Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire defended the whistleblower in testimony before the House on Thursday, arguing that the U.S. official acted in “good faith.”
Trump and his allies have attacked the whistleblower, whose identity remains unknown. The president called the whistleblower “partisan,” before admitting to reporters he doesn’t know the official’s identity. He referred to the official as a “so-called ‘whistleblower’” and asked: “Is he on our country’s side? Where does he come from?”
In his opening statement before the House Intelligence Committee, Maguire said that while he did not deem the complaint as “urgent” under the definition of that legal statute, he thought the whistleblower acted in good faith.
“I want to stress that I believe that the whistleblower and the inspector general acted in good faith throughout,” Maguire said. “I have every reason to believe that they have done everything by the book and followed the law.”
After Maguire faced initial questioning from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on how he carried out the handling of the complaint — and Maguire noted the inspector general found the allegations against Trump to be credible — the House Democrat focused on his comments about the whistleblower.
“Director, you don’t believe the whistleblower is a political hack, do you?” Schiff asked.
Maguire dodged the question, stating he did not know the identity of the official.
When pressed again by Schiff, Maguire restated he believes the whistleblower “is operating in good faith and has followed the law.”
“You don’t have any reason to accuse them of disloyalty to our country or suggest they are beholding to some other country do you?” Schiff asked.
“Absolutely not. I believe the whistleblower followed the steps every step of the way,” Maguire replied. “I think the whistleblower did the right thing. I think he followed the law every step of the way.”
When Schiff asked why Maguire remained silent when Trump attacked the whistleblower as a “political hack” who might be disloyal to the country, the intel chief said he didn’t think a public rebuke of the president would have been appropriate.
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