Trump’s communications with foreign leader are part of whistleblower complaint that spurred standoff between spy chief and Congress, former officials say


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  last year  •  29 comments

Trump’s communications with foreign leader are part of whistleblower complaint that spurred standoff between spy chief and Congress, former officials say

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Trump’s communications with foreign leader are part of whistleblower complaint that spurred standoff between spy chief and Congress, former officials say

SEPTEMBER 18, 2019


The whistleblower complaint that has triggered a tense showdown between the U.S. intelligence community and Congress involves President Trump’s communications with a foreign leader, according to two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter. Trump is pictured Wednesday during a visit to the border with Mexico in Otay Mesa, Calif. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

The whistleblower complaint that has triggered a tense showdown between the U.S. intelligence community and Congress involves President Trump’s communications with a foreign leader, according to two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

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 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. It raises new questions about the president’s handling of sensitive information and may further strain his relationship with U.S. spy agencies. One former official said the communication was a phone call.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and a lawyer representing the whistleblower declined to comment.

Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson determined that the complaint was credible and troubling enough to be considered a matter of “urgent concern,” a legal threshold that requires notification of congressional oversight committees.

But   acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire   has refused to share details about Trump’s alleged transgression with lawmakers, touching off   a legal and political dispute   that has spilled into public and prompted speculation that the spy chief is improperly protecting the president.

The dispute is expected to escalate Thursday when Atkinson is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee in a classified session closed to the public. The hearing is the latest move by committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) to compel U.S. intelligence officials to disclose the full details of the whistleblower complaint to Congress.

Maguire has agreed to testify before the committee next week, according to a statement by Schiff. He declined to comment for this story.

The inspector general “determined that this complaint is both credible and urgent,” Schiff said in the statement released Wednesday evening. “The committee places the highest importance on the protection of whistleblowers and their complaints to Congress.”

The complaint was filed with Atkinson’s office on Aug. 12, a date on which Trump was at his golf resort in New Jersey. White House records indicate that Trump had had conversations or interactions with at least five foreign leaders in the preceding five weeks.

Among them was a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the White House initiated on July 31. Trump also received at least two letters from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during the summer, describing them as “beautiful” messages. In June, Trump said publicly that he was opposed to certain CIA spying operations against North Korea. Referring to a Wall Street Journal report that the agency had recruited Kim’s half-brother, Trump said, “I would tell him that would not happen under my auspices.”

Trump met with other foreign leaders at the White House in July, including the prime minister of Pakistan, the prime minister of the Netherlands, and the emir of Qatar.

Trump’s handling of classified information has been a source of concern to U.S. intelligence officials since the outset of his presidency. In May 2017,   Trump revealed classified information about espionage operations in Syria to senior Russian officials   in the Oval Office, disclosures that prompted a scramble among White House officials to contain the potential damage.

Statements and letters exchanged between the offices of the DNI and the House Intelligence Committee in recent days have pointed at the White House without directly implicating the president.

Schiff has said he was told that the complaint concerned “conduct by someone outside of the Intelligence Community.” Jason Klitenic, the DNI general counsel, noted in a letter sent to congressional leaders on Tuesday that the activity at the root of the complaint “involves confidential and potentially privileged communications.”

The dispute has put Maguire, thrust into the DNI job in an acting capacity with the resignation of Daniel Coats last month, at the center of a politically perilous conflict with constitutional implications.

Schiff has demanded full disclosure of the whistleblower complaint. Maguire has defended his refusal by asserting that the subject of the complaint is beyond his jurisdiction.

Defenders of Maguire disputed that he is subverting legal requirements to protect Trump, saying that he is trapped in a legitimate legal predicament and that he has made his displeasure clear to officials at the Justice Department and White House.

After fielding the complaint on Aug. 12, Atkinson submitted it to Maguire two weeks later. By law, Maguire is required to transmit such complaints to Congress within seven days. But in this case, he refrained from doing so after turning for legal guidance to officials at the Justice Department.

In a sign of Atkinson’s discomfort with this situation, the inspector general informed the House and Senate intelligence committees of the existence of the whistleblower complaint — without revealing its substance — in early September.

Schiff responded with almost immediate indignation, firing off a letter demanding a copy of the complaint and warning that he was prepared to subpoena senior U.S. intelligence officials. The DNI has asserted that lawyers determined there was no notification requirement because the whistleblower complaint did not constitute an urgent concern that was “within the responsibility and authority” of Maguire’s office.

Legal experts said there are scenarios in which a president’s communications with a foreign leader could rise to the level of an “urgent concern” for the intelligence community, but they also noted that the president has broad authority to decide unilaterally when to classify or declassify information.

