Schiff Accuses Trump Administration, DNI Chief of Blocking Whistleblower Report: ‘No Privilege to be Corrupt’
House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) spoke out against the Trump administration and acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire, accusing them of stifling efforts by Congress to learn details of the whistleblower report filed against the president.
Congress held closed-door discussions for about four hours on Thursday to address the news that a U.S. intelligence official submitted an “urgent” report about a concerning phone call that President Donald Trump had with a foreign leader. That classification usually warrants congressional review, so when discussions adjourned, Schiff spoke to reporters and bashed Maguire for not providing the report to Congress.
“The whole point of the whistleblower statute is not only to encourage those to report problems, abuses, violations of laws, but also to have a legal mechanism to do so and not to disclose classified information because there is no other remedy. That whole purpose is being frustrated here because the director of national intelligence has made the unprecedented decision not to share the complaint with Congress.”
Schiff continued to say that Congress was informed of the report by the inspector general, but since they don’t have it yet and they don’t know if the White House is involved in holding the report back, “we do not know whether the press reports are accurate or inaccurate about the contents of that complaint.” He also determined that the whistleblower system is “badly broken” between the stifling of the report and the Department of Justice’s refusal to share their opinion about the report, leaving the whistleblower legally unprotected.
“Whether this is pressure brought by the White House, whether this is the director of national intelligence feeling that he is straight-jacketed by this opinion of the Department of Justice, whether the Department of Justice is coordinating its activities with either the White House or the subject of the complaint, we didn’t know. But given the inspector general said this is urgent, it can’t wait…There is no privilege that covers whether the White House is involved in trying to stifle a whistleblower complaint. And I should say that even if you could make a colorable claim of privilege over the subject matter of the complaint, given that it involves something that the IG has already found to be serious and credible and evidence of wrongdoing of one kind or another, there is no privilege that covers that. There is no privilege to conceal that, there is no privilege to be corrupt.”
Watch above, via MSNBC.
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