A stunning new report is airing the chilling contents of an intelligence whistleblower complaint so sensitive that the White House is desperate to cover-up because it involves a “troubling” promise to a foreign leader.
Last week, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) revealed in a public letter that Trump’s Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire is required to turn over a high-level whistleblower complaint to his committee and has a ministerial duty to do so. Maguire stubbornly refused to hand over the complaint to Chairman Schiff, despite the law requiring him to do so.
But the contents of the complaint leaked to the press anyway, and it alleges that Trump made a promise to an unnamed foreign leader that was “so troubling” it spurred the official to action.
The Washington Post reports:
“Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a “promise” that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community, said the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
One former official said the communication was a phone call.
It was not immediately clear which foreign leader Trump was speaking with or what he pledged to deliver, but his direct involvement in the matter has not been previously disclosed.”
Congressional reporting is mandatory for any whistleblower complaints that the Intelligence Community Inspector General considers a matter of “urgent concern” and is not reviewable in court by the DNI’s office.
But DNI Maguire is stubbornly defying the law, which the House Intelligence committee could quickly enforce in court through an expedited action known as a petition for mandamus, a special legal order compelling a government authority to perform a required act.
The law requires the Acting DNI to share the complaint with Chairman Schiff within seven days.
The former Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, believes that a whistleblower complaint against the president could only happen if there’s something wildly out of the ordinary going on:
I cannot remember a whistleblower trying to blow a whistle on a president. & this cant just be about Trump's handling of classified materials. Like it or not, the president can declassify whatever he wants when he wants. Something bigger seems to be going on. https://t.co/fbu3i11VOe
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) September 19, 2019
At this time, there are no reports indicating a connection between Trump’s reportedly highly-suspect phone call with a foreign leader and a specific country or individual.
However, tonight’s news is about a complaint filed on August 12th, which happened right in the midst of what has become — in retrospect — the middle of a crash replacement of the White House national security team and leadership of the American intelligence apparatus over the last thirty days.
On July 28th, DNI Dan Coates was abruptly fired by tweet. President Trump tried to replace Coates with a Congressional flunkee, Rep. John Ratcliffe (D-TX), whose nomination was quickly derailed over credible claims of past retaliation against whistleblowers.
House Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee Chairman Steve Cohen (D-TN) believes that there’s a significant chance that the whistleblower’s complaint is about Russia.
news: #whistleblower possibly/probably about #Trump #Putin phone call. Since Helsinki &in every meeting btwn the two it’s clear who Owns whom.Believed Putin not our intelligence.Trump tears up translator notes.Mueller report:Russia interfered in election. https://t.co/3m0M1d7oFf
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) September 19, 2019
Soon after Ratcliffe’s nomination imploded, CNN reported a highly unusual phone call on August 2nd about the need for a new ambassador with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A week later, Deputy DNI Gordon suddenly resigned after she was passed over for the Acting DNI job in favor of Joseph Maguire.
Former DNI Coates’ last day on the job was August 15th, and a permanent Director of National Intelligence nominee has still not been named.
Last Tuesday, President Trump fired National Security Advisor John Bolton with an unexpected tweet, which marks the completion of the removal of the top three officials in America’s national security and intelligence apparatus along with the Russian Ambassador.
Bolton is an extremely dangerous individual with a terrible track record on policy matters and a bloodlust that borders on the psychotic, but his replacement Robert O’Brien is a hostage negotiation expert and lawyer with limited experience atop America’s national security spheres.
O’Brien’s endorsement by presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has become a plenipotentiary minister in the White House, is his most important credential.
Another possibility for the subject of the whistleblower complaint is the President’s phone call to North Korea’s authoritarian dictator after Kim Jong-un launched missiles on August 2nd.
Later at last month’s G7 meeting, Japanese President Shinzo Abe publicly contradicted Trump about the following North Korean missile test in late August which he asserts violate UN Resolutions prohibiting those launches.
All of those problems in the commercially important US-Japan relationship are taking place amidst a breakdown in intelligence cooperation between Japan and South Korea, which could destabilize the region.
And we don’t know if the complaint is about Trump’s overly friendly relations with Putin, or Kim Jong Un, or another party.
These are just two of what the Post says are phone calls with five different world leaders that the urgent whistleblower complaint could address.
We do know that the rising tide of international tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, between North Korea and America’s major trade partners in Japan and South Korea, and our troubled relations with Russia, are all coming to a boil as the top levels of the US intelligence agencies are in major flux.
This story about an intelligence complaint deemed “urgent concern” has now been revealed to be a matter of the utmost foreign policy importance because it recounts the promises made by President Trump to another country’s head of state, and it comes at a critical junction in international relations.
What do you think?
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.