The corruption and mendacity of the Trump administration are beginning to infect the federal intelligence community after two years worth of the president’s attacks on the agencies as participants in a “deep state” conspiracy against him and his driving out of senior officials who object to his ethical lapses and intelligence leaks.
The evidence for this conclusion stems from the subpoena that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) issued to Joseph Maguire, the acting Director of National Intelligence, alleging that the Trump appointee is withholding a credible whistleblower complaint of “urgent concern” that was filed by an intelligence staffer and confirmed by the Inspector General of the intelligence agencies.
According to The Washington Post:
“Schiff said the committee had learned about the complaint this week. He said Maguire told the committee in a letter that he was withholding the complaint from the committee “because, in part, it involves confidentially and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the intelligence community.”
According to the Intelligence Committee Chairman, Maguire is mandated to share the crucial whistleblower filing with the committee and his failure to do so raises serious suspicions of an intentional coverup by the administration.
In a letter to the acting DNI, Congressman Schiff said:
“As Acting Director of National Intelligence, you have neither the legal authority nor the discretion to overrule a determination by the [Intelligence Community Inspector General]. 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 Committee can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials,” Schiff added.
“This raises grave concerns that your office, together with the Department of Justice and possibly the White House, are engaged in an unlawful effort to protect the President and conceal from the Committee information related to his possible ‘serious or flagrant’ misconduct, abuse of power, or violation of law,” the House Intelligence Committee Chairman ominously concluded.
The urgency of the matter is highlighted by Representative Schiff’s decision to issue a subpoena to Maguire compelling his appearance in front of the committee this coming Thursday to explain his reasons for withholding the whistleblower complaint.
“The Committee – and the American people – must know why, in violation of the law, a whistleblower complaint is being concealed, whether the underlying conduct involves the President or those around him, and whether the White House is involved in trying to cover up this authorized disclosure,” Schiff wrote.
Given the conduct of the administration in its efforts to thwart the multiple investigations into its questionable actions and practices by the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives to date, this latest potential cover-up should come as no surprise as the least transparent presidency in modern times does everything in its power to prevent its yet-to-be-disclosed misdeeds from being unearthed to join the already copious transgressions that the public is already aware of.
With the Trump administration having already defied numerous congressional subpoenas requiring testimony from Executive branch officials, it will be interesting to see whether the acting Director of National Intelligence bothers to show up for his appearance in front of the House Intelligence Committee later this week and what the next moves will be if he refuses to testify or fails to provide a compelling reason for his actions.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.