tv Acting DNI Director Maguire Testifies on Whistleblower Complaint CSPAN September 29, 2019 11:05am-2:20pm EDT
total cash prizes, including a $5,000 grand prize. >> be passionate about what you are discussing him express your views no matter how large or small you think the audience will receive it to be. and know that in the greatest country in the history of the earth, your view does matter. announcer: for more information drop you get started, go to our website. and on thursday, the issue moved to a congressional hearing room as acting national intelligence director joseph mcguire testified about the handling of the whistleblower complaint against president trump and the conversation the president had with the president of ukraine. here's the entire three-hour 15 minute house intelligence committee hearing and you can read the whistleblower complaint at c-span.org.
without objection, the chair reserve the right to reset the hearing at any time. the presidential oath of office requires the president of the united states to do two things. faithfully execute his or her office, and protect and defend the constitution. that old, of course, cannot be honored if the president does not first defend the country. our national security is jeopardized, in our country is then thefended, ability to faithfully execute the office becomes smooth. the duty to defend the nation's foundational to the responsibilities. but what of the second responsibility to defend the constitution? what does that really mean?
the founders were not speaking of course of a piece of parchment, rather they were expressing the obligation of the president to defend the .nstitution to defend the rule of law, a principle on which the idea of america was born that we are a nation of laws, not men. if we do not defend the nation, there is no constitution. but if we do not defend the constitution, there is no nation. yesterday, we were presented with the most graphic evidence yet that the president of the united states has betrayed his oath of office. betrayed his own to defend our national security, and betrayed his own to defend our constitution. for yesterday, we were presented of a call between the president of united states and the president of ukraine in which the president, our president, sacrificed our national security and our
constitution for his personal political and if it. so, werstand how we did must first understand just how overwhelmingly dependent ukraine is on the united states, militarily, financially, diplomatically, and in every other way. states, on the united but on the person of the president. ukraine was invaded by its neighbor, by our common adversary, by vladimir putin's russia. it remains occupied by russian regular forces in a long simmering war. ukraine desperately needs our help and for years, we have given it. and on a bipartisan basis. ago,is, until two months when it was held up inexplicably by president trump. context after a brief congratulatory call from
president trump the president zelinski on april 21 and after the president's personal emissary, regionally on a, made it abundantly clear to ukrainian officials over several months of the president wanted dirt on his political opponent, it is in this context that the new president of ukraine would speak to donald trump over the phone on july 25. president zelinski, eager to establish himself at home, as a friend of the president, most powerful nation on her, had at least two objectives. get a meeting with the president, and get more military hell. and so what happened on that call? zelinski begins by ingratiating himself, and he tries to enlist the support of the president. he expresses his interest in meeting with the president and says his country wants to acquire more weapons to defend itself.
and what is the president's response? well, it reads like a classic organized crime shakedown. characterts rambling and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the president communicates. we've been very good to your country, very good. no other country has done as much as we have. but you know what? i don't see much reciprocity here. i hear what you want, i have a favor i want from you, though. and i'm going to say this only seven times, so you'd better listen good. i want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, lots of it. that, i'm going to put you in touch with people, not just any people, with attorney general the united states, my attorney general, ill bar. he's got the whole weight of the american law enforcement behind him. and i'm going to put you in touch with rudy, you're going to
love him, trust me. you know what i'm asking, and so i'm only going to say this a few more times. in a few more ways. by the way, don't call me again, i'll call you when you done what i asked. is, in character with the president was trying to communicate, what the president of ukraine. it would be funny if it wasn't such a graphic trail of the president's oath of office. but as it does represent a real betrayal, there is nothing the president says here that is in america's interest, after all. it is instead, the most consequential form of tragedy. it forces us to confront the remedies the founders provided of such a flagrant abuse of office: impeachment. this matter would not have come to the attention of our committee or the nation's attention without the courage of a single person. the whistleblower.
know, director mcguire more so than perhaps any other , theof government community is dependent on whistleblowers. outside parties are not allowed to scrutinize your work and to guide us. if that system is allowed to break down, as it did here, if whistleblowers come to understand that they will not be protected, one of two things they diverge -- they divulge classified information and place our national security at risk. this is what it lower system is so vital to us. and why you're handling of this .omplaint is also troubling
that you have marked unclassified, the substance of ,his call is a core issue although by no means the only issue raised by the was a blower complaint. which were shared with a committee for the first time only late yesterday. by law, the whistleblower complaint, which brought this gross misconduct to light should have been presented to this committee weeks ago, and by you, mr. director, under the clear letter of the law. and yet, it wasn't. director mcguire, i was very pleased when you were named acting director. sue gordon was not going to remain, i was grateful that a man of your superb military background was chosen. years,seal for 36 director of the national counterterrorism center since december 2018. your credentials are impressive. and in the limited interaction that we had an supernatant
director, you have struck me as a good and decent man. which makes your actions over the last month all the more bewildering. why you chose not to provide this complaint as required by law. why you chose to seek a second opinion on whether "shall" "eally means "shall. why you chose to go to a department led by a man who is implicated in the complaint and obligated to he's serve the interest of the president, not the office itself the interest of the person of donald trump. why you chose to allow the subject of the complaint to play a role in deciding whether congress would ever see the complaint. silent whend intelligence professionals under your care of protection was ridiculed by the president. was accused of potentially betraying his or her country.
when the very act of coming forward has shown more dedication to country, more of an understanding of the president's oath of office than the president himself. we look forward to your explanation. ranking member nuñez. >> i want to congratulate the ofocrats on the rollout their latest information warfare operation against the president. and their extraordinary ability to once again enlist the mainstream media in their campaign. this operation began with media reports from the prime instigators of the russia collusion hoax. whistleblowers claiming president trump made in a various promise to a foreign leader. the release transfer of that called was already debunked on that central assertion. but that didn't matter. the democrats simply move the goalposts and began claiming
that there doesn't need to be a quid pro quo for this conversation to serve as the basis for impeaching the president. further wheny went asked earlier if she would put the brakes on impeachment if the transcript turns out to be the nine. she responded "so, there you go. if the was a blower operation doesn't work out, the democrats in the meeting, we have candidates, many candidates who are impeachable offenses." that was her quote. so, there you go. if the was a blower operation doesn't work out, the democrats and their media assets can always drama something else. and what other information has come to light since the original false report of a promise being made? we learn the following. the complaint relied on hearsay evidence provided by the whistleblower. notinspector general did know the contents of the phone call at issue. the inspector general found the
whistleblower displayed arguable political bias against trump. the department of justice investigated the complaint and determined no action was warranted. the ukrainian president denies being pressured by president trump. again, the suppose its scandal ends up being nothing like what we were told, and once again, the democrats, their media mouthpieces, and a cabal of leakers are drumming up a fake story with no regard to the monumental damage they are causing to our public institutions and to trust in government. all theout technology false stories they propagated in the past. including countless allegations that trump campaign colluded with russia to hack the 2016 election. we are supposed to forget about all those stories. but believe this one. in short, what we have is the storyline, another dossier.
i will note here that in the democrat media that overcurrent and 26 election, everything they touch gets publicly politicized. with the russian hoax, it was our intelligence agencies which were turned into a political weapon to attack the president. now today, the whistleblower process is the casualty. until about a week ago, the need to protect that process was a primary bipartisan concern of this committee. but if the democrats were really concerned with defending that process, they would have pursued this matter with the quiet, sober, inquiry as we do for all whistleblowers. but that would have been useless for them. they don't want answers, they want a public spectacle. and so we've been treated to an unending parade of press releases, press conferences, and fake news stories. the searing itself is another example. was lower in greece should not be held in public at all. as our senate counterparts look
better rats and republicans on it -- both democrats and republicans obviously understand, the hearing with mr. maguires is behind closed doors. but that wouldn't make sense when your goal is to get the information, not to create a media frenzy. the current hysteria has something else in common with the russian hoax. the then, they accused trump campaign of colluding with russians when the democrats themselves were colluding with russians. and preparing the dossier. today, they accused the president of pressuring ukrainians to take actions that would help himself or hurt his political opponents. and yet, there are numerous examples of democrats doing the exact same thing. bragged that he extorted the ukrainians into firing a prosecutor who happened
to be investigating his own son. three democratic senators wrote a letter pressuring the general prosecutor to reopen the into former trump campaign officials. another democratic senator went to ukraine and pressured the ukrainian president not to investigate corruption allegations involving joe biden son. according to ukrainian officials, the democratic national committee contractor alexandra chilled -- tried to get ukrainian officials to provide dirt and tried to get the former ukrainian president the comment publicly on alleged ties to russia. sourcean official was a for the wife of the department of justice official as she
worked on the anti-trump operation conducted by fusion gps and funded by the democrats. and of course, democrats on this very committee negotiated with people who they thought were ukrainians in order to obtain new teachers of trump. pictures of trump. people can reasonably ask what the democrats are so determined to impeach this president when in just a year they will have a chance. in fact, one democratic congressmen, one of the first to call for trumps impeachment gave us the answer when he said "i'm concerned that if we don't impeach the president, he will get reelected." when elections is hard. and when you compete, you have no guarantee will win. but the american people do have a say in this. and they made their voices heard in the last presidential election. this latest gambit by the
democrats to overturn the people's mandate is unhinged and dangerous. they should end the entire dishonest protest spectacle and get back to work to solving problems. which is what every member of this committee was sent here to do. charade, theday's chances of that happening anytime soon are zero to none. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. director, will you rise for the old and raise your right hand? -- rise for the and raise your right hand? do you solve this where the testimony you get today shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? you may be seated. the record will reflect that the witness has been duly sworn. director mcguire, would you
agree that the was a blower complaint alleged a serious wrongdoing by the president of the united states? chairman, -- >> actually, i apologize, let me recognize you for your opening statement and you may take as much time as you need. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. ranking member nuñez, and members of the committee, good morning. i'd like to begin by thanking the chairman and the committee to agree to postponing the searing for one week to allow the executive branch to successfully complete its decisions how to comment the request. i for you this on several occasions and i would like to say this publicly: i respect you, i respect this committee, and i welcome and take seriously
the committee's oversight role. during my confirmation process director of the national counterterrorism center, i told the committee on intelligence that congressional oversight of the intelligence activities is in essential to successful operation of the intelligence community. having served as director of the national counterterrorism center for a month and at the acting director of national intelligence for the past six weeks, i continue to believe strongly that the role of congressional oversight. placed to the senate, i placed the you today that i will continue to work closely with congress while i'm serving either in this capacity as acting director of national counterterrorism or when i returned to the national counterterrorism center. informed you are fully of intelligence activities, to facilitate your ability to perform your oversight of the intelligence community. the american people expect us to keep them safe.
intelligence community cannot do that without this committee's support. therefore, i turned to the matter at hand. there are a few things of it like to say. i not partisan and i'm not political. i believe in a life of service and i'm honored to be a public servant. i serve under a presidents while i was in uniform. i have taken the old to the constitution 11 times. the first time when i was sworn into the united states navy in 1974, and 90 times during my subsequent promotions in the united states navy. most recently, former director dan coats administer the oath of office last december when i became the director of the national counterterrorism center. i agree with you. the old is sacred. a foundation our constitution. the of, to me, means not only that i swear truth to sacred
document, but more importantly, i view it as a covenant i have with my workforce, and every and i will faithfully discharge the duties of my office. i come from a long line of public servants who stepped forward even in the most difficult times to support and defend our country. when i took my uniform off in july of 2010, it was the first time in 70 years that an immediate member of my family was not wearing the cloth of the nation. officer, il warfare had the honor of commanding at every level in the seo community. it was, at times, very demanding. but the rewards of serving in america's special operations community more than make up for the demands. retirement, i was fortunate to work for a great private sector firm. i left the business world after three years to lead a nonprofit charity.
question why i believe a promising business career to run a charity. the answer is quite simple. there was another opportunity to serve. i let a foundation dedicated to honoring sacrifice other all in and severely wounded special operators. the foundation i lead enabled hundreds of children of our fallen to attend college. he was extremely meaningful and rewarding. 2018, i wasr of asked by former director dan coats to return to government service and lead the national counterterrorism center. this request was totally unexpected and was not a position i saw. then again, it was another opportunity to serve my country. particular, i knew that many of the young sailors and jr. officers that i had trained 20 years earlier were no senior combat veterans deploying and still sacrificing. i decided that they could continue to serve, returning to government service was the very least i could do.
now, here i am, sitting before you, as the acting director of national intelligence. with last month's departure of dan coats, two exceptional leaders and friends, i was asked to step into their big shoes and lead the intelligence community until the president nominates and the senate confirms the next director of national intelligence. i accepted this responsibility because i love this country. i have a deep, profound respect for the men and women of our intelligence community and the mission we execute every day on behalf of the american people. throughout my career, i have served and led through turbulent times. i've covered every action by the following criteria. it must be legal, it must be moral, and it must be ethical. no one could take an individual's integrity away. it can only be given away. if every action meets those criteria, you will always be a person of integrity.
