Donald Trump raged on Thursday after the Washington Post reported that a whistleblower complaint being withheld without precedent by Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire involved disturbing communications by Trump with a foreign leader.
The Washington Post reports: “Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a “promise” that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community, said the former officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. It was not immediately clear which foreign leader Trump was speaking with or what he pledged to deliver, but his direct involvement in the matter has not been previously disclosed.”
Tweeted Trump: “Another Fake News story out there – It never ends! Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself. No problem!….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. I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!”
The intelligence community inspector general, Michael Atkinson, who called the matter one of “urgent concern” is set to appear Thursday morning at a closed briefing with the House Intelligence Committee.
The L.A. Times reports: ‘Also, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is to testify publicly before the panel on Sept. 26, according to the statement. The agreement seemed to head off the latest confrontation between congressional committees that are pursuing investigations of Trump and his administration, and a White House that largely refuses to cooperate. Schiff, a California Democrat, had been demanding that Maguire comply with a committee subpoena to turn over the report of alleged “serious misconduct,” which Schiff said might involve the White House.’
UPDATE. The NYT reports that Atkinson “told lawmakers he was unable to confirm or deny anything about the substance of the complaint, including whether it involved the president, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the closed-door conversation.”