Yet another possible political scandal could be brewing in the Trump administration, this time over a whistleblower complaint that acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire refuses to hand over to Congress.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff issued a subpoena on Friday to Maguire to “compel the production of a whistleblower complaint that the Intelligence Community Inspector General’s (IC IG) determined to be credible and a matter of ‘urgent concern,’” a statement from Schiff’s office said.
Schiff also is seeking the IC IG’s determination and “all records pertaining to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI) involvement in this matter, including any and all correspondence with other Executive Branch actors such as the White House.”
The Intelligence Committee chairman added that he is concerned that the complaint is being intentionally withheld from Congress “to protect the President or other Administration officials.”
Schiff noted that it is unprecedented for a director of national intelligence to prevent a whistleblower complaint determined by the IC IG to be credible from being submitted to the congressional intelligence committees.
Additionally, Maguire allegedly consulted with the Justice Department about the complaint, filed last month, in apparent violation of a statute requiring him to submit it to the congressional committee within 10 days.
While we do not know the contents of this complaint, which was made by someone in the intelligence community, Schiff’s statement is rather ominous. The House Intelligence Committee should have received it by Sept. 2, according to a letter Schiff sent Maguire on Friday. The committee formally requested it on Sept. 10.
“As Acting Director of National Intelligence, you have neither the legal authority nor the discretion to overrule a determination by the IC IG. Moreover, you do not possess the authority to withhold from the Committee a whistleblower disclosure from within the Intelligence Community that is intended for Congress,” the letter stated.
Given the administration’s track record of ignoring congressional subpoenas and forcing matters to court, Schiff said he would require Maguire to appear before the committee in an open hearing on Sept. 19 if Maguire fails to abide by the subpoena.
According to Politico, Maguire’s office acknowledged receiving the subpoena. “We are reviewing the request and will respond appropriately,” a senior intelligence official told the news site. “The ODNI and Acting DNI Maguire are committed to fully complying with the law and upholding whistleblower protections and have done so here.”
The secretive nature of the complaint has prompted all types of speculation on social media. Whatever the content, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.