in my nearly four decades of public service, my integrity has never been questioned until now. i'm here today to unequivocally will and say that i continue the same faithful and nonpartisan support in a matter that adheres to the constitution and the laws of this great country as long as i serve in his vision for whatever time that may be. clear that ie it have upheld my responsibility to follow the law every step of the way in the matter that is before us today. i want to also state my support for the whistleblower in the laws. whistleblowing has a long history dating back to the continental congress. this is not surprising because as a nation, we desire for good government. therefore, we must protect those who demonstrate courage to report alleged wrongdoing when on the battlefield or in the workplace. indeed, at the start of training
in the executive branch each year, we are reminded that public service is a public trust and as public servants, we have a solemn responsibility to do what is right, which includes reporting concerns of fraud and abuse and bringing such matters to the attention of congress under the intelligence community whistleblower protection act. i applaud all employees. i am committed to ensuring that all complaints are handled appropriately and to protecting the rights of whistleblowers. in this case, the complaint and raised a matter of the intelligence community inspector general. the inspector general is properly protecting the identity and will not permit the complaint and three subjects to any retaliation or enforce consequences for communicating the complaint to the inspector general. while protecting the integrity of the workforce is my number one priority, throughout my
career, i relied on the intelligence committee to do their jobs so i can do mine, and i can personally attest that their efforts to save lives. i would now like to turn to the complaint and provide a general background on how we got to where we are today. on august 26, the inspector general forwarded a complaint to me from an employee in the intelligence community. the inspector general stated that the complaint raised an urgent concern, a legally defined term under whistleblower protection act that has been discussed at length on september 16 and 17. before i get to the discussion about whether the complaint that the definition of urgent concern, i first want to talk about an even more fundamental issue. complaint, we the were immediately struck by the fact that many of the allegations of the complaint are based on a conversation between the president and another foreign leader.
such calls are to the subject to executive privilege. as a result, we consulted with the white house counsel's office and we were advised that much of the information was, in fact, subject to executive privilege. it privilege that i do not have the authority to waive area because of that, we were unable to immediately share the details of the complaint with this committee. but continues to consult with the white house counsel's in an effort to do so. yesterday, the president released the transcript of the call in question. therefore, we are now able to disclose the details of the complaint and the inspector general letter transmitting child. as a result, i provided the house and an intelligence committees with the full, unredacted complaint as well as the inspector general letter. we also discussed the issue of urgent concern. when transmitting a complaint to me, the inspector general took the legal position that because
the complaint alleges of matters of urgent concern, and because he felt the allegations to be credible, i was required under the intelligence community whistleblower protection act to forward the complaint to our oversight committees within seven days of receiving it. as we have previously explained in our letters, urgent concern is a statutorily defined term. to be of urgent concern, the allegations must, in addition to being classified, us for assert a flagrant, serious problem, abuse, or violation of law, and relate to the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity within the responsibility of the director of national intelligence. however, this complaint concerns conduct by someone outside the intelligence community on related to funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity under my supervision.
because the allegation on the face did not appear to form the theyured wrist framework, consulted the office of the inspected that we include the inspector general in those consultations. after hearing the complaint and the inspector general, the office of legal counsel determined the complaint allegations do not meet the statutory requirement definition concerning and found that i was not legally required to transmit the material to our oversight committee under the whistleblower protection act. a classified version of that memo was publicly released. as you know, for those of us in the executive branch, the office of legal counsel opinions are binding on all of us. in particular, the office of legal counsel opinion states that the president is not a member of the intelligence community, and the communication with a foreign leader involved no intelligence operation or
activity aimed at collecting or analyzing foreign intelligence. what this opinion did not require, transmission of the complaint to the committees. it did leave me with the discretion of the former complaint to the committee. however, given the executive that used by discussed, neither the inspector general nor i were able to show the details of the complaint at the time. the inspector general informed me that he still intended to notify the committees of the existence of the complaint, mr. chairman, i supported that decision. to ensure the committees were kept as informed as possible on this process moving forward. i want to raise a few other points about the situation we find ourselves in. stress that ito believe that the whistleblower and the inspector general have acted in good faith throughout. believevery reason to that they have done everything
by the book and follow the law. respecting the privileged nature of the information and patiently waiting while the executive privilege issues resolved. possible, we have worked in partnership with the inspector general on this matter. while we have difference of opinions on the issue of whether or not it is of urgent concern, i strongly believe in the role of the inspector general. i greatly value the independency brings and his dedication and his role in keeping the committees informed of matters within the intelligence community. second, although executive privilege prevented us from sharing the details until recently, this does not mean that the complaint was ignored. the inspector general, in consultation with my office, referred this matter to the department of justice for investigation. inally, i appreciate that the past, whistleblower complaints may have been provided to congress regardless
of whether they were deemed credible or satisfied the urgent concern requirement. however, i am not familiar with any prior instances where a whistleblower complaint touched on such complicated and sensitive issues including executive privilege. i believe that this matter is unprecedented. i also believe that i handled this matter in full compliance with the law at all times. and i am committed to doing so. i appreciate the committee providing me this opportunity to discuss this matter and the ongoing commitment to work with congress on your report and oversight role. think you very much. >> thank you, director. would you agree that the whistleblower complaint alleges serious wrongdoing by the president of the united states?
>> the whistleblower complaint involved the allegation of that, but it is not for me and the intelligence community to decide how the president should conduct foreign policy with leaders of other countries. >> i'm not asking you to comment on how the president conducts foreign policy, i'm asking you whether, as the statute requires, this complaint serious wrongdoing, in this case, by the president of allegations of serious wrongdoing by the president of the united states. is that not the subject of this complaint? >> that is the subject of the allegation. and two things. >> let me ask you about that. the inspector general found that serious allegation of misconduct by the president travel. did you also find that credible? >> i did not criticize the inspector general on whether or
not it is credible. on whether or not it is credible. my question was whether it not it meets the urgent concern and the seven-day timeframe. i have no question in his judgment that he presented this is a serious matter. >> and you would concur, would you not, director, that his complaint alleging serious wrongdoing by the president was credible? >> best not for me to judge, sir. >> it is for you to judge, apparently. you to it's not for judge, you shall provided to congress, but indeed, you did judge whether this complaint should be provided to congress. can we at least agree that the inspector general made a sound conclusion that this was a lower complaint was credible? >> that is correct. also madethat is
public, the decision and the recommendation by the inspector general that the allegations credible. >> can we also agree that it was urgent, that if the president of the united states was withholding military aid to an ally, even as you received a forlaint, and was doing so the various reason, that is to exercise leverage with the president of ukraine to dig up manufactured during on his opponent, can we agree that it was urgent while that aid was being withheld? >> there are two things. >> i'm talking it up a common understanding of what urgent means. the inspector general said this is urgent as everyone understand that term. urgent.gree that it was >> it was urgent and important here it but my job as a director of national intelligence was to imply -- apply the whistleblower protection act and adhere to the definition of urgent concern which is a legal term.
>> and to adhere to the meaning of the term "shall." case, you sought a second opinion on whether it really means shall by going to the white house. >> no, sir. there were two things, as i said in a statement. one, it appeared that it also had matters of executive privilege. i am not authorized as the director of national intelligence to waive executive privilege. >> and at any time over the last month that you help this complaint, the white house assert executive privilege? chairman, -- >> i think that's a yes or no question. >> they were working through the executive privilege procedures, deciding whether or not to exert executive privilege. so, they never exerted executive privilege, is that the answer?
>> if they did, we would not have released the letters yesterday, only the information forthcoming. the first place you went was to the white house, and i to understand that from your opening statement? the first place you went for a second opinion was to the white house. >> i did not go for a second opinion. the question was, is the information contained here subject to executive privilege? not whether or not was urgent concern. >> so the first place you went for advice as to whether you asuld provide the complaint the statute requires to congress with the white house. >> i am not authorized as the director of national intelligence to provide executive privilege information. i think it is prudent as a member of the executive branch to check to ensure that in fact, it does not. >> i'm just asking you about the sequencing. did you first go to the white
house to determine whether you should provide a complaint to congress? >> no, sir. that was not the question. the question was whether or not it has executive privilege, not whether or not i should send it on to congress. >> is the first party you went to outside your office to seek advice and counsel direction the white house? >> i have consulted with the white house counsel eventually, we also consulted with the department of justice office of legal counsel. >> and my question, did you go to the white house first? >> i went to the office of legal counsel for advice. i'm asking you went to first. did you go to department of justice first, or the white house? >> i went to the office -- excuse me. my team, my office went to the office of legal counsel first to receive whether or not the matter in the letter in the complaint might meet the executive privilege. they viewed it and said we
determined that it appears to be executive privilege and until executive privilege is determined and declared, i cannot have the authority to be able to send that forward to the committee. i worked with the office of legal counsel for the past several weeks to get resolution on this. it's a very deliberate process. >> i'm still trying to understand the chronology. you first went to the other counsel, then you went to white house counsel? >> be that please. the officet went to of legal counsel, and then you went to the white house counsel? >> no, no, no sir. we went to the white house first. >> that's all i wanted to know. you went to the white house first. so, you went to the subject of for advice first about whether you should provide the complaint to congress.
>> there were issues within this. couple things. one, it did appear that it has executive privilege. if it does have executive privilege, it is the white house that determined that. i do not determine that as the director of national intelligence. >> but in this case, the white house, the president is the subject of the complaint. if the subject of wrongdoing. went toll wear when you the white house for advice about whether evidence of wrongdoing by the white house should be provided to the congress, were you aware that the white house counsel has taken the unprecedented position that the privilege applies to communications involving the was president,he involving the president when he wasn't president, and involving people who never served in the administration, people who never served even when they are not even talking to the president? ryu aware that that is the unprecedented position of the white house? the white house you went two for a device about whether you should turn over a complaint involving the white house? >> esther chairman, as i said in
my opening statement, i believe that everybody here in this matter is totally unprecedented and that is why when former directors of national intelligence forward to you, whether or not it meant urgent concern, this was different. to me, it just seemed prudent to be able to check and inshore as a member of the executive branch before i sent it forward. >> i just have a couple of questions to turn over to the ranking member and he may consume as much time as i did the second place you went to was the justice department. departmentt to that headed by a man, bill barr, who was also implicated in the complaint. and you knew that when you went to the department of justice for an opinion, correct? that bill barr was mentioned in the complaint? chairman, i went to the office of legal counsel in consultation with the icig.
he was a part of that to decide whether or not this met the criteria. >> but he vehemently disagreed with the opinion on the justice department, did he not? it a still considered matter of urgent concern. know, opinions from the department of justice office of legal counsel are binding on all of us in the executive branch. >> let me ask you this. do you think it's appropriate department runa by someone who is the subject of the complaint? advice, who was a subject of the complaint, or implicated, advice as to whether you should provide a complaint to congress? did that conflict of interest concern you? this. chairman, when i saw and complaint, immediately i knew that this was a serious matter.