Revealing how the United States obtained sensitive information could “compromise intelligence means and methods and potentially the lives of sources,” said Joel Brenner, former inspector general for the National Security Agency.

It was unclear whether the whistleblower witnessed Trump’s communication with the foreign leader or learned of it through other means. Summaries of such conversations are often distributed among White House staff, although the administration imposed new limits on this practice after Trump’s disclosures to Russian officials were revealed.


jrDiscussion - desc
smarty_function_ntUser_is_admin: user_id parameter required
1  seeder  JohnRussell    last year

In other words Trump is a traitor. 

Vic Eldred
1.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @1    last year

In other words your'e going for a hat trick with unverified stories! Remember, the last time officials had “urgent concern” they got themselves fired and investigated!

1.2.1  JBB  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.2    last year

It is illegal to retaliate against a legitimate whistleblower and the IG has as already determined this particular complaint to be both urgent and credible. You are not be advocating for Trump to take criminal actions are you? 

Vic Eldred
1.2.3  Vic Eldred  replied to  JBB @1.2.1    last year
the IG has as already determined this particular complaint to be both urgent and credible.

Section 3033 Does Not Apply to the President
Here, the whistleblower (who is reportedly represented by a lawyer well versed in Section 3033) believed President Trump’s undescribed promise to the unidentified foreign leader qualified as an “urgent concern” under the statute. On August 12, the whistleblower reported the matter to IGIC Atkinson. In what I believe was an error, Atkinson concluded that the complaint did indeed spell out a Section 3033 urgent concern because it was credible and raised a serious issue. (As we’ll see, my quarrel is with the application of the statute to the president; I assume the Trump-appointed IGIC is correct that the complaint is credible and serious.)

Atkinson thus notified Joseph Maguire, the acting DNI. Maguire, however, did not believe the matter met the Section 3033 definition of an urgent concern, because it related to an activity by someone not under the authority of the DNI (inferentially, the president). Consequently, Maguire declined to pass the complaint along to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

As noted above, current and former intelligence officials continue to leak like sieves in their years-long campaign against the sitting president. Thus, the existence of the complaint, the report of it to the IGIC, and the acting DNI’s refusal to alert Congress became known to the media and to Chairman Schiff. The chairman is claiming that the Trump administration is violating the law by failing to notify Congress of an urgent concern, as mandated by Section 3033.

In my view, Chairman Schiff’s claim, based on IGIC Atkinson’s interpretation of the statute, is wrong. Section 3033 does not apply to a president’s negotiations with or commitments to foreign powers, or to a president’s sharing of classified information with foreign powers. To repeat, the statute applies to intelligence activities by government officials acting under the authority of the DNI. If I am right, the Trump administration should not be accused of law-breaking for declining to follow Section 3033, even if the whistleblower had an “urgent concern” in the ordinary understanding of that term.

2  1stwarrior    last year

Really pushing the TOS John - need to be careful.

2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  1stwarrior @2    last year

I beg your pardon. 

Stop defending this pos for pete's sake. 

2.1.1  1stwarrior  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    last year

Get rid of your hate and desire to indoctrinate everyone you come in contact with that hate - is NOT defending your favorite political leader.

2.1.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  1stwarrior @2.1.1    last year

Donald Trump is not remotely qualified to be president of the United States . He is a perpetual liar, a crook, a bigot, and a moron. 

None of that is opinion, it is fact. 

If you love Donald Trump, which you seem to, maybe YOU are the one that hates America. Stop pestering me with this nonsense about how I "hate" Trump.  Even if did, if there is one person who deserves to be hated in this country, it is that asshole. 

Now stop it. 

2.1.3  bbl-1  replied to  1stwarrior @2.1.1    last year

Truth is not hate.

Fear of truth spawns hate.

2.1.4  bugsy  replied to  bbl-1 @2.1.3    last year
Fear of truth spawns hate.

That's why we hear calls from Congresspeople to get into the faces of those you don't agree with (and liberals follow through) and the left wing of the left wing, ANTIFA (Anti First Amendment), assault and destroy property of those they don't like or don't think like them.

You're right....fear of the truth spawns hate. Glad you finally see it.

2.2  igknorantzrulz  replied to  1stwarrior @2    last year

Just because Fox isn't telling you, by no means, means stuff ain't happening out there.

This is serious, no matter how you look at it. 

I've been convinced Trump is the treasonous traitor he has appeared to be ever since he began running, and before that, decades before, i was aware of what a pos he was.

Trump would sell his soul, and i believe he has. I'm also totally convinced Vladimir Putin has shit on him. No 'MAN' acts that sub-servant to another.

