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Schiff accuses DoJ of blocking whistleblower

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on September 19, 2019 - Duration: 02:23s

Schiff accuses DoJ of blocking whistleblower

The head of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on Thursday accused the Justice Department of blocking intelligence officials from providing Congress with a whistleblower complaint reported to involve communications between President Donald Trump and a foreign leader.

Roger Fortuna has more.

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Schiff accuses DoJ of blocking whistleblower

The U.S Department of Justice advised the intelligence community to withhold a potentially damaging whistle-blower complaint, reportedly involving President Trump, from Congress.

That's according to the Democratic Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, who was briefed on the complaint THURSDAY by the U.S. intelligence community's inspector general, in a closed-door session.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REP.

ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, SAYING: "We can't get an answer because the Department of Justice, and the Director of National Intelligence, will not authorize the IG to tell us.

And the Inspector General is doing his very best to be very careful that he follow the law." The Trump administration has stonewalled Schiff's committee's efforts to obtain this whistleblower report for a week.

According to a Washington Post report, the whistleblower raised an internal alarm after President Trump allegedly made a 'promise' to a foreign leader during a phone call.

AN INTELLIGENCE official was apparently so DEEPLY alarmed he took his concern to the office of the Inspector General of National Intelligence… where the complaint was deemed an "urgent concern"… a legal threshold that required notification of congressional oversight committees.

But in an escalating standoff with Congress, the acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, has refused to share details about the complaint with lawmakers.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REP.

ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, SAYING: "I believe that there is an effort to prevent this information getting to Congress and if the assertion is accurate that the Department of Justice has made and the DNI has affirmed that this involves a potentially privileged communication, then at one level or another, it likely involves either the president or people around him." Schiff said the inspector general did not reveal any new details about the substance of the complaint… and refused to discuss whether or not the White House directly acted to block Congress from reading the complaint.

In a tweet that came during the briefing, Trump denied saying "something inappropriate to a foreign leader" calling the report "another fake news" story.

Next week, National Intelligence Director Joseph Maguire is scheduled to testify before Schiff's House panel in an open session.

Maguire's office did not respond to a request for comment, and the White House declined immediate comment.

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