Donald Trump Discussed Whistleblower Complaint About Himself With Intelligence Director, DNI Appears To Admit

Jonathan Vankin

A newly declassified whistleblower complaint alleges that Donald Trump used the "power of his office" to strong-arm the president of Ukraine into staging an investigation of Democratic 2020 front-runner Joe Biden during a phone call placed on July 25. The whistleblower, whose complaint is readable online via the House Intelligence Committee, also says that after the phone call, White House officials went to great lengths to cover up Trump's attempt to force Ukraine to interfere in the United States elections by placing the official transcript of the call under "lock down" in an unofficial, secure electronic storage system.

But when Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified to the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, he appeared to admit that he had discussed the whistleblower complaint directly with Trump — the subject of the complaint. Former United States Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul noted Maguire's apparent admission via his Twitter account.

As McFaul noted, in response to a question as to whether he has discussed the whistleblower complaint with Trump, Maguire refused to answer, claiming that his conversations with the president of the United States were covered by executive privilege.

But when grilled by California congressional representative Jackie Speier over whether Trump had ever asked him to discover the identity of the whistleblower, Maguire appeared to make an exception to the "executive privilege."

"Although I would not normally discuss my conversations with the president, I can tell you, emphatically, no."

In his testimony on Thursday, Maguire said that he withheld the complaint because he believed it may have been covered by executive privilege as well.

The whistleblower in the complaint said that he or she believed that Trump was "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country," as quoted by NBC News.

Neither the identity nor even the gender of the whistleblower has yet been revealed, and Maguire in his testimony said that he was not aware of the whistleblower's identity.

The intelligence committee chair, Democrat Adam Schiff, asked Maguire whether he was aware that presenting the whistleblower complaint to Trump, the very person accused of wrongdoing by the complaint, was a "conflict of interest." But Maguire again refused to answer, citing executive privilege.