sunny.png
Tuesday July 14th, 2020 6:08PM

Trump scorns complaint about call with foreign leader

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government's intelligence watchdog declined on Thursday to discuss the substance of a whistleblower complaint that reportedly concerns President Donald Trump making an unspecified promise to a foreign leader. Trump rejected the report as fake news and "presidential harassment."

The inspector general's testimony at a closed-door meeting of the House intelligence committee was described by three people with knowledge of the proceedings. They were not authorized to discuss the meeting by name and were granted anonymity.

The Washington Post reported the complaint involves an intelligence official's allegation that Trump made the promise to an unidentified foreign leader in a telephone call. The Post cited two anonymous former U.S. officials.

The Associated Press has not confirmed the report.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., had said inspector general Michael Atkinson determined the whistleblower complaint was "credible and urgent" and should be "transmitted to Congress."

Schiff has said the committee learned the complaint involved "confidential and potentially privileged communication." In issuing a subpoena for the acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire to appear before the panel, Schiff said the complaint had not been transmitted to Congress within 10 days "in violation of the law."

The situation raises Democrats' concerns that the intelligence community might be under pressure from the administration to withhold information from Congress. Maguire, a former Navy official, was named acting director in August after the departure of Director Dan Coats who often clashed with the president, and the retirement of Sue Gordon, a career professional in the No. 2 position.

Schiff noted in his letter seeking Maguire's testimony that "your office consulted the Department of Justice about the complaint even though the statute does not provide you discretion to review" the inspector general's findings, "let alone to involve another entity within the executive branch."

Trump dismissed it all.

"Another Fake News story out there - It never ends!" Trump tweeted. "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!"

He asked: "Is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially "heavily populated" call."

Atkinson testified behind closed doors at the Capitol, but it appeared he did not disclose details to lawmakers. Instead the appearance mainly involved a discussion of the process for whistleblower complaints, the sources said.

Maguire has refused to discuss details.

Schiff subpoenaed Maguire, saying he was withholding a whistleblower complaint from Congress and questioning whether he had been directed to do so by the White House or the attorney general. Maguire is expected to testify publicly about the whistleblower complaint on Sept. 26.

Both Atkinson and Maguire are to appear next week before the Senate intelligence committee, according to Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the panel.

Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., said Thursday on MSNBC that the acting director "broke the law when he decided to basically intercept the inspector general's report to Congress."

That's "never been done before in the history of inspector general reports to the Congress," Himes said. "And the American people should be worried about that."

Himes said ahead of the meeting that lawmakers are in the uncomfortable position of not knowing any more than what's in the news reports.

"We don't know exactly what is in the substance of this complaint," he said. "It could be nothing. It could be something very, very serious."

Schiff did not divulge the subject of the complaint, but said the committee "places the highest importance on the protection of whistleblowers and their complaints to Congress."

In a letter Tuesday, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Jason Klitenic, wrote that the agency is protecting the whistleblower and argued the allegation does not meet the definition of "urgent concern." He said the complaint "concerned conduct from someone outside the intelligence community and did not relate to 'intelligence activity' under the DNI's supervision."

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."

In issuing a subpoena to Maguire last week, Schiff outlined the situation. He wrote that days earlier the inspector general sent a letter to the Intelligence Committee notifying it of the existence of a whistleblower complaint. The next day, Schiff requested to see it.

___

AP writer Zeke Miller contributed.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online President, White House, advisers News, AP Online Congress News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump scorns complaint about call with foreign leader
The government's intelligence watchdog is appearing in a closed session before the House intelligence committee about the handling of a whistleblower complaint.
11:25AM ( 4 minutes ago )
Huawei debuts phone without Google apps as US sanctions bite
Huawei is launching a new flagship smartphone that will run on the Chinese tech giant's own version of Google's Android operating system because of U.S. export sanctions
11:08AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Trump sues Manhattan DA seeking to block tax return subpoena
President Donald Trump is asking a federal judge to block an effort by New York prosecutors to obtain his tax returns
11:05AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
California looks for ways to preserve environmental clout
The Trump administration has decided to stop California from setting its own emission standards for cars and trucks, and that move would undermine the state's ability to convince automakers that they should make more environmentally friendly vehicles.
10:46AM ( 44 minutes ago )
Labor nominee says he won't be influenced by corporate work
President Donald Trump's pick to lead Labor Department is trying to assure senators that legal work for corporate clients won't influence his actions as a Cabinet member
10:27AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Labor nominee Eugene Scalia cites 'public trust'
President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Labor Department, Eugene Scalia, tells a Senate committee that his years of work as an attorney for corporate clients won't influence his actions as a senior government official
10:13AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Trump says gun negotiations going 'very slowly'
President Donald Trump is pouring cold water on prospects for a bipartisan compromise on gun legislation, even as his aides circulate a draft plan on Capitol Hill
7:54AM ( 3 hours ago )
UN faces rival cease-fire resolutions in Syrian rebel area
The U.N. Security Council is facing rival resolutions calling for a cease-fire in Syria's last rebel stronghold in Idlib, "to avoid a further deterioration of the already catastrophic humanitarian situation."
1:06AM ( 10 hours ago )
Cuccinelli emerging as Trump's leading voice on immigration
Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli emerging as public face of Trump's policies
12:19AM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Huawei debuts phone without Google apps as US sanctions bite
Huawei is launching a new flagship smartphone that will run on the Chinese tech giant's own version of Google's Android operating system because of U.S. export sanctions
11:08AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Trump sues Manhattan DA seeking to block tax return subpoena
President Donald Trump is asking a federal judge to block an effort by New York prosecutors to obtain his tax returns
11:05AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Poland's top filmmakers protest festival admission rules
Academy Award-winning Pawel Pawlikowski and other top Polish filmmakers are demanding artistic independence for the nation's most prestigious film festival after a politically charged movie was withdrawn
11:05AM ( 25 minutes ago )
SWAT unit rescues baby after dispute between man, woman
A special police unit was able to rescue a baby from an apartment outside Atlanta after a dispute between a man and a woman
10:59AM ( 31 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump denies saying anything 'inappropriate'
President Donald Trump says he would never say anything "inappropriate" on a call with a foreign leader
10:59AM ( 32 minutes ago )