Trump has LIED to YOU, me, and the entire country, incessantly, how you can overlook this is difficult to comprehend. 

Trump just cannot be gone soon enough. 

He is a stain on our once Great Country, and when all of this shit settles, you, and so many others, will finally see how WRONG you were , have been, and continue to be.

Accept reality already, yea it bites, but the longer you deny it, the more you allow it to define you, and that definition is totally unflattering. 

He just continues to spit on the graves of all the greats who attempted to form a perfect union, along with spitting in the face of all of our current Patriots.

The man is a disgrace to our Country.       PERIOD!

2.3  bbl-1  replied to  1stwarrior @2    last year

'need to be careful.'  Careful of what?  Are you implying there is something to fear?  Polonium perhaps?  

2.3.1  1stwarrior  replied to  bbl-1 @2.3    last year

Read the "Terms of Service" - you will learn something.

2.3.2  bbl-1  replied to  1stwarrior @2.3.1    last year

Careful of what?

3  igknorantzrulz    last year

Every time we think he can't out due himself, Trump does, and it is FCKED UP!

4  bbl-1    last year

Do not know the details of this matter...….but......there is a recurring pattern here.

Also this;  It is unfathomable that a US president had a meeting lasting over two hours with a foreign leader and to this very day nobody knows the content of that meeting.  And furthermore, the American scribe/interpreter was ordered by the US president to never divulge the conversations/agreements/proposals of that meeting.  Helsinki.

Is this 'new/recent incident' just more of the same with the president?

4.1  igknorantzrulz  replied to  bbl-1 @4    last year

Is this 'new/recent incident' just more of the same with the president?

It is a definite possibility. Speculation from ones who are aware of who this could possibly be about, point to Trumps' communication via telephone call to Putin.

The Russian press summary stated steps were made to bring us back to bilateral agreements, while Trumps White House summation, stated they discussed Russian Wild fires.

Trump is a traitor, no matter what transpired. I believe this is just MORE Proof, and i already needed NO MORE PROOF!

4.1.1  bbl-1  replied to  igknorantzrulz @4.1    last year

Traitor?  Or maybe just a greedy/useful idiot.

4.1.2  igknorantzrulz  replied to  bbl-1 @4.1.1    last year


5  bbl-1    last year

Actually there is this too.  Today, the Trump signed his name on a support beam of the border wall that was built during The Obama Administration.  I imagine the Trump's next move will be to tear the wall down.  Ya think?

6  igknorantzrulz    last year

i watched a lot of Fox News since this story broke.

It is possible i missed it, but i didn't see them mention anything on this till Schipp came out of meeting , midday today.

They appear to deliberately shield their viewers from the 'Truth' about Trump, and also appear to downplay and or admit anything negative about Trump. To watch the three major 24 hour news networks, it's as if they are from 2 different countries. 

The more varied sources, the more well rounded, viewers and readers can and will be.

Independent thought and critical thinking skills are absent, causing absent mindedness, and a hell of a lot of tardies as well. The same ones over and over, being tardy.

Ignorance ruling is by design, and it is a severely flawed design, that is currently tearing our country apart, while absent, is not enough of the ma and pop tart tasting Krimpets, that have soured our non dairy cream of the crop dusted pols, swiffering around the presented truth, as it remains aloof, all by design, as become accepted is a goof that would not be funny even in a spoof,

As he is malignant, not benign.  

7  Ender    last year

So the IG thinks it was serious yet republicans want to sweep it under the rug. It astounds me the lengths they go to in order to protect this idiot.

Now he is hinting that his circle will be tighter. That he will limit who can hear these calls.

It just dumbfounds me that republicans, that call for less government, are fine with letting trump just consolidate power and let him do things that people cannot see or hear about. Let him do all these things with zero oversight and zero repercussions, no matter what he does.

All I can say is with all the president being set, I don't want to hear any bitching when a Dem president does the same.

Sean Treacy
8  Sean Treacy    last year

did he do something really serious and promise the leader of Russia he'd have more flexibility to help after the election?

Release The Kraken
8.1  Release The Kraken  replied to  Sean Treacy @8    last year

LoL The new Russia hoax part 2.

The election will never die.....

8.2  lib50  replied to  Sean Treacy @8    last year

He pressured Ukraine to go after Joe Biden multiple times.  And if this is good with you, the dem nominee will have full reign to ask an ally to dish the dirt on Trump and Putin (of course they have it), and any other country that Trump shits on can help dig dirt on republicans. And we can all be beholden to foreign influence forevermore.  The end.

9  MrFrost    last year

Trump said it's fake news. Just like the stormy daniels story was... 



Who is online

Vic Eldred

50 visitors