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Weekend Reads Intelligence community watchdog debunks whistleblower conspiracy pushed by Trump and other Republicans

05:05  01 october  2019
05:05  01 october  2019 Source:   cnn.com

Acting director of national intelligence threatened to resign if he couldn’t speak freely before Congress on whistleblower complaint

  Acting director of national intelligence threatened to resign if he couldn’t speak freely before Congress on whistleblower complaint Joseph Maguire feared the White House might attempt to force him to stonewall when he provides testimony on Thursday.The revelation reflects the extraordinary tensions between the White House and the nation’s highest-ranking intelligence official over a matter that has triggered impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

According to the whistleblower ’s complaint, Trump repeatedly urged the Ukrainian government to investigate the former vice-president, in the hope of gathering The truth is, very little is known about the whistleblower ’s political beliefs. The inspector general of the intelligence community , the first to

The intelligence committee has reached an agreement with the whistleblower to appear before the Trump has defended his phone call with Zelenskiy and called the whistleblower a "political hack." Bossert, who resigned from his post last year, said Trump was referring to "a debunked conspiracy

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie looking at the camera: President Donald Trump pauses as he speaks at the Hispanic Heritage Month Reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, September 27, 2019.© Carolyn Kaster/AP President Donald Trump pauses as he speaks at the Hispanic Heritage Month Reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, September 27, 2019.

The intelligence community inspector general is forcefully pushing back against assertions made by President Donald Trump and several Republican lawmakers about the whistleblower complaint that has rocked Washington in recent weeks.

In a rare statement released Monday, the inspector general addressed a false claim pushed by Trump and some of his allies on Capitol Hill, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, that the whistleblower lacked firsthand knowledge of the conduct outlined in the complaint and therefore the allegations were based on "hearsay." But the statement from the inspector general made clear that the whistleblower was not simply communicating secondhand knowledge.

Pelosi, on handling of whistleblower complaint: 'This is a cover-up'

  Pelosi, on handling of whistleblower complaint: 'This is a cover-up' "Our focus is on this allegation," the House speaker said Thursday at her first press conference since announcing a formal impeachment inquiry earlier this week."This is a cover-up. This is a cover-up," Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference as she answered questions for the first time since announcing a formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday evening.

The intelligence committee has reached an agreement with the whistleblower to appear before the Trump has defended his phone call with Zelenskiy and called the whistleblower a "political hack." Bossert, who resigned from his post last year, said Trump was referring to "a debunked conspiracy

Whistleblower ’s lawyer says president’s remarks have put his client in danger, while Trump suggests Adam Schiff could be arrested for treason. After they did so, Trump continued to attack the whistleblower on Twitter and also suggested the chair of the House intelligence committee be

"The whistleblower stated on the form that he or she possessed both first-hand and other information," the statement read. "The ICIG reviewed the information provided as well as other information gathered and determined that the complaint was both urgent and that it appeared credible. "

The statement clearly says the whistleblower had "direct knowledge of certain alleged conduct" and that Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson obtained additional information during his preliminary review that supported other allegations in the complaint not based on firsthand knowledge, including Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"As part of his determination that the urgent concern appeared credible, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community determined that the Complainant had official and authorized access to the information and sources referenced in the Complainant's Letter and Classified Appendix, including direct knowledge of certain alleged conduct, and that the Complainant has subject matter expertise related to much of the material information provided," the statement says.

Trump demands to meet whistleblower, warns of 'big consequences'

  Trump demands to meet whistleblower, warns of 'big consequences' President Trump on Sunday evening called for the outing of a whistleblower and railed against other individuals, including Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), at the center of a growing scandal involving his phone call with Ukraine's president, warning there could be "big consequences.""Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called "Whistleblower," represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way. Then Schiff made up what I actually said by lying to Congress," Trump said in a series of tweets.

The intelligence committee has reached an agreement with the whistleblower to appear before the Trump has defended his phone call with Zelenskiy and called the whistleblower a “political hack.” Bossert, who resigned from his post last year, said Trump was referring to “a debunked conspiracy

On Monday, Mr Trump resumed his Twitter campaign against the whistleblower , as well as Democratic House Intelligence Committee Chairman Over the weekend Republicans began to mount a campaign to defend Mr Trump , however some prominent Republican officials appeared to

"Although the Complainant's Letter acknowledged that the Complainant was not a direct witness to the President's July 25, 2019, telephone call with the Ukrainian President, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community determined that other information obtained during the ICIG's preliminary review supported the Complainant's allegations," it adds.