it came to me and i just thought it would be prudent to be sure. >> i'm just asking if the conflict of interest concern you. i have to work with what i've got and that of the office of legal counsel within the executive branch. >> but you also had a statute that says xiao, and even then you thought you had the discretion to provide it, but did not. because it did not meet the matter of urgent concern that took away the seven-day timeline. i have endeavored to work with the office of legal counsel in order to get the material to you which we have provided to you yesterday. itave to tell you, chairman, does not, perhaps at the timeline that i would have desired, or you, but the office of legal counsel has to make sure that they make prudent decisions and yesterday, when the president released the transcripts of his call with the president of ukraine, executive
privilege no longer applied, and that is when i was free to be able to send out the complaint to the committee. >> director, you don't believe the whistleblower is a political hack, do you? >> i don't know who the whistleblower is. i've done my best to be sure that i protect his anonymity. >> that doesn't sound like much of a defense of the whistleblower. you don't believe the whistleblower is a political hack, do you? >> i believe the whistleblower is operating in good faith. >> they couldn't be in good faith if they were acting as a political hack, could they? mr. chairman, my job is to support and lead the entire intelligence community. that individual works for me. therefore, it is my job to make sure that i support and protect that person. reason to't have any accuse them of disloyalty to our country or suggest they are beholden to some other country? >> sir, absolutely not. i believe that the whistleblower followed statute every step of
the way. however, the statute was one in this situation involving the president of the united states who is not in the intelligence community or matters under my supervision did not meet the criteria of urgent concern. >> i'm just asking about the was a blower right now. >> i think the whistleblower did the right thing. i think he followed the law every step of the way. >> when the president called the whistleblower a political hack and suggested that he or she might be disloyal to the country, why did you mean silent? >> i did not remain silent. i issued a statement to my workforce telling my committee my commitment to whistleblower that iion and ensuring would provide protection to anybody within the intelligence community who comes forward, but the witness that was blowing out, i didn't think it was appropriate for me to be making a press statement to counter each other every step of the way. >> i think it was not only appropriate, but there's nothing that would have given more
confidence to the workforce than hearing you publicly say no one should be calling this professional who did the right traitor ork or a anything else. i think that would have meant a great deal to the workforce. >> welcome, mr. director. it's a pleasure to have you here. you are going to be part of a charade of legal wargames, they are trying to get you to say something that can be repeated by the media that is here that wants to report this story. to get one thing straight, because one of the fourth they are going to use from you is saying that this was a credible complaint. , as will be used and spun you are saying that it was true. i want to give you an opportunity, you have not
investigated the veracity of or the truthfulness of his complaint. >> about correct, ranking member. a determination on credible was made by the inspector general. he made the determination that it is credible and he also made the determination of urgent concern. i did not question his judgment there. the question i had was does in fact, this allegation of wrongdoing meet the criteria, the statutory criteria, of urgent concern, and the other issue as a said, did it, in fact, the allegations within this complaint, interval executive privilege? >> thank you for clarifying that. you mentioned it a little bit in your testimony. have you ever, or are you aware who havermer dnis testified about was a blower complaints in the public? not to my knowledge, ranking
member, i do not know. aware of any cases like this that were put into the spotlight? would this be the way to handle it out in the public like this? any butnot aware of once again, i believe that the situation we have and why we are here this morning is is this case is unique and unprecedented. so, why are cases normally not handled out in the public? well, because the cases that came before either this committee or the senate committee, whether or not they met the criteria of urgent concern, because they involved members of the intelligence committee who were, in fact, in organizations underneath the dni authority and responsibility. one just didn't go that way because it involved an individual who is not a member of the intelligence community or an organization underneath the authority of the dni, so this
one is different from all others in the past that i'm aware of. >> i want to get into how this all got out in the public. this has basically been an orchestrated effort over two weeks. we were first told about it about a week and a half ago. we were told very specifically that the whistleblower did not want to get any of this information out, they did not want it leaked out. there are only a few potential groups of people that would have known about this complaint. you and your people within your office. the people within the inspector general's office, and the whistleblower and whoever that whistleblower gave this information to.
what i'm trying to ascertain is, how would it one on all the mainstream media outlets? even though they got a lot of it wrong, they had the basics of it, that it involved the president of the united states talking to a foreign leader. so, did you or anybody in your office leak this to the washington post or nbc news? in theing member, i'm intelligence community, we know how to keep a secret. as far as how the press, i really do not know. i just know that it's all over the place, it's been repeated by different media for the past several weeks. where they get their information from, i don't know. not from the intelligence community, from me, or from my office. >> thank you, director. so, this is not the first time this has happened to this president. that happen on a call between the mexican president, the australian prime minister, so it
has happened twice before. pieces of transcript leaked out. of course, this time, it was leaked out again. the president, thankfully he was able to put this out because of the situation, as you said, is unprecedented. normal for the president of the united states to have their conversations leaked out? this is the third time. >> i would have to leave that to the white house to respond to that, ranking member. to me, the president of united states conversation with any other head of state i would consider privileged conversation. >> they are captured and
disseminated. there captured and disseminated to the intelligence agencies. >> i have to be careful in this open hearing. , theytelligence community collect things to protect -- -- the president of the united states not talk to foreign leaders or publish all the transcripts? that is what is happening here. somebody is leaking this and it is likely coming from the agency you ever see. --sir >> we have the transcript of the mexican president, the australian prime minister. >> the allegation in the whistleblower complaint was that there were 12 people who listened in on the conversation.
member of the national security council and others and others were briefed from state department as well because they have an area of responsibility that they would be informed on the interaction so there were a would notpeople, this be something -- >> the white house probably did not leak this out. >> there are individuals within the white house that may or may not. it would not be from an intelligence intercept, i will say that. >> the dissemination of these calls is supposed to be sacred, right? it is important for state --artment -- i am not saying when a president talks to a foreign leader, is confidential, there could be some facts of that conversation that you do want to get to the appropriate agency, not just the ic.
this is the third time. i am not aware of this ever happening before. a contents -- contents of a call like this getting out. >> i do not have the numbers. it is unprecedented. i would also say that i think the decision by the president to release the transcripts of his conversation is probably unprecedented as well. >> i appreciate you being here. be careful what you say because they will use these words against you. >> either way, i am honored to be here. >> i appreciate your service to this country for a long time and i am sure we will be talking and soon. hopefully, not in the public. hopefully behind closed doors. thank you for being here.
thank you for your service and the service of your family to this country. what i find bewildering about this whole conversation is that --are not sitting here today and the american public is not aware of the allegations of the president asking for a favor, we are not of the where of the id,ky decision to withhold ag we are not aware of a possible retaliation against the u.s. ambassador -- none of this happens but for the decision of your inspector general michael atkinson, a man who was appointed by president trump and senateed by a republican to come to this committee seven the complaint was required by law to be transmitted to us. it was his decision, personal
decision, not the kaleidoscope of conspiracy theories the ranking member thinks is happening, but it was the decision of michael atkinson, an appointee of this president, to come to this committee following not advice from you or any law but following his own conscience without his decision to do this, none of this is happening. correct? and the way michael he has done this. he has acted in good faith. he has followed the law every step of the way. or didstion is, did it not meet the legal definition -- >> i ask a very different question. it is a simple question. without his decision, none of this is happening. >> we have to back up to the whistleblower as well. >> the whistleblower also deserves the same accolades.
director, were you ever advised by the white house not to provide this complaint to congress for any reason? >> no. >> as i understand it, the opinion was that you are not obligated to convey -- despite the clear wording of the law -- to convey the complaint to congress? the decision was taken to defy a .ubpoena of this congress who made the decision to defy the subpoena? >> urgent concern -- >> i am asking a very simple question. who made the decision to defy the congressional subpoena? somebody said we will not abide by the subpoena. >> nobody did. once we no longer had urgent concern with the seven day timeline, endeavor to work to get the information to the committee. i needed to work through the
executive privilege hurdles with the office of legal counsel at the white house. although this was the most important issue to me, the white house has gotten quite a few other issues. i would like to have had -- perhaps this moved a little faster than it did but this is a very deliberate process. it came to a head yesterday. when i received the information on august 26, we had seven days based on the whistleblower protection act. it may have taken longer than we have -- >> i am focused on the subpoena. the subpoena is on your desk. it is pretty clear in what it asks for. you are saying that a decision was never taken not to comply with the subpoena and somehow it was not complied with. i am looking for the decision-making process.
>> i dealt with the chairman of this committee and asked to have one more week to be able to do what i needed to do to get this information released. the commit out west -- the committee was supportive. it was not something that was ready to go but i was fully committed to get the information. i was able to provide that yesterday. >> thank you, director. did you or your office ever speak to the president of the united states about this complaint? >> congressman, i'm the president's intelligence officer. i speak with him several times throughout the week. >> let me repeat my question. did you ever speak to the president about this complaint? >> my conversations with the president, because i'm the director of national intelligence, are privileged, and it would be inappropriate for me, because it would destroy my relationship with the president in intelligence matters, to divulge any of my conversations with the president of the united states.
>> but just so we can be clear, for the record, you are not denying that you spoke to the president about this complaint. >> what i'm saying, congressman, is that i will not divulge privileged conversations that i have as the director of national intelligence with the president. >> as the white house instructed you to assert that privilege? >> no, sir. that's just a member of the executive committee -- i mean, executive branch. as a member of the national security council and also the homeland committee. i just have to maintain the discretion and protect the conversation with the president of the united states. >> thank you, director. i appreciate that answer. apparently the clock is broken, but i'll yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you for being here. you and i are at a competitive disadvantage because neither of us are lawyers. that might be a badge of honor for some of us. you have lawyers on your staff, sir. >> i do, congressman. >> and your lawyers have looked at this urgent concern
definition thoroughly and have given you advice. >> yes, congressman. >> if the black letter law was so clear in black letter, how is it that we've got different attorneys giving you and i different opinions? that's a rhetorical question, with respect to this issue. just to clarify, mike atkinson was in front of us last week, did a very good job of telling us what he did, what he didn't do. we now know for sure what it is that he was able to do. as part of his investigation, he did not request records of the call from the president. the reason he did is he cited the difficulty of working through all of that would have probably meant he couldn't comply with the 14-day time frame. so even he did not try to overrun the white house's executive privilege over the conversation that the president had with the president. he also said in his letter, i also determined -- this is quoting michael -- i also determined that there were
reasonable grounds to believe that information relating to the urgent concern appeared credible. now, that's a different statement than a flat out it's credible. just again, a rhetorical statement. is there anything, a statute from your lawyers advising you, that says that the determination of urgent concern lies solely with the icig? >> no, sir, i was never advised by my legal counsel to that effect. >> all right. to your knowledge, has the justice department ever weighed in to say that the fact that dni can't make a separate decision with respect to the seven-day process that the matter is not of urgent concern, as your team decided? >> the matter of urgent concern is a legally defining term. it's pretty much either yes or no. >> that's not the case, admiral. ig said it was, and you're saying it's not under that legal definition because it involved
the president. last time i checked, you're pretty familiar with chains of command, i know. he's not -- you're not -- he's not in your chain of command. so for very definite reasons that appear to be credible, it doesn't meet the definition with concern to the whistle-blower protections of the ig, and your team made that call. the inspector general made a different call. >> no, sir. it was the department of justice office of legal counsel that made the determination that it was not urgent concern. all we wanted to do was just check and see. and to me, it just seemed prudent with the matter at hand right now to be able to just make sure that, in fact, it did. and when it didn't, i want to say once again, i endeavored to get that information to this committee. >> okay, sir. just to clarify the role that the inspector general had with respect to the department of
justice, i heard you say that he was involved in the conversations, allowed to make his case, but also said you gave him the letter, gave the justice department the letter. what was his exact involvement in making his case to justice department to his decision? was he there physically or his lawyers there? >> to the best of my knowledge, the icig's transmittal letter as well as the complaint from the whistle-blower were forwarded to the office of legal counsel for their determination. i believe that is what they based their opinion on. >> okay. so you don't think he -- >> if i'm incorrect, i'll come back to the committee and correct that, sir. >> okay. appreciate that. you're in a tough spot. appreciate your long, storied history. i apologize if your integrity was insulted. that happens in this arena a lot, sometimes justified and most of the time not. your integrity was not justified. the fact we have differences of opinion, when we start losing those differences of opinion, we
start to attack each other, call each other names and those kinds of things. my experience is when you've got a legal matter, i've got lawyers i pay, you've got lawyers you pay. typically stick with the lawyers i'm paying. you had good legal advice on this issue in a really tough spot, wanting to make sure this whistle-blower was protected but at the same time if, in fact, there was something awry here, that it would get the full airing it's clearly getting. so thank you for your service, and i yield back. >> thank you, congressman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director maguire, thanks so much for being here. i want to turn to what i fear may be one of the most damaging, long-term effects of this whistle-blower episode, and that is the chilling effect that it will have on others in government who may witness misconduct but now may be afraid to come forward to report it. sir, i'm worried that government employees and contractors may see how important this situation
has played out and decide it's not worth putting themselves on the line. the fact that a whistle-blower followed all of the proper procedures to report misconduct and then the department of justice and the white house seems to have weighed in to keep the complaint hidden is problematic, sir. i want to know whether or not you see how problematic this will be in having a chilling effect on members of the ic that you are sworn to represent and ostensibly protect. >> congresswoman, i think that's a fair assessment. i don't disagree with what you've said. i have endeavored to transmit to the intelligence committee my support to whistleblowers, and i'm quite sure that for at least
two hours this morning, there are not many people in the intelligence committee who are doing anything that's productive besides watching this. >> right, and so my concern i think is a valid one, that in fact, what has happened with this whistleblower episode will have a chilling effect. i also want to ask you, have you given direction to this whistleblower that he can, in fact,he or she, can, in come before congress? director, when the president called the whistleblower a political hack and suggested that he or she was disloyal to the country, you remained silent. i am not sure why, but i also think that adds to the chilling effect. the statute seems pretty clear that you shout -- everybody has a role to play. the process seems pretty clear. and part of it also includes you directing the whistleblower of his or her protected rights.
