Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Monday, September 16, 2019

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff issued a subpoena to the nation's top intelligence official Friday night, seeking to force him to turn over a whistleblower complaint that the intelligence community's inspector general has allegedly deemed a matter of "urgent concern."

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The committee chairman also appeared on CBS's Face the Nation yesterday, and host Margaret Brennan asked if he'd received a response. It led to an interesting exchange:

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: We've gotten a response and the director has said, essentially, that he is answering to a higher authority and refusing to turn over the whistleblower complaint. This is deeply troubling. No director"

MARGARET BRENNAN: Just ignoring the subpoena?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, at this point, yes. Ignoring the subpoena, ignoring our request. No DNI" no director of National Intelligence has ever refused to turn over a whistleblower complaint. And here, Margaret, the significance is the inspector general found this complaint to be urgent, found it to be credible, that is they did some preliminary investigation, found the whistleblower to be credible, that suggests corroboration. And that it involved serious or flagrant wrongdoing. And according to the director of National Intelligence, the reason he is not acting to provide it, even though the statute mandates that he do so, is because he is being instructed not to. That this involved a higher authority, someone above the DNI.

In case this isn't painfully obvious, the director of National Intelligence only reports to one person: the one who sits in the Oval Office. Again, we don't yet have a clear sense of the nature of the whistleblower complaint, so I won't speculate. That said, we know it comes from the intelligence community; there appears to be reason to consider the complaint credible; and the Trump administration appears to be hiding it from Congress as part of an unprecedented and legally dubious move.

And if Donald Trump or his team were involved in ordering the DNI to withhold the whistleblower complaint, it raises the potential of a very serious scandal.

Just another possible article of impeachment to add onto the accumulating pile. Knowing how Trump acts when cornered, it begs the question as to whether the abrupt "resignations" of both Dan Coats and his second, Sue Gordon were tied to this complaint that was going to ultimately be handled through the DNI office. It's fairly certain that neither Coats nor Gordon would deny the House Intelligence Committee what it has every right to have as a matter of its constitutionally defined role of oversight.

Right now there is little more than an irate Chairman Schiff and a whole lot of smoke masking something that might lead to a fire connected to Trump and his governance. It'll be interesting to see where this goes.

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2019-09-16 12:06 PM | Reply

"We've gotten a response and the director has said, essentially, that he is answering to a higher authority and refusing to turn over the whistleblower complaint."

Is he really using a religious argument to justify not fulfilling his obligations?

#2 | Posted by Hagbard_Celine at 2019-09-16 03:52 PM | Reply

Is he really using a religious argument to justify not fulfilling his obligations?

Did you forget that Donald declared himself "The Chosen One"?

#3 | Posted by tonyroma at 2019-09-16 04:06 PM | Reply

Did you forget that Donald declared himself "The Chosen One"?

Ugh.

#4 | Posted by Hagbard_Celine at 2019-09-16 04:14 PM | Reply

Congress appears to have only learned of the whistleblower's existence after Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson deemed the complaint of "urgent concern" and sent a letter to Congress informing it of the situation.

The allegation could suggest a breach of federal statutes, and Schiff's decision to publicize the matter suggests the situation is an urgent one.

"This is unheard of," former House general counsel Charles Tiefer told TPM. "The intelligence community normally feels absolutely obliged to furnish the demands of the intelligence committees."

It's not clear what the subject of the whistleblower complaint is, though a close reading of letters accompanying a subpoena that Schiff sent to the DNI on Friday demanding whistleblower-related records suggests that it may implicate people outside of the intelligence community itself.

According to Schiff's letter, the whistleblower first sent a "disclosure intended for Congress" to the Intelligence Community's Inspector General on Aug. 12.

That triggered a two-week deadline for Atkinson to review and assess the complaint.

At the period's end " on Aug. 26 " Atkinson purportedly reached his conclusion, finding that the whistleblower had made a credible allegation that met a legal standard of "urgent concern." He then submitted a copy of the disclosure and "accompanying materials" to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, beginning another seven-day countdown to the deadline for Maguire to forward the information to the congressional intelligence committees.

This is where things get hairy. Schiff alleges that Maguire's office has withheld the complaint from Congress, disregarding the law.

Laws don't apply to Trump's White House. I'm sure Barr will investigate Atkinson before this is over.

#5 | Posted by tonyroma at 2019-09-16 04:36 PM | Reply

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