Earlier Monday, Trump tweeted: "WHO CHANGED THE LONG STANDING WHISTLEBLOWER RULES JUST BEFORE SUBMITTAL OF THE FAKE WHISTLEBLOWER REPORT? DRAIN THE SWAMP," referring to a theory that seems to have been initially propagated by the right-wing website The Federalist on Friday.

The article claims that "between May 2018 and August 2019, the intelligence community secretly eliminated a requirement that whistleblowers provide direct, first-hand knowledge of alleged wrongdoings."

Monday's statement from the intelligence community inspector general clearly debunks that theory, aligning with a fact check conducted by CNN that found the assertion to be false.

Trump allies concerned he doesn't understand gravity of impeachment fight

  Trump allies concerned he doesn't understand gravity of impeachment fight President Donald Trump and those close to him have lagged in mounting a viable defense nearly a week since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would launch a formal impeachment inquiry. Pelosi and her deputies have signaled they'll work quickly to depose key players in the Ukraine scandal, hoping for swift proceedings that won't spill into the 2020 election year. But Trump has been slow to cobble together a response, convinced he has no need for a separate impeachment team and confident in his own ability to counter-message Democrats, multiple sources close to the White House told CNN.

The whistleblower who filed an anonymous complaint about President Donald Trump asking Ukraine to investigate a political rival has reached an agreement to testify before Congress. Post to Facebook.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff said Sunday that his panel has reached an agreement to secure testimony from the anonymous whistleblower whose detailed complaint launched an impeachment investigation into President Trump .

The statement said that the form submitted by the whistleblower on August 12, 2019, was the same one the inspector general has had in place since May 24, 2018. The statement reiterated that having firsthand knowledge of the event has never been required in order to submit a whistleblower complaint.

"Although the form requests information about whether the Complainant possesses first-hand knowledge about the matter about which he or she is lodging the complaint, there is no such requirement set forth in the statute," the statement reads.

"In fact," the inspector general's statement continues, "by law the Complainant ... need not possess first-hand information in order to file a complaint or information with respect to an urgent concern. The ICIG cannot add conditions to the filing of an urgent concern that do not exist in law."

The statement does state that three new forms have been made available on the inspector general's website as a part of a months-long process. Those forms were developed because the previous versions, including the one used by the whistleblower, "could be read -- incorrectly -- as suggesting that whistleblowers must possess first-hand information to file an urgent concern complaint with the congressional intelligence committees."

Trump criticizes supposed second whistleblower

  Trump criticizes supposed second whistleblower President Trump took aim at a second unnamed intelligence official who is reportedly considering filing a complaint against Trump and testifying before Congress about the president's contacts with Ukraine's president on Saturday.Trump tweeted that the official, whose identity remains a secret, was a member of the "deep state" conspiracy he has argued is working to undermine his presidency.

Central to the complaint by a whistle - blower was a July 25 telephone call between Mr. Trump and In his complaint, which the inspector general for the intelligence community deemed credible, the Republicans have had a tough time defending Mr. Trump , and have mostly been trying to redirect

And Trump demanded to meet the whistleblower as well as the person's sources. Trump 's handling of the matter appears to have alarmed voters. An ABC News-Ipsos poll released Sunday showed that 63 percent of adults say it is a serious problem that Trump pushed Zelensky to look at

Pro-Trump pundits and lawmakers spread the theory on Twitter and TV over the weekend as evidence of some nefarious plot against the President. Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican told Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union" that whistleblowers no longer need firsthand knowledge because "they changed the form."

Tapper pushed back, fact-checking Jordan. "Experts say it has never been true that you need to have firsthand knowledge to be a whistleblower," Tapper said.

The theory put forth by the President and his allies hinges on the idea that the inspector general recently changed the rules to allow individuals with secondhand knowledge of an event to submit a whistleblower complaint. This is wrong.

A previous version -- cited by The Federalist -- of the form that whistleblowers submit to alert the inspector general of the intelligence community of an "urgent concern" states that in order for the inspector general to determine that the concern is credible "the IC IG must be in possession of reliable, first-hand information."

This does not mean that the inspector general would reject a complaint if it presented only secondhand knowledge, but that firsthand information would be needed for the complaint to be found credible and passed further up the chain of command. The inspector general has 14 days from the time the complaint is submitted to investigate and make a determination as to whether the urgent concern is credible.

And that's exactly what happened in the case of this whistleblower.

During the investigation into this specific complaint about Trump's July 25 call with the Ukrainian President, the inspector general found additional information that "supports the Complainant's allegation that, among other things, during the call the President 'sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the President's 2020 reelection bid,' " according to the letter from the inspector general to Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence.

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