can you confirm that you direct did that whistleblower that he or she can come before congress? >> well, congresswoman, there are several questions there. i do not know the identity of the whistleblower. now that the complaint has come forward, we are working with his counsel in order to provide them with security clearance. >> sir, i think my question is pretty simple. can you assure this committee and the american public that the whistleblower is authorized to speak to the committee with the full protections of the whistleblower act? can you confirm that? that is a yes or no question. now, i am working through that with the chair, and to the best of my ability, i believe the chair was asking to have the whistleblower come forward. can you assure the american
public at the end result will be that the whistleblower will be able to come before this committee and congress and have the full protections -- after all, what is the whistleblower statute for if not to protect those full protections against retaliation, against litigation? >> i am doing everything to endeavor to support. >> will the gentlewoman yield? >> yes. >> director, do i have your assurance that once you work out the security clearances for the whistleblower's counsel that that whistleblower will be able to relate the full facts within concerneddge that wrongdoing by the president or anyone else, that he or she will not be inhibited and what they can tell our committee, that there will not be some minder from the white house or else we're sitting next to them telling them what they can answer or not answer? do i have your assurance that the whistleblower will be able to testify fully and freely and
enjoy the protections of the law? >> yes, congressman. >> thank you. i yield back to the gentlewoman. >> so mr. director, i also want to understand what you're going to do to try to ensure the trust of the employees and contractors that you represent to assure the american people that the whistle-blower statute is, in fact, being properly adhered to and that no further efforts would be to obstruct an opportunity for a whistle-blower who has watched misconduct to actually get justice. >> congresswoman, supporting and leading the men and women of the intelligence community is my highest priority. i don't consider that i don't they work for me. consider that they work for me. as the director of national intelligence, i believe that i -- >> well, sir, i just want to say and go on record being very clear that this will have a chilling effect, and that is exactly not what the statute was intended for. it was intended for transparency. it was intended also to give the whistle-blower certain protections. and i think the american people
deserve that. thank you. >> thank you, congresswoman. >> mr. turner. >> director, thank you for being here. >> morning, congressman. >> thank you for your service and the clarity at which you have described the deliberations that you went through in applying the laws with respect to this complaint. it is incredibly admirable in the manner in which you approached this. now, i read the complaint, and i've read the transcript of the conversation with the president and the president of the ukraine. concerning that conversation, i want to say to the president, this is not ok. that conversation is not ok. i think it is disappointing to the american public when they read the transcript. i can say what else it is not. it is not >> in the complaint. -- it is not what is in the complaint. we now have the complaint and the transcript, and the people can read that the allegations in
the complaint are not the allegations of the subject matter of this conversation. what else it's not, it's not the conversation that was in the chairman's opening statement. while the chairman was speaking, i actually had someone text me, is he just making this up? and yes, he was. because sometimes fiction is better than the actual words or the text. luckily the american public are smart, and they have the transcript. they've read the conversation. they know when someone is just making it up. now, we've seen this movie before. we have been all year on litigating impeachment, long before the july 25 conversation happened between the president and the president of ukraine. s of theheard the click cameras in this intelligence committees room where we have not been focusing on the issues of the national security threat but instead of the calls for impeachment, which is really an assault on the electorate, not just this president. the complaint we now have is based on hearsay. the person who wrote it says, i talked to people and they told me these things.
the american public has the transcript and the complaint, so they have the ability to compare them. what is clear about the complaint is that it is based on political issues. he or she is alleging that the actions of the president were political in nature. that is my concern about how this is applied to the whistleblower statute. the whistleblower statute is intended to provide those in the intelligence community an opportunity to come to congress when they are concerned about abuses of powers and laws, but it's about the intelligence community. it is about abusive surveillance, about the abuse of spy that can-isms that we have. mechanisms that we have. this is about actually the product of surveillance, someone that had access to surveillance that related the president's conversations and has brought it forward to us. i'd like for you to turn for a moment and tell us your thoughts of the whistle-blower process and the concerns as to why it has to be there so that the
intelligence community can be held accountable and we can have oversight. because it certainly wasn't there for oversight of the president. it was there for oversight for the intelligence community. so if you could describe your thoughts on that. then i was very interested in your discussion on the issue of executive privilege. there's been much made of the fact the law says on the whistle-blower statute that you shall. clearly you have a conflict of laws when you have both the executive privilege issue and the issue of the word shall. so first, could you tell us the importance of the whistle-blower statute with respect to accountability of the intelligence community and our role of oversight there? then your process, your effects of being stuck in the middle where you have these conflicts of laws, mr. director. >> congressman, the intelligence community whistle-blower protection act is to apply to
the intelligence community. it pertains to financial, administrative, or operational activities within the intelligence community under the oversight and responsibility of the director of national intelligence. it does not allow a member of the intelligence community to report any wrongdoing that comes from anywhere in the federal government. so with that, i do believe that that is about the intelligence whistle-blower protection act was the best vehicle the whistle-blower had to use. it came to me, and discussion with our icig, who is a colleague, and the determination was made, you know, by the -- well, that he viewed that it was, in fact, credible and that it was a matter of urgent concern. and i just thought it would be
prudent to have another opinion. i have worked with lawyers my whole career. whether it was the rule of armed conflict, admiralty claims or rules of engagement or just the uniform code of military justice. and i have found that different lawyers have different opinions on the same subject. we have nine justices of the supreme court. more often than not, the opinions are 5-4. that doesn't mean that five are right and four are wrong. they're differences of opinion. but when this matter came to me, i have a lot of life experience. i realized the importance of the matter that is before us this morning. and i thought it would be prudent for me to ensure that, in fact, it met that statute before i sent it forward in compliance with the whistle-blower protection act. and i hope that responds to your question, sir. >> i yield back. >> as an aside, i want to
mention that my colleague is right on both counts. it's not okay, but also, my summary of the president's call was meant to be at least part in parody. the fact that's not clear is a separate problem in and of itself. of course, the president never said if you don't understand me, i'm going to say it seven more times. my point is that's the message that the ukraine president was receiving in not so many words. mr. carson. >> thank you, chairman, schiff. thank you, director maguire, for your service. director maguire, this appears to be the first intelligence community whistle-blower complaint that has ever, ever been withheld from congress. is that right, sir? >> congressman carson, i believe that it might be. once again, i said in my statement, it is, in fact, as far as i'm concerned,
unprecedented. >> it is unprecedented, sir. do you know why it's unprecedented? i think it's because the law that congress at this very committee drafted really couldn't be clearer. it states that upon receiving such an urgent complaint from the inspector general, you, the director of national intelligence, quote, shall, end quote, forward it to the intel committees within seven days. no ifs, ands, or buts. even when the ig has found complaints, not to be an urgent concern or even credible, your office has consistently and uniformly still transmitted those complaints to the intelligence committee. is that true, sir? >> congressman carson, in the past, even if they were not a matter of urgent concern or whether they were not credible, they were forwarded. in each and every instance prior to this, it involved members of the intelligence community who
were serving in organizations underneath the control of the dni. this one is different because it did not meet those two criteria. >> director, does executive privilege or laws that regulate the intelligence community pre-empt or negate the laws that safeguard the security of america's democratic elections and her democracy itself, sir? >> no, chairman, carson, it does not. >> not withstanding, director, this ambiguous mandate and the consistent practice of your office that you withheld this urgent complaint from congress at the direction of the white house and the justice department, you follow their orders instead of the law. and if the inspector general had not brought this complaint to our attention, you and the trump administration might have gotten away with this unprecedented action. sir, you released a statement
yesterday affirming your oath to the constitution and your dedication to the rule of law. but i'm having trouble understanding how that statement can be true in light of the facts here. can you explain that to us, sir? >> congressman carson, a couple things. the white house did not, did not direct me to withhold the information. neither did the office of legal counsel. that opinion is unclassified and has been disseminated. the question came down to urgent concern, which is a legal definition. it doesn't mean, is it important, is it timely? urgent concern met the certain criteria that we've discussed several times here. so it did not. all that did, sir, was just take away the seven days. now, as i said before, just because it was not forwarded to this committee does not mean that it went unanswered. the icig and the justice department referred it to the federal bureau of investigation
for investigation. so that was working while i was endeavoring to get the executive privilege concerns addressed so that it can then be forwarded. it was not stone walling. i didn't receive direction from anybody. i was just trying to work through the process and the law the way it is written. i have to comply with the way the law is, not the way some people would like it to be. and if i could do otherwise, it would have been much more convenient for me, congressman. >> and lastly, director, as you sit here today, sir, do you commit to providing every single whistle-blower complaint intended for congress to the intelligence committee as required by the statute, sir? >> if it's required by the statute, congressman carson, yes, i will. >> that's good to know, sir. i certainly hope so because i think the unprecedented decision to withhold this whistle-blower complaint from congress, i think it raises concerns, very serious concerns, for us and for me, and
i think that we need to get to the bottom of this. i yield the balance of my time, chairman. thank you. >> thank you, congressman carson. >> thank you. >> how much time does the gentleman have remaining? >> director, you were not directed to withhold the complaint. is that your testimony? >> yes, that is absolutely true. >> so you exercised your discretion to withhold the complaint from the committee. >> i did not, sir. what i did was i delayed it because it did not meet the statutory definition of urgent concern, and i was working through -- >> and director, you're aware -- we spent a lot of time focusing on the definition of urgent concern. you're aware that the practice of your office has been that regardless of whether the complaint meets the definition of urgent concern, regardless of whether inspector general finds it credible or incredible, the complaint is always given to our committee.
you're aware that's the unbroken practice since the establishment of your office and the inspector general? are you aware of that? >> chairman, every previous whistle-blower complaint that was forwarded to the intelligence committee involved a member of the intelligence community and an organization under which the director of national intelligence had authority and responsibility. >> but you're aware that the past practice has been -- we're talking about urgent concern here -- that whether you or the inspector general or anybody else believes it meets the statutory definition, the past practice has always been to give it to this committee. you're aware of that, right? >> i'm aware this is unprecedented, and this has never happened. with that, sir, i agree. this has never happened before, but again, this is a unique situation. >> but you, director, made the decision. you made the decision to withhold it from the committee for a month when the white house had made no claim of executive privilege, when the department
of justice said you don't have to give it to them but you can. you made the decision not to. >> not true, sir. what the office of legal counsel said, that it does not meet the legal definition of urgent concern. >> so it said you're not required. it didn't say you cannot provide it. it said you're not required. that is, if you don't want to, we're not going to force you. you're not required, but it didn't say you can't. am i right? >> what it allowed me -- and i said that in my opening statement, but even so, it was referred to the fbi for investigation, and i was endeavoring to get the information to you, mr. chairman, but i could not forward it as a member of the executive branch without executive privileges being addressed. and i feel that the white house counsel was doing the best that they could in order to get that, and it took longer than i would have liked. that's for sure. but that came to a conclusion yesterday with the release of the transcripts, and because the transcripts were released, then no longer was there a situation
of executive privilege and i was then free to send both the inspector general's cover letter and the complaint to you. but at no time was there any intent on my part to withhold the information from you as the chair, this committee, or the senate intelligence committee. >> director, i wish i had the confidence of knowing that but for this hearing, but for the deadline we were forced to set with this hearing, that we would have been provided that complaint. but i don't know that we would have ever seen that complaint. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. maguire, for being here today. i think it's a shame we started off this hearing with fictional remarks, the implication of a conversation that took place between a president and a foreign leader, putting words into it that did not exist. they're not in the transcript. i will contend that those were intentionally not clear, and the chairman described it as parody,
and i don't believe this is the time or the place for parody when we are trying to seek facts. nor do those that were involved with the conversation agree with the parity that the chairman gave us. and unfortunately today, many innocent americans are going to turn on their tv, and the media's only going to show that section of what the chairman had to say. but i'm also glad to know that many americans have seen this movie too many times, and they're tired of it. but let me get to some questions, sir, if i can. let's go to the word credible. credible does not mean proven true or factual. would that be correct in this situation? >> i find no fault in your logic, congressman. >> okay. so the interpretation that was credible, but also was that decision made by the ig before seeing the transcript of the conversation? >> i believe that the icig conducted to the best of his ability the investigation, and he found, to his ability, that based on the evidence and
discussing it with the whistle-blower that he thought that, in fact, it was credible. >> but the ig didn't necessarily have the transcript of the conversation. >> he did not, no. >> okay. that's my question. so to another point, you know, one of the issues that arose out of the russia investigation last congress was a question over the latitude provided to the u.s. president to conduct foreign affairs. in 2017, i asked then cia director brennan how he viewed statements made by president obama to russian president medvedev regarding more flexibility to negotiate after his 2012 election. and president medvedev replied he would transmit the information to vladimir and that medvedev stood with president obama. that was in an open hearing. director brennan wouldn't entertain my question and insisted on not answering, due to the fact that the conversation was between the heads of government. that's what he said. he further claimed he was avoiding getting involved in political partisan issues, which brings me to a similar question
related to this whistle-blower complaint. one, you said this executive privilege is unwaverable. i think that's consistent with cia director brennan. >> congressman, only the white house and the president can waive executive privilege. the president exerts executive privilege, and only the white house and president can waive that. >> director brennan gave me the impression then that was the rule, that's the law. so i'm going to have to go with that. but do you believe the president is entitled to withhold his or her communications from congress if the conversation is used in a whistle-blower case? >> i think that the president, when he conducts diplomacy and deals with foreign heads of state, he has every right to be able to have that information be held within the white house and the executive branch. yesterday, i think the transmission of the call is unprecedented, and it's also -- i think that other future
leaders, when they interact with our head of state, might be more cautious in what they say and reduce the interaction that they have with the president because of that release. >> so we may need to change our process here because i guess if a decision regarding executive privilege -- maybe it should be made prior to submitting the communication to congress. >> well, either that -- i believe that this committee wrote the law. based on what we are doing today perhaps it needs to be reluctant. i will leave that to the legislative branch. >> if we also need a change of process, that 14 days may be tough to adhere to. i think maybe this is a special circumstance, unprecedented. maybe there needs to be some leeway in the time frame instead of the narrow 14 days. i don't know if you know, did the i.g. ever say that they felt rushed in making a decision because of the 14 day process?
