A communication between President Donald Trump and a world leader prompted a whistleblower complaint that is now at the center of a dispute between the director of national intelligence and Congress, a source familiar with the case told CNN.From Talkingpointsmemo:
The concern was first revealed by The Washington Post, which reported that an official in the American intelligence community was so bothered by a "promise" Trump made to a foreign leader that the official filed a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general of the intelligence community, citing two former US officials familiar with the matter. CNN has not independently confirmed the detail about a "promise" made to the foreign leader.
There’s a lot of discussion and context in the Post article. But that’s the central reported detail. It’s not clear who the foreign leader was or what was promised or really anything else. The additional key detail is this: the complaint from the unidentified whistleblower was submitted to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson. He determined that the complaint was credible and troubling enough to be a matter of “urgent concern”, a legal standard that requires reporting the matter to Congress.And:
The decision to withhold the information from Congress was made by acting DNI Joseph Maguire, who’s in that position after the dismissal of Dan Coats. But the Post suggests that it’s not actually Maguire’s choice. The Department of Justice told him to withhold the information from Congress.And then TPM quotes The Post:
Defenders of Maguire disputed that he is subverting legal requirements to protect Trump, saying that he is trapped in a legitimate legal predicament and that he has made his displeasure clear to officials at the Justice Department and White House.So Trump's DOJ instructed acting DNI Maguire not to inform Congress, as he required to do so by law, about a matter of "urgent concern" regarding Trump's communication with a foreign leader.
After fielding the complaint on Aug. 12, Atkinson submitted it to Maguire two weeks later. By law, Maguire is required to transmit such complaints to Congress within seven days. But in this case, he refrained from doing so after turning for legal guidance to officials at the Justice Department.
In a sign of Atkinson’s discomfort with this situation, the inspector general informed the House and Senate intelligence committees of the existence of the whistleblower complaint — without revealing its substance — in early September.
Yep, this is normal. This is good for America.