complaint to Congress.

Schiff said last week that Maguire is required to share the complaint with Congress and said the attempt to hold it back "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".

"That past practice permitted complainants in the intelligence community to contact the congressional intelligence committees directly, in an authorized and protected manner", he wrote.

House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff vowed Thursday he is willing to sue the Trump administration over a dispute about the content of an as-yet-unknown complaint to the intelligence community's official watchdog.

Two and a half weeks before the complaint was filed, Trump spoke with newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Post noted - a call that is under investigation by House Democrats looking at whether Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani tried to manipulate the Ukrainian government into helping Trump's re-election campaign.

During that time he phoned Russia's Vladimir Putin, received at least two letters from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, and met at the White House with the leaders of Pakistan, the Netherlands and Qatar. "According to the director of national intelligence, the reason he's not acting to provide it, even though the statute mandates that he do so, is because he's being instructed not to and that this involves a higher authority". In June, Trump said publicly that he was opposed to certain Central Intelligence Agency spying operations against North Korea.

But Trump dismissed it all Friday, insisting "it's nothing".

"It's deeply troubling", she told reporters.

Statements and letters exchanged between the offices of the DNI and the House Intelligence Committee in recent days have pointed at the White House without directly implicating the president. Atkinson said he was told by the legal counsel for the intelligence director that the complaint did not actually meet the definition of an "urgent concern".

Schiff has demanded full disclosure of the whistleblower complaint.

Maguire has defended his refusal by asserting that the subject of the complaint is beyond his jurisdiction, the Post said.

The complaint was filed on August 12th.

The contretemps over the IG complaint is the latest political battle between Schiff and Trump, who skirmished for months during the height of the Russian Federation imbroglio.

The intelligence community's inspector general is scheduled to brief the House Intelligence Community on the complaint in a closed session on Thursday. And we're determined to do everything that we can to determine what this urgent concern is, to make sure that the national security is protected and to make sure that this whistleblower is protected.

It was unclear whether the whistleblower witnessed Trump's communication with the foreign leader or learned of it through other means.



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