director maguire: no, congressman. he's a very experienced inspector general. he's used to dealing with the 14 day process, and when you work under a timeline like that, he worked with his staff, he was following the statute is he believed it was written. i would think any prudent lawyer would like to have more time to be able to collect the facts and do other things but michael atkinson was under the 14 day timeline, and he did the best of his ability to comply with that. >> did you feel rushed in any way, sir? director maguire: i did not. thank you, congressman. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you director maguire for your long service to our country. at any point during this process, did you personally threaten to resign if the complaint was not provided to
the committee? director maguire: no, congresswoman, i did not. i know that story has appears quite a bit. >> all right, thank you. when you read the complaint, were you shocked at all by what you read? director maguire: congresswoman, excuse me. i have a lot of life experience. i joined the navy. >> i understand your record. director maguire: i realized full and well, the importance of the allegations. and i would also have to tell you congressman, congresswoman, when i saw that i anticipated having to sit in front of some committee some time to discuss it. >> the complaint refers to what happened after the july 25th conversation between the ukraine president and the president of the united states. the white house lawyers ordered other staff to move the transcript from its typical repository to a more secure location in order to lock down, and that was the term used in the complaint, all records of
the phone call. did you, did that reaction to the transcript seem to you like a recognition within the white house that the call was completely improper? director maguire: congresswoman,i have no firsthand knowledge of that. all i have is the knowledge that the whistleblower alleges in his allegation, the complaint. i do not know whether in fact that is true or not. my only situational awareness of that is from the whistleblowers letter. >> so, knowing that the whistleblower up here to be -- appeared to be credible based evaluation by the inspector general and knowing that effort was undertaken by the white house to cover it up, why would you then as your first action outside of the intelligence communities go directly to the white house to the very entity that was being scrutinized and complained about in the complaint, why would you go there to ask their advice as
to what you should do? director maguire: congresswoman, the allegation that is made by the whistleblower is secondhand information. not known to him or her firsthand. >> except, mr. maguire, it was determined to be credible. there was an investigation done by the inspecter general. let me go on to another issue. president trump over the weekend tweeted "it appears that an american spy in one of our intelligence agencies may have been spying on our own president." do you believe the whistleblower was spying on one of our intelligence agencies or spying on the president? director maguire: as i said several times so far this morning, i believe that the whistleblower complied with the law and did everything that he or she thought was responsible under the intelligence community whistleblower protection act. >> but you did not protect the whistleblower, did you? director maguire: congresswoman.
>> yes or no. director maguire: i did. i thought that was enough stuff appearing in the price that was erroneous, that was absolutely incorrect, and i didn't think i needed to respond to every simple statement that was out there that was incorrect. what i did, my loyalty is to my workforce. >> i appreciate that, thank you. the president on monday said also, " who is the so-called whistleblower? who knows the correct facts? side?"ur country's do you believe the whistleblowers on our country's side? director maguire: i believe that the whistleblower and all employers in the icig who raise concerns of fraud waste and abuse are doing what they perceive to be the right thing. >> so, working on behalf of our country. are you aware of the fact that
whistleblowers within the federal government have identified waste, fraud and abuse of $59 billion that has had the effect of benefiting the taxpayers in keeping our country safe as well? director maguire: congresswoman, i am not familiar with the dollar value but having been in the government service for nearly four decades, i am very much aware of the value. >> thank you. let me ask you one final question. did the president of the united states ask you to find out the identity of the whistleblower? director maguire: i can say, although i would not normally discuss my conversations with the president, i can tell you emphatically no. >> has anyone else within the white house or the department of justice asked you? director maguire: no, congresswoman, no. >> thank you. i yield. director maguire: you are welcome, ma'am. >> mr. stewart. >> mr. maguire, thank you for being here today.
i want you to know the good news is i am not going to treat you like a child. i'm going to give your questions if i ask you something. i want to thank you for your service and i would like you to remind me, you said earlier, how many years of military service do you have? director maguire: i have 36 years of service in the united states navy, 34 as a navy seal. >> that's great. 36 years, 34 as an 80 seal. i had -- as a navy seal. i proudly wear these air force wings. these are my father's air force wings. he served in the military as well. for someone who has not served in the military, they don't know how deeply offensive it is to have your honor and integrity question. some on this committee have done exactly that. they have accused you of breaking the law. i'm going to read you one part of many, this raises grave concerns that your office with the department of justice and
possibly the white house have in -- engaged in unlawful effort to protect the president. there's others i could read. as they have sought to destroy your character. i'm going to give you the opportunity to answer clearly. are you motivated by politics in your work and professional behavior? director maguire: excuse me, sir? >> are you motivated by politics in your work? or your professional behavior? director maguire: i am not. i am not political, i am partisan, and i did not look to be sitting here as the acting director of national intelligence. i thought there were perhaps other people who would be best and more qualified to do that, but the president asked me to do this and it was my honor to step up. i'm doing it to lead and support the intelligence community. >> thank you. do you believe you have followed the laws in the way you handle this complaint? director maguire: i know i do. >> have you sought to protect the president or anyone else
wrongdoing? director maguire: i have not. what i have done is endeavored to follow the law. >> do you believe you had a legal responsibility to follow the guidance of the office of legal counsel? director maguire: the opinions of the office of legal counsel is is binding on the executive branch. >> thank you. there has been a big deal made of the fact that this is the first whistleblower complaint that has been withheld from congress. it is also true that it is the first whistleblower complaint that has potentially falls under executive privilege and also the first complaint that included information that was outside of the the dni? director maguire: to the best my knowledge, congressman, that is correct. >> i would say to my colleagues, i think you are nuts. if you think you're going to convince the american people your cause is just by attacking this man. and by impugning his character when it is clear that he felt there was a discrepancy, a
potential deficiency in the law. he was trying to do the right thing. he felt compelled by the law to do exactly what he did. and the entire tone here is that somehow you are political stooge who has done nothing but protect the president i think that is nuts. anyone watching this hearing is going to walk away with a man of -- going to walk away with the impression that you are a man of integrity that did what you thought was right regardless of the questions and the innuendo that is cast by some of my colleagues sitting here today. i'll ask one more thing before i yield my time. i think we can agree that leaks are unlawful and that leaks are damaging. for heaven sakes we have seen plenty of that over the past three years. and there is a long list of leaks that have had clear indications for national security. meaningful applications for our national security. i want to know, do you know who was feeding the press information about this case, and have you made any referrals to
the department of justice for unlawful disclosures? director maguire: yes, sir. >> do you know who is feeding information about this case? director maguire: no. no. >> do you think it would be appropriate to make, to make a referral to the department of justice to try to determine that? director maguire: i believe anybody who witnesses or sees any wrongdoing should refer any wrongdoing or complain to the department of justice for investigation. >> including investigation about leaks, about classified information? director maguire: yes, congressman, any wrongdoing. >> i do not know what time it is. because our clock is not working. i would conclude by emphasizing once again good luck convincing the american people that this is dishonorable man sitting here. good luck convincing the american people that he has done anything that he thinks is
right. if you think that this course political points with your political friends that want to impeach the president from the day he was elected, keep going down the road. >> why don't we say, director, no one has accused of being a political stooge or dishonorable. no one has said so. no one has suggested that. director maguire: you have accused me of breaking the law. >> but it is certainly a strong view, and we would hope it would be shared by the minority, that when the congress says that something shall be done, it shall be done. when that involves the wrongdoing on the president, it is not an exception to the departmental statute. the fact this whistleblower has been left twisting in the wind for weeks, has been attacked by the president, should concern democrats and republicans that this was ever allowed to come to be. that allegations this serious and this version were withheld as long as they were from this committee. that should concern all of us.
no one is suggesting that there is a dishonor here. but nonetheless we will insist that the law be followed. >> mr. chairman, will yield? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, sir, for your service. as you know, those in public life who deal with other countries, ambassadors, secretaries of state, many in the intelligence field, they are vetted. they go for approval before the senate, they have to get clearance, and you understand the policy reasons for that, correct? do you have any issues with civilians without approval, without vetting, without clearance taking on those roles? director maguire: yes, i do, congressman. >> why would you have those concerns? director maguire: well, in order to be able to handle sensitive information, whether it be diplomatic or intelligence information, one must be vetted.
this is the important part of protecting national security. we just cannot bring people in and automatically wave a magic wand and pour holy water on them to give them security clearance. it is a matter of vetting. for me, to come back into government, the fbi went back 15 years and my background, examined all of my financial records to make sure that i was in fact worthy of having an intelligence clearance. we do the same thing with the intelligence community. everyone who is privileged, we have access to intelligence information, is a sacred trust. the american people expect us to keep them safe. in order to do that we need to ensure that any person who has access to this to sensitive information of the united states has been thoroughly vetted to ensure they are able to head of -- handle that information. >> it is not just the intel issues. it is the issue of national policy, that people have an official role they carry out on
the behalf of the united states. what is your understanding right now of what mr. giuliani's role is? director maguire: mr. congressman, congressman quigley , i respectfully just referred to the white house and to comment on the president's personal lawyer. >> so far, what i have -- you see him as his personal lawyer but we read in the complain, he is mentioned five times. your reaction to the fact that this civilian without any vetting has played this role. director maguire: no, sir. all i'm saying is that i know what the allegations are. i am not saying the allegations are true and that is where the committee -- >> i do not think there is any question the credibility of the complaint and the transcript. the president, manages and speaks highly of mr. giuliani a highly respected man, the mayor
of new york. i would like hiim to call you. i will ask him to call you along with the attorney general. your reaction to a civilian dealing with this? in the complaint it talks about our national security. inspector general talks about this as the highest responsibility among those that the dni has, and obviously mr. giuliani is playing this role. does he have security clearance? director maguire: i don't know. congressman, i am neither aware or unaware whether or not mr. giuliani has the security clearance. >> before this all happened were you aware of his role or understanding what his role was doing what you do? director maguire: congressman quigley, my only knowledge of what mr. giuliani does, i have to be honest i get from tv and the news media. i am not aware of what he does for the president. >> are you aware of any communication by mr. giuliani
and your office about how we should proceed with this role, given the classified nature, the national security implications that are in the complaint, that are in the transcript and the role he is playing? director maguire: i have read the transcripts as you have. so my knowledge of his activity in there is just limited to the conversation that the president had with the president of ukraine. >> we respect your role and while we have differences of opinion, we continue to respect your integrity and your honor, but we have this vast amounts of experience you have, and need to understand how it plays juxtapositions with the complaint. an omb official informed agencies that the president had issued instructions to suspend all u.s. securities assistance to ukraine. your reaction to that? director maguire: congressman quigley, anything that has to do
with the president's lawyer in these matters should be referred to the white house and the president. >> i am just reading the complaint. director maguire: i lead and i support the intelligence community and the separate different agencies underneath my leadership. i have no authority or responsibility over the white house. >> you are aware, with all of your experience of the fact that we have this relationship with ukraine, that they are dependent upon us. and this complaint does not concern you? you cannot say publicly it concerns you? director maguire: there are lots of things that concern me. i am the director of national intelligence. i have to defer back to the conversation that the president had is his conversation. how the president of the united states wanted to conducts diplomacy is his business. it is not whether or not i approve it or disapprove of it. that is the president's business on how he wants to conduct that survey. >> the issue is whether he commits a crime and that bothers
you. >> the time of the gentleman has -- the gentleman's time has expired. if you want to respond, you may. director maguire: no, i'm fine. thank you, chairman. >> thank you, mr. maguire. we appreciate your life a public service. my question relates to prior to the transmission on august 26 from the i.g. to the dni were there any conversations that you had with the i.g. prior to august 26 related to this matter? director maguire: congresswoman, there has been a lot that is happened in the last several weeks. as far as the timeline is concerned, i think that i would like to take that and get back to you and give you a full chronology of finding on the actual timeline of events. >> that will be very helpful to this committee in terms of if there were any a preliminary conversations, and if there was any action taken as a result of those conversations. i want to the turn to the complaint itself may made public
for the american public to read. i greatly appreciate your statement that you believe the whistleblower is operating in good faith. i feel that is important for americans to hear. on page one, i am not going to improvise like the chairman of this committee did. on page one, the complaint reads "i was not a direct witness to most of the events described." this seems like a very important line to look into, and i think the american public will have questions about that line. so, my question to you is, for the record, did the i.g. fully investigate the allegations into this complaint at this time? has the i.g. fully investigated? director maguire: as i said earlier, congresswoman, i believe the intelligence community inspector general did a thorough investigation with
the 14 day timeframe that he had, and under that timeline to the best of his ability, made the determination that it was credible and urgent. i have no reason to doubt that michael atkinson did anything but his job. >> sure. so, when you talk about a full investigation where the veracity of the allegations in the complaint looked into? their were many references to white house officials. do you know if the i.g. spoke with those officials? do you know if he investigated the truthfulness of these allegations or was there preliminary investigation? director maguire: congresswoman, i would have to refer to the i.g. to respond on that but all i do know, although i do not know the identity of the whistleblower, i do know that michael atkinson had in fact discuss this with the whistleblower and found his complaint to be credible. as far as who else he spoke with, i am unaware of what went on in michael atkins's investigation into this matter. >> as of today, the only individual that we know that the
i.g. spoke with is the complainant, the author and the whistleblower. director maguire: no, congresswoman. what i'm saying is i am unaware who else michael atkinson may have spoken to. i am unfamiliar with the investigative process and anyone he spoke to. >> thank you for the answer on the record. again, for the american public, they are going to have many questions as they read this complaint today. and, because on page one it says no direct knowledge, it is very important we conduct, we have questions answered for individuals that do have direct knowledge. with that, i yield back. director maguire: thank you, congresswoman. >> mr. mcguire, do you agree that the definition of a cover-up is an attempt to prevent people from discovering a crime? director maguire: say that's close.
