Congressman: Top Trump official 'broke the law' by hiding whistleblower report

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A whistleblower's complaint was determined to be of 'urgent concern,' but the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, suppressed it.

A member of the House Intelligence Committee said Thursday that Trump's acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, broke federal law.

According to Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), Maguire illegally intercepted a report about a whistleblower's complaint regarding Trump's communications with a foreign leader.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that those communications included a "promise" from Trump to that foreign leader, which is part of the whistleblower's complaint.

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Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson considered the complaint to be a matter of "urgent concern."

That designation meets "a legal threshold that requires notification of congressional oversight committees," the Post reported. But despite that finding, Maguire refused to pass the details of the complaint on to lawmakers.

Himes discussed the issue during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"The acting DNI broke the law when he decided to basically intercept the Inspector General's report to Congress," Himes said. "Never been done before in the history of Inspector General reports to the Congress."

Himes added that "of course" the interception "is an illegal act."

"There's nothing in the statute that gives the director of national intelligence the authority to do what he did," Himes said, cautioning that "the American people should be worried" about Maguire's actions because it delegitimizes the process whistleblowers use to highlight important information and actions.

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff also addressed the complaint in a statement Wednesday.

"[Atkinson] determined that this complaint is both credible and urgent, and that it should be transmitted to Congress under the clear letter of the law," Schiff said. "The Committee places the highest importance on the protection of whistleblowers and their complaints to Congress."

The inspector general is testifying before the intel committee in a closed session Thursday morning.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.