Intelligence chief refuses to say if he talked to Trump about whistleblower complaint

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Acting DNI Joseph Maguire refused six times to say whether or not he talked with Trump about the whistleblower allegations related to the Ukraine scandal.

In less than two minutes, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire was asked six times whether or not he spoke to Trump about the recent whistleblower allegations. Maguire repeatedly refused to answer during Thursday's congressional hearing.

"Did you speak personally to the president of the United States at any time about this complaint?," Rep. Sean Maloney (D-PA) asked Maguire. After Maguire evaded, Maloney asked again.

"Congressman Maloney, my conversation with the president of the United States is privileged," Maguire answered. Despite repeated questions from Maloney and then Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA), Maguire absolutely refused to answer.

Maguire's supposed claim of executive privilege did not stop him from answering other questions about his conversations with Trump if he felt like it.

Under questioning from Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Maguire seemed to admit that he did, in fact, discuss the whistleblower with Trump.

"Did the president of the United States ask you to find out the identity of the whistleblower?" Speier asked.

"Although I would not normally discuss my conversations with the president, I can tell you emphatically: No," Maguire responded.

 

Refusing to confirm his conversation with Trump was not the only time Maguire was evasive during the hearing.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) repeatedly questioned Maguire about the White House covering up Trump's July 25 conversation with the president of Ukraine. Rather than give any straightforward answer about the allegations, Maguire said, "how the White House, the Executive Office of the President, and the National Security Council conduct their business is their business."

In another line of questioning, Maloney questioned Maguire about his decision to seek legal guidance from the Department of Justice and the White House, considering both were implicated in the whistleblower's complaint as a part of the illicit activities. Rather than recognize the inherent conflict of interest, Maguire claimed he "thought it would be prudent."

Trump is at the center of a scandal that threatens to make him only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached by the House of Representatives. And rather than give Congress a straight answer, Maguire spent Thursday's hearing evading questions about the man at the center of a major scandal.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.