i mean, i'm sure there are others but i do not disagree with that, sir. >> in the whistleblower's complaint, the whistleblower alleges immediately after the president's call with the president of ukraine on july 25, white house lawyers moved quickly to direct white house officials to move electronic transcripts from one computer system which is normally stored to a secret classified information. is that right? director maguire: congresswoman, excuse me, sir, i apologize. congressman. >> yes or no? director maguire: sir, all i know is that is the allegation. >> i read that allegation and the first people that you go to after you read that allegation are the white house lawyers who are telling the white house officials who see this transcript and move it into a secret compartmentalized system, those of the first people you go to. director maguire: let's say a couple of things. yes. >> so you get this complaint, the inspector general says
urgent, credible and you have no wiggle room to not go to congress. and, instead, you sent your concern to the subject of the complaint, the white house. so, did the white house tell you after you sent your concern about privilege, did they tell you to go to the department of justice next? director maguire: my team, my counsel, in consultation with the intelligence communities inspector general went to the office of legal counsel. >> so -- director maguire: we were not directed to do that >> mr. maguire you said this did not involve ongoing intelligence activities. however, the whistleblower says this is not the first time that the presidents transcripts with foreign leaders were improperly moved to an intelligence communities system. is that part of the allegation? director maguire: i believe that is in the letter. >> what can also speak for itself is that if a transcript
of a foreign leader is improperly moved into an intelligence communities classification system, that actually would involve your responsibility. is that right? director maguire: not necessarily. it is not underneath my authority and responsibility. and once again, this is an allegation that has been made, does not necessarily mean that that is a true statement. >> the allegation was determined to be credible by the inspecter general. director maguire: yes, it was. >> would you also want to know considering you are the director of national intelligence and transcripts are being moved into a secret intelligence system, whether other transcripts or has -- perhaps maybe the president's phone calls with vladimir putin, with mbs or saudi arabia or erdogan or kim jong-un, would you want to know if those were being improperly moved because the president was trying to cover up something? director maguire: congressman,
how the white house, the executive office of the president and the national security council conduct their business is their business. >> it is actually your business to protect american secrets. director maguire: it is all of ours, this committee as well. >> if there is cover-up activity because the president is working improperly with a foreign government, that could compromise america's secrets. is that right? director maguire: congressman, there is an allegation of a cover-up. i'm sure an investigation by this committee might lend credence or disprove that. but right now all we have is an allegation, an allegation, secondhand information of a whistleblower. i have no knowledge of whether or not that is true and accurate thing. >> the department of justice opinion relied upon said you are not responsible for preventing foreign election interference. is that right? director maguire: what the office of legal counsel did was over 11,000 pages. they wrote an opinion defining and explain their justification for not complying with urgent -- >> are you responsible for preventing election
interference? director maguire: election interference. >> by a foreign government? director maguire: congressman, election interference. move >> hope you know this answer, yes or no. are you responsible for preventing election interference? i really hope you know the answer. is it your priority? director maguire: yes, it is. >> this complaint alleges a shakedown with a foreign government by the united states president involving rogue actor who has no authority under united states in an effort by the white house to move the transcript of this call to a secret system. that is at least what is alleged. director maguire: i believe election security is my most fundamental priority but this complaint focused on a conversation with the president with another foreign leader, not election security. >> i yield back. director maguire: thank you. >> if that conversation involved the president requesting help in
the form of intervention in our election, is that not an issue of interference in our elections? director maguire: mr. chairman, once again, this was sent to the federal bureau of investigation. >> i understand that. you are not suggesting, are you, that the president is somehow immune from the laws that preclude a u.s. person from seeking foreign help in a u.s. election? director maguire: what i am saying, chairman schiff, is that no one, none of us, is above the law in this country. >> thank you, chairman. a pleasure to be with you. i tell my friends all the time i have gotten more surveillance as a member of congressman than i did as an undercover officer in the cia. rows shotsad more ar at you since you have been dni than you did in your almost four decades on the battlefield. a specific question, the letter
that is contained in the whistleblower package is actually dated august 12 and i recognize this may be a better question to be asking the icig. that letter is dated august 12 and it is to the chairman of the senate select committee on intelligence and to the chair of this committee. do you know if the whistleblower provided that letter to those two chairmen concurrently with the icig? director maguire: no, congressman. as i said earlier, i believe that the whistleblower and the icig acted in good faith and followed the law every step of the way. >> good copy. we have talked about the way the law on the whistleblower statute says you shall share if it is decided to be an urgent concern. however, that practice has -- best practices has always been to share regardless of whether there is urgent concern. do you see any reason, negative impact, on the intelligence community, if that legislation was changed to say all whistleblower complaints should be shared with, with the
committee? director maguire: that's correct. in addition to that, congressman, let's say the allegation was made against a member of this committee. members of this committee, although you are the intelligence committee, but not members of the intelligence community. and as the dni, i have no responsibility over this committee. >> my question is, do you think that if every whistleblower complaint that was brought to the intelligence community's inspector general was always shared with this committee, that -- inspector general was always shared with this committee, that would that have any impact on intelligence equities? i ask that, because i do not know why when the statute was written it did not say all should be shared rather than
only urgent concerns. as the head of the intelligence community, if we changed that law would that have an impact? >> we find ourselves in this position again, i want to make sure that there is not any uncertainty if and when information should be shared with this committee. predecessor,your aware of an omb decision to suspend ukrainian aid as was alleged in this complaint? no i far as i'm concerned, have no knowledge of that. i am unaware if anyone within the odni is aware of that. i don't know the answer to that. representative hurd: i apologize for these legal questions that may be best directed at somebody else, but i feel like you have best perspective. when does the office of legislative legal counsel guidance override laws passed by
congress? director maguire: the office of legal counsel does not override laws passed by congress. it passes legal opinion for those of us in the executive branch. in the office of legal counsel legal opinion is binding to everyone within the executive branch. representative hurd: i have two questions. what is your assessment of how intelligence operations in general are going to be impacted by this latest episode? when i say episode, i'm referring to the media circus, the political circus, the technical issues that are related to this whistleblower revelation. you alluded to it in previous questions, but i would like your assessment of how this could impact intelligence operations in the future.
and i believe this is your first time testifying to congress in your position. i know this is off topic. what do you see as our greatest challenges and threats in this country as director of national intelligence? director maguire: let me answer the bottom part of that. the greatest challenge we face is not necessarily from a kinetic strike with russia or china or iran or north korea. the greatest challenge we have is to make sure we maintain the integrity of our election system. right now there are foreign powers trying to get us to question the validity of whether our elections are valid. first and foremost, protecting the sanctity of our elections within the united states, whether it be national, city, state, local, is perhaps the most important job we have with the intelligence community. outside of that, we face
significant threats per number one is not necessarily kinetic, but cyber. this is a cyber world. we talk about whether great competition is taking place with russia and china, and we are building ships and weapons to do that. but in my estimation, great competition with these countries is taking place right now in the cyber world. representative hurd: the broader implications on this current whistleblower operation? director maguire: in light of this, i have a lot of work as leader of this community, to reassure that the intelligence community, that in fact i am totally committed to the whistleblower program. and i am absolutely, absolutely committed to protecting the anonymity of this individual, as well as making sure michael atkinson, our icig, is able to continue to do his job unfettered.
but i have to be proactive in my communications with my team. >> i yelled back that time i may or may not have. >> mr. castro. representative castro: thank you for your testimony today. i want to say thank you also to the whistleblower for having the courage and bravery to come forward on behalf of the nation. thank you to mr. atkinson, the inspector general, for his courage in coming forward to congress. you mentioned you believe the whistleblower report is credible and the whistleblower is credible, acted in good faith. you have had a chance as we have and the american people have, to review the whistleblower complaint at the transcript released of the phone call between the president of the united states and the president of ukraine. you read both documents, have you? >> yes. >> would you say the
whistleblower complaint is remarkably consistent with the transcript that was released? director maguire: the whistleblower complaint is in alignment with what was released yesterday by the president. representative castro: i want to read you a quick section of both to underscore how accurate this complaint is. on page two of the whistleblower's complaint, the whistleblower says, according to white house officials who had direct knowledge of the call, the president pressured mr. zielinsky, to initiate or continue an investigation into the activities of former vice president joseph biden and his son, hunter biden. and the third bullet point, meet or speak with two people the president named explicitly as his personal envoys on these matters, mr. giuliani and attorney general barr, to whom the president referred to multiple times in tandem. on page four of the transcript in the first paragraph, into
what looks like the third sentence, president trump says the former ambassador from the united states, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in ukraine was bad news, so i just wanted to let you know that. the other thing, there is a lot of talk about biden's son, that biden stopped the prosecution, and a lot of people want to find out about that. so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, et cetera. do you have reason to doubt what the whistleblower has brought forward? director maguire: getting back into michael atkinson's determination about whether it was credible or urgent concern, as the dni, it is not my place to ensure it is credible. that is the icig's job as inspector. he determined that it is credible.
my only trouble was that in fact and involved someone who is not in the intelligence community or an organization under which i have authority and responsibility. outside of that -- representative castro: you agreed involved intelligence matters, it involved election interference, it involved investigations of u.s. persons, including a former vice president. if you had knowledge or the cia had knowledge that a government was going to investigate or drum up an investigation against her -- a former vice president, that wouldn't qualify as an intelligence matter? would that qualify as an intelligence matter? yes or no. director maguire: that is kind of a hypothetical question sir. representative castro: i don't think it's hypothetical. that's exactly what is in the transcript. that is what he is asking for. that is what the president is asking for, asking the president of the ukraine to do. he is asking the president of ukraine to investigate the former vice president of the united states. does that qualify as an
intelligence matter the cia would want to know? director maguire: the conversation was by the president to the president of ukraine, as you know -- representative castro: that cannot be an ultimate shield against transparency. it can't be an ultimate shield against accountability. the president is not above the law. one thing you haven't told us is, if your office or the inspector general is not able to investigate, then who is able to investigate? director maguire: once again, as i mentioned several times, although it did not come to the committee, the complaint was referred to the judicial department of criminal investigation. this was not swept under the rug. representative castro: why did your office think you should appeal the ig determination about "urgent concern" to the doj? that has never been done. that has never been done before.
director maguire: this is unprecedented. in the past, there has never been a matter that the inspector general has investigated that did not involve a member of the intelligence community or an organization that the director of national intelligence -- representative castro: you keep saying the president is not part of the intelligence community. i believe he is. he has the ability to declassify any single intelligence document. is that true? director maguire: the president has classification authority. representative castro: how is that person outside the intelligence community? director maguire: he is president of the united states, above the entire executive branch. representative ratcliff: you served in the navy 36 years and commanded seal team to had -- seal team two, and retired as vice admiral of the navy, correct? >> correct.
representative ratcliff: you became acting dni 23 days after the trump-zielinsky call, and four days after the whistleblower made his or her complaint. you were subpoenaed to before this committee after being publicly accused of committing a crime, correct? director maguire: yes. representative ratcliffe: schiff accused you of being a cover-up and the speaker keys do not once but twice of breaking the law in committing a crime. she said, the acting director of national intelligence blocked him, meaning the icig, from disclosing the whistleblower complaint. this is a violation of the law. you were publicly accused of committing a crime, you were also falsely accused of committing a crime, as you have so accurately related.
you were required to follow not just an opinion of what the law is, but the opinion from the justice department, and 11-page opinion about whether you were required by law to report the whistleblower complaint, correct? director maguire: that is correct. representative ratcliffe: and that opinion says the question is whether such a complaint falls within the statue it -- statutory definition of urgent concern that the law requires the dni to forward to the intelligence committee. we include it does not. do i read that accurately? i better half. that is an opinion not from william barr, that is an opinion from the department of justice ethic lawyers, not political appointees but career officials that serve republicans and democrats, the ethics lawyers at the department of justice that determined that you did follow the law. so you were publicly accused and also falsely accused and get you are here today. i haven't heard anything close to an apology.
welcome to the house of representatives with democrats in charge. that me turn to the matter we are here for, a lot of talk about this whistleblower complaint. given what we have, why all the focus on this whistleblower? the best evidence of what president trump said to president zielinsky is a transcript of what president trump said, not casting aspersions on the whistleblowe'' s good faith or their intent. but a secondhand account of something someone didn't hear isn't as good as the best evidence of what was actually said. into that point, despite good faith, the whistleblower is in fact wrong in numerous respects. i know everyone is not going to have time to read the whistleblower complaint, but the whistleblower says, i am deeply concerned, talking about the president, that there was a serious or flagrant problem, abuse or violation of the law. the whistleblower goes on to say, i was not a direct witness to the events described, however
i found my colleagues accounts -- i found my colleagues' accounts of this to be credible, and then talking about the accounts of which this whistleblower complaint is based on, the whistleblower tells us, the officials i spoke with told me, and i was told that, and i learned from multiple u.s. officials that, and white house officials told me that, and i also learned from multiple u.s. officials that. in other words, all this is secondhand, none of it is first and information. the whistleblower goes on to cite additional sources. those sources happen to include mainstream media. the sources the whistleblower bases his complaints on include the washington post, new york times, politico, the hill, bloomberg, abc and others. much like the steele.ca, the
, theeele dossier allegations in the whistleblower complaint are based on thirdhand media sources rather than first-hand information. the whistleblower also appears to allege crimes not just against president, but says with regard to this game to solicit -- scheme to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 election that, "the president's personal lawyer, mr. rudolph giuliani, is a central figure in this effort, and attorney general barr appears to be involved as well." but a couple of pages later, the whistleblower admits, i don't know the extent to which, if at all, mr. giuliani is directly coordinating efforts on ukraine with attorney general barr. the attorney general does know, because he issued a statement saying there was no involvement. my point in all of this is again, the transcript is the best evidence of what we have. and so that the american people are clear what that transcript
relates an illegal -- legal communications, the united states is allowed to solicit help from a foreign government in an ongoing criminal investigation, which is exactly what president trump did in that conversation. so if the democrats are intent on impeaching the president for lawful conduct, be my guest. i yield back. chairman schiff: thank you congressman ratcliffe. representative: thank you for being here, sir. thank you for your service. i want to step back and put in perspective what is at stake. yesterday the white house released the transcript of that july 25 conversation between president trump and president zelensky. we now know this phone call was part of the whistleblower complaint. yesterday the chair, at a press conference, characterized the president's conversation as a shakedown of the ukrainian
leader. he was not suggesting it was a shakedown for information or money, but instead it was a shakedown for help to win a presidential election coming up next year. i want to rewind to may 7 of this year, when fbi director christopher wray testified before the u.s. senate that, and i am quoting now, any public official or member of the public campaign should immediately report to the fbi any conversations with foreign actors about influence -- about influencing or interfering with our election. the director was the top cop in the united states of america. do you agree with director ray -- with director wray? director maguire: i do not disagree with director wray. representative is that the same thing as you agree with him? let me fast-forward.
>> yes. >> it was referred to the fbi. >> let me fast-forward june 13, five weeks in advance of that, when the chair of the federal elections commission made the following statement. follow me please. let me make something 100% clear the american public and anyone running for public office. it is illegal for any person to accept, solicit or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a u.s. election. this is not a novel concept. election intervention from foreign governments has been considered unacceptable since the beginnings of our nation. do you agree with the fec chair, mr. director? director maguire: i agree our
elections are sacred. any interference from an outside source is just not what we want. representative: and to solicit or accept it is illegal? director maguire: i don't know about that. i'm not a lawyer. i don't want to be evasive. representative so you think it is ok maybe for a candidate or an elected official to solicit foreign interference in our election? you are not really saying that, right? director maguire: i'm not saying that at all. representative: the fec chair was prompted to say this, because it was just literally the day before that the president of the united states sat at the resolute desk, in the most iconic room in the united states, the oval office, and said that fbi director ray was wrong. -- fbi director wray was wrong.
you obviously disagree. he also said he would consider accepting foreign help. and we learned yesterday that the president did in fact, did in fact do exactly that, solicited that help. director, whether it is this president or any president, do you believe it is ok for the president of the united states to pressure a foreign country and to helping him or her win an election? director maguire: i believe no one is above the law. we have discussed what we think applies to the law. representative: so it is illegal to solicit? director maguire: i can't answer that. representative: i can't reconcile your statements. is it ok for any pressure -- for any president to pressure a foreign government for help to win an election? director maguire: it is unwarranted, unwelcome, it is bad for the nation, that outside interference. representative: thank you.
and by extension, it would be equally unacceptable to extort that assistance as well? director maguire: all i know is that i have the transcripts, as you have. i have the whistleblower complaint, as you have. representative: i wasn't referring to the whistleblower complaint. but if any president were to do this, and i accept your answer, i think it's beyond unacceptable, director. i think it is wrong and i think we all know it. i think we were taught this at a very young age. and there is a voice within most of us, unfortunately not all of us, that suggests it is wrong. it is illegal, and it is wrong. i thank you sir. with that i yield back. director maguire: if i may? representative: i have run out of time. chairman schiff: director, feel free. director maguire: once again, it was referred to the federal bureau of investigation.
representative: not by the president. director maguire: by this office and by the office of the icig. representative: director wray said any candidate or official should immediately report it. he didn't say the director of dni should reported, although you did, and thank you, but the person involved did not do what director wray said they should. period. representative welch: director, thank you. there is nobody in this room who can claim to have served the country longer and more valiantly than you. and in your opening remarks, your family before you has committed -- has been committed to this country. i say thank you. i appreciated your candor in your opening statement when, and
your opening statement, you acknowledged the whistleblower acted in good faith. and third, i appreciated your acknowledgment that the inspector general also acted in good faith according to his view of the law. view of the law. and i want to say this. when you said you are in a unique position, that is an understatement. you got a complaint involving the president of the united states and also the united states attorney general. i disagree with some decisions you made, but i have no doubt whatsoever that the same sense of duty that you applied in your long and illustrious career guided you as you made these decisions. so, thank you for that. but i want to ask a few questions about the extraordinary document that came to your attention. the dni has jurisdiction over foreign interference in our elections, correct?
dir. maguire: that's correct. rep. welch: and you are aware, as we all are, of the mueller report and his indictments of 12 foreign agents, russians, who actively interfered in our elections, correct? dir. maguire: i have read the report. rep. welch: it's a huge responsibility that your agency has. correct? and in this case, because of the two things you mentioned, that the president is the one person that is above the intelligence community, and your sense about executive privilege, you did not forward the complaint to us, correct? dir. maguire: i did not forward -- yes, congressman welch, because i was still working with the white house. rep. welch: i understand that. you have been very clear on that. let me just ask a hypothetical to show the dilemma you were in. let's say a u.s. senator, who is well-connected, or private citizen really well-connected, had access to a conversation
as a result of that with the leader of a foreign country and asked that person for a favor, the u.s. senator, let's say, providing dirt on a political opponent. let's say instead of it being a conversation between the president and the president of ukraine, who was a u.s. senator who was the head of the foreign relations committee and was asking for the foreign leader. dir. maguire: i understand. rep. welch: would you forward that to our committee? dir. maguire: once again, i mentioned that a little bit earlier in our conversation that the united states senator is not a member of the intelligence community. and the director of national intelligence does not have the authority and responsibility for the u.s. senate.
so any wrongdoing in that regard should be referred to the department of justice for criminal investigation. rep. welch: i respectfully disagree with you, because obviously that would be a solicitation by that u.s. senator for interference in our elections, and that is in your jurisdiction, correct? dir. maguire: election interference, yes. yes, i respond welch. -- congressman welch. rep. welch: ok. dir. maguire: but once again, congressman, although it is, as far as the legal responsibility in compliance with the intelligence reform act, the whistleblower protection act, it does not the statute does not , allow for that to be done. rep. welch: i disagree with that. dir. maguire: yes, sir. rep. welch: but here is the dilemma that you were in and that we are now going to follow up because executive privilege, if it existed, was waived. under your approach, as you saw it, it means that no one would be investigating the underlying
conduct, because in this case executive privilege applies, or may apply. and number two, the president who had the conversation is above the law. so that is a dilemma for our democracy, is it not? dir. maguire: the complaint was sent to the federal bureau of investigation, totally disregarding any concern for executive privilege. rep. welch: but the federal bureau of investigation never did a follow-up investigation, right? dir. maguire: i believe that they had concluded the investigation. in addition to this, i have other pressing matters. director i apologize. ,rep. welch: and the justice department run by mr. barr, who is the subject of the complaint, is the department that provided the opinion that there is no action to be taken. dir. maguire: i believe that the attorney general was mentioned in the complaint, not necessarily the subject of the
complaint, sir. rep. welch: he was mentioned. i yield back. dir. maguire: congressman welch, thank you, sir. rep. welch: thank you. chairman schiff: mr. maloney. rep. maloney: director, what was your first day on the job? dir. maguire: friday, the 16th of august. i think i set a new record in the administration for being subpoenaed. rep. maloney: you had a heck of a first week. the complaint is dated august 12. whatever else you have done in your career, your timing has got to be something you worry about. dir. maguire: congressman, i think the dan coates' timing is better than mine. rep. maloney: i want to summarize a couple of things. in your first couple of days on the job, you are hit with this complaint. and it says that the president of the united states pressured a foreign leader to help him investigate a political opponent and that political opponent's
son, in fact, that that president asked the foreign leader to work with private citizen, mr. giuliani, and the attorney general of the united states, bill barr, on that scheme. the president at that time not , in dispute, was withholding $391 million of assistance, holding that over that ukrainian president's head. that ukrainian president raises in the conversation u.s. military assistant, javelins, defensive weapons. he's got russian troops in his country. the wolf is at the door. the president asks for a favor, complains about ukrainian reciprocity. not getting enough from you. that is what reciprocity is, we have to get something from you if we are giving something to you. he names the political opponents by name, the bidens. the ukrainian president says he will do it, he will do the investigation.
that is what you are hit with. and you are looking at that complaint that in the second paragraph alleges serious wrongdoing by the president of the united states. and the first thing you do is go to the president's men at the white house, and women, and say, should i give it to congress? and in the second paragraph of that complaint, sir, it also suggests the attorney general could be involved. and the second thing you do is go to the attorney general's people at the justice department and ask them if you should give it to congress? sir, i have no question about your character. i have read your bio. i have some questions about your decisions and the judgment in those decisions. do you see any conflicts here? dir. maguire: congressman maloney, i have a lot of leadership experience. i do. and as you said, it came to me very early on in this.
the fact that i was just -- i am the acting dni and was still using garman to get to work, that this came to my attention involving the president of the united states, and the important matter of this. in the past as i said before i , have always worked with legal counsel. because of the magnitude of the decision, sir, as a naval officer for years, i thought it would be prudent. i also want to say, sir, if i may, my life would have been a heck of a lot simpler without becoming the most famous man in the united states. rep. maloney: don't doubt that at all, sir. my question is, sir, when you were considering prudence, did you think it was prudent to give a veto power over whether the congress saw this serious allegation of wrongdoing to the two people implicated by it? is that prudent? dir. maguire: i have to work with the situation as it is, congressman maloney. only the white house can determine or waive executive privilege. there is no one else to go to.
and as far as a second opinion, my only avenue of that was to go to the department of justice office of legal counsel. rep. maloney: and you understand, sir, that if unchallenged by your own inspector general, that decision, that prudence would have prevented these serious allegations from ever reaching the congress. quick question, in response to mr. heinz, i think you left the door open that you spoke to the president of the united states about this whistleblower complaint. sir, did you speak personally to the president of the united states at any time about this complaint? dir. maguire: congressman, once again, i am the president's intelligence officer. i speak to the president -- i cannot say -- rep. maloney: mr. director, i know you speak to the president a lot. it's a simple question. did you speak to him about this whistleblower complaint? yes or no? dir. maguire: congressman maloney, my conversation with the president of the united states is privileged. rep. maloney: you are not denying you spoke with the president. i'm not asking for the contents. i don't want the content.
did you speak to the president about the whistleblower complaint? dir. maguire: i speak to the president about a lot of things, and anything i say to the president in any form is privileged. rep. maloney: not asking for the content. are you denying you spoke to the president? dir. maguire: i say once again anything i say to the president , is confidential. rep. maloney: thank you, sir. dir. maguire: that's the way it is. rep. maloney: i understand, thank you. chairman schiff: director, you understand we are not asking you about conversations with the president about national security, about foreign policy, about the national counterterrorism center. we just want to know, did you discuss this subject with the president? you can imagine what a profound conflict of interest that would be. did you discuss this subject, this whistleblower complaint with the president? you can say, i did not discuss it with him, if that is the answer. that doesn't betray any privilege. and you can say, i did discuss it with him, but i am not going to get into the content of those conversations. that question you can answer. dir. maguire: chairman schiff, once again, my conversation, no
matter what the subject is with the president of the united states, is privileged conversation between the director of national intelligence and the president. rep. schiff: ms. demings. demings: thank you so much, mr. chairman. director maguire, thank you for being here today. thank you for your service. i know you said you took your first oath in 1974. that is a long time, but a long time to be proud of the service. i took my first oath in 1984, when i was sworn in as a law enforcement officer. and i thank you so much for saying that public service is a sacred trust, because regardless of the circumstances or who is involved, public service is a sacred trust. i have had an opportunity as a law enforcement officer to investigate internal cases
involving other personnel. i've had an opportunity to investigate numerous other cases, criminal cases, and never once, just for the record, director maguire, did i ever go to the suspect or the defendant or the principal in those cases to ask them what i should do in the case. there has been a lot of talk this morning, the whole discussion, the whole reason why we are here centered around the u.s. relationship with ukraine. i think you would agree that ukraine is very dependent on the united states, in terms of assisting them and defending themselves. could you, based on your many years of experience in the military and now in your new position, talk a little bit about that relationship and how important it is for the united states to assist ukraine if they are ever going to be able to defend themselves? dir. maguire: yes, congressman. i think the united states has been extremely supportive of
ukraine. i would say that they are relying on us, as they rely on other people in europe. i would also say the united states is probably paying more of their fair share for the support of europe -- of ukraine than the others. the threats are real for the ukrainian people, and the stake of freedom and democracy is also -- even though it is in the ukraine -- is very much of concern. rep. demings: based on what you're saying, ukraine could never get there without the support and assistance of the united states or from the united states of america. dir. maguire: i would say if others were willing to step up and support, they might be able to get there. rep. demings: but they are not. we are there. so, i think you have said it would be difficult for ukraine to meet that goal of defending themselves without our support. correct? dir. maguire: i would say it would be a challenge, yes, congresswoman. rep. demings: this report outlines a scheme by the president of the united states, and i am not really sure what to call rudy giuliani these days.
what his role is. maybe he is the new fixer, i'm not sure. but anyway it involves a scheme to call our ukraine, this country you say is so very dependent on the united states to defend themselves, to coerce ukraine into assisting the president's reelection effort in 2020. in the report from your inspector general, the memo sent to you, it says on july 18 the office of management and budget official informed the department that agencies that the president issued instructions to suspend all u.s. security assistance to ukraine. neither omb nor the nsc staff knew why this instruction had been issued. during interagency meetings on the 23rd of july and the 26th of july, omb officials again stated explicitly that the instruction to suspend this assistance had come directly from the
president, but they were not -- they were still unaware of a policy rationale. so the 23rd, 26th. on the 18th this issue first came up, when the president was suspending or reassessing that assistance that you said ukraine so desperately depends on. director maguire, we deal with what is reasonable here, and i believe your inspector general included that in the report because this whole issue is about ukraine's position and relationship with the united states, their dependency on the united states, and the president's efforts to coerce ukraine and to engage in an illegal and improper investigation, do you believe that is why your inspector general added that about suspending their support to ukraine? dir. maguire: i think that michael atkinson found it to be credible.
and he viewed it was a matter of urgent concern to forward to this committee. rep. demings: do you think it is reasonable for the american people and the committee on both sides to believe that there is a correlation or a nexus between the president suspending the aid and the conversation that took place, the follow-up conversation? dir. maguire: yes, congresswoman, that is the allegation that is made. i did not have access to the transcripts. my only information was the icig's cover letter and the allegation -- whistleblower allegation. the other information coming to light yesterday, as released by the president, changes things in a different light. rep. demings: mr. chairman, may i just ask one more very quickly? my understanding is that the attorney -- inspector general is a career intelligence person. he has worked in the department of justice, he has received numerous awards for outstanding, exemplary performance.
did you have any reason to deny or not believe his conclusions in every area of this report that he was directly involved in? dir. maguire: congresswoman, michael atkinson is a valued and trusted colleague. i respect him tremendously. the question came down to, as we just over and over again, urgent not theand whether or intelligence -- whistleblower protection act as written allows me to forward it to this committee. that is where i got stuck, ma'am, and i am sorry. rep. demings: thank you, director. dir. maguire: mr. krishnamurthy. krishnamurthy: mr. maguire, thank you so much for your service to our country. thank you for your patriotism. i want to ask you a couple of questions about the time surrounding july 25, to the time that you came into office at -- as dni. as you know, the phone call
between president trump and ukrainian president happened on july 25 of this year, correct? dir. maguire: i believe so. rep. krishnamurthy: at least one of them happened on july 25. at that time the dni was dan coats and his deputy was sue gordon. the whistleblower complaint was filed on august 12 of this year, and then you took office on august 16th, four days later. dir. maguire: yes, sir. rep. krishnamurthy: prior to your new job, or since, did you discuss the july 25 call or the whistleblower complaint with dni coates? dir. maguire: i would not have taken the job if i did. no, sir. rep. krishnamurthy: how about sue gordon? dir. maguire: no. not at all. i don't think either director coates or principal deputy sue gordon have any sense whatsoever about this whistleblower complaint, or that michael atkinson had it. rep. krishnamoorthy: before your current role, did you discuss ukraine with president trump?
dir. maguire: no, congressman. i haven't discussed ukraine with anybody, let me put it to you that way. rep. krishnamoorthy: you haven't discussed ukraine in your current role as the acting dni? dir. maguire: we have about 190 countries out there, but as far as intelligence equities in that region right now, this has not been something that has come to my attention in the six weeks i have been some acting dni. -- been the acting dni. rep. krishnamoorthy: turning to the whistleblower and inspector general, you don't know the identity of the whistleblower? dir. maguire: congressman, i do not and i have made it my business to not know. rep. krishnamoorthy: you don't know their political affiliation? dir. maguire: i do not. i don't know this individual. rep. krishnamoorthy: or her political affiliation. you believe the whistleblower was operating in good faith? dir. maguire: i do. rep. krishnamoorthy: and without bias? dir. maguire: i don't know about that. rep. krishnamoorthy: but you have no reason to believe they were acting in bias?
dir. maguire: i just know they were acting in good faith. rep. krishnamoorthy: you have no reason to believe the person was biased. dir. maguire: i would not know if they were biased or not biased. rep. krishnamoorthy: of course you will do everything to protect the whistleblower from any attempts to retaliate against him or her? correct? dir. maguire: i will not permit the whistleblower to be subject to retaliation or inverse consequences. i am absolutely committed to that. rep. krishnamoorthy: and unlike the whistleblower, you do know the inspector general obviously. dir. maguire: i hold him in high esteem. rep. krishnamoorthy: unlike the whistleblower, he also operated in the highest faith, right? dir. maguire: i believe that michael atkinson, yes. rep. krishnamoorthy: and interestingly, mr. atkinson was actually appointed by president donald trump, right? dir. maguire: yes, he was. he was a presidential appointee. rep. krishnamoorthi: and what lends real credibility to the whistleblower complaint is the fact that mr. atkinson, an appointee of the president, would actually bring forward a
complaint against his boss. that is something that is especially courageous. what i want to hear from you is you will also do everything you can to protect mr. atkinson from potential retaliation? dir. maguire: congressman, absolutely. rep. krishnamoorthi: very good. now the white house released a memorandum of telephone conversation from the july 25, 2019 call, right? dir. maguire: i believe that was what was transmitted yesterday morning, sir. rep. krishnamoorthi: and they called that a telcon in the jargon of these memoranda, right? dir. maguire: i am familiar -- this is the first time i have ever seen a transcript of a presidential conversation with a foreign leader. rep. krishnamoorthi: ok, have you been -- dir. maguire: conversation -- rep. krishnamoorthi: and have you been a party to a conversation between the president and a foreign leader on a phone call? dir. maguire: when i in the am office to provide the intelligence brief to the president, some foreign head of state might call in. the president may ask us to
leave or just stay for a brief call from time to time, yes, sir. rep. krishnamoorthi: and there are note takers who scribble down furiously what is being said on those calls? dir. maguire: if they are note takers they would not be in the oval office with us. they would be listening from somewhere else. rep. krishnamoorthi: like the situation room? dir. maguire: i don't know, but somewhere within the white house. rep. krishnamoorthi: and in this particular situation, maybe more than a dozen people were on the phone call. dir. maguire: that is the allegation. yes, congressman. rep. krishnamoorthi: and they were all taking notes, presumably. dir. maguire: if they are good public servants, yes. rep. krishnamoorthi: were you ever a party to a call where the notes you took were then given to someone at the white house for keeping? dir. maguire: i have not been party to any call other than my own. i would take notes for my own or from my level or is director of
the national counterterrorism center, but i have never been privy to a conversation by the president where i would be involved in taking notes. it would just be happenstance, i happened to be there, and he felt comfortable enough to leave me for a brief conversation. it is not anything i would be in that office particularly for that matter. rep. krishnamoorthi: thank you for your service. dir. maguire: thank you, congressman, very much. thank you. chairman schiff: i will recognize the ranking member for final questions he may have. >> thank you, mr. chair. i want to thank you, mr. maguire, for your attendance here today. congratulations for surviving legal word challenge charade today. hopefully, we will see you behind closed doors, like this is supposed to be done, and i would just urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, if they would like to impeach the president, they need to go to the floor of the house and actually call for a vote. the intelligence committee is not an appropriate place to try articles of impeachment. so there is a process in the
constitution i would advise you all follow. in the meantime director maguire, i want to apologize to you for being accused of crimes that you have not committed. it is totally inappropriate behavior for anyone to accuse someone that served four decades like you. i hope you don't have to go through this any longer. with that i yield back the balance of my time. dir. maguire: thank you, ranking member. i appreciate it. ap. schiff: director, i have few more questions to follow-up, because i thought i heard you say moments ago that you had no communication with the president on the subject of ukraine. did i understand you to say that? dir. maguire: i have not particularly had any conversation with anyone on the subject of ukraine that didn't deal with the matter that we have right now regarding to the whistleblower complaint. with the office of legal counsel as far as mentioning ukraine or
the justice department. all i did was send the documents forward. the allegations are in there, and i have just let the documents speak for themselves. chairman schiff: so you are saying you did not have any conversation on the subject of ukraine that did not involve this complaint? dir. maguire: that is correct, sir. i have been the acting dni for six weeks. chairman schiff: i'm trying to understand, because it is suggested you did have a conversation involving the complaint with the president? dir. maguire: no, no, that is not what i said, sir. chairman schiff: ok. director, you mentioned early on when we were on the subject of what the inspector general was able to investigate or not investigate, whether the president is within the intelligence community or subject to the intelligence community, and by the way, the statute does not require that
the subject of the complaint be within the intelligence community. it requires the whistleblower to be an employee or detailee. it doesn't require the person being complained of being an employee of the intelligence community. but you have adopted an interpretation by the justice department that essentially says the president is above the director, therefore the president is not subject to the jurisdiction of the director, therefore it doesn't meet the definition of urgent concern, therefore the inspector general is done. inspector general can't investigate anymore. that is the inspector general's reading of the department opinion, that he is no longer allowed to investigate this. is that your reading, as well? dir. maguire: chairman, not necessarily the president, but the allegation has to relate to the finding of the administration activity with the responsibility of the director of national intelligence. chairman schiff: i'm trying to
get to whether the president is somehow beyond the reach of the law? dir. maguire: no, sir. no person in this country is beyond the reach of the law. chairman schiff: that is the way it should be, but i'm trying to figure out if that is the way it is, as a practical fact. the inspector general believes that based on the opinion you requested of the department of justice, he is no longer allowed to look into this because it doesn't meet the definition of an urgent concern because it involves the president. is that your understanding of the department opinion as well, that the inspector general no longer has jurisdiction to look into this? dir. maguire: it is my understanding that both the inspector general and i and my team are waiting for -- we were waiting for the resolution of executive privilege to be determined. it is now no longer executive privilege. i'm not sure exactly what the statute has as far as what michael can do, but we are also looking for a way -- now if i
did not send it forward, as you know, under urgent concern within the seven days, then the statute would allow the whistleblower to come to you and still be protected. chairman schiff: director, my point is this. the department of justice has said, because this doesn't meet the statutory definition, because this involves the president, the inspector general has no jurisdiction to investigate. now, if this inspector general has no jurisdiction to investigate because the president is above the agency, no inspector general has jurisdiction to investigate. that is the effect of that opinion. which -- do you disagree? dir. maguire: i believe the opinion was based on a reading of the statute and whether or not the situation here is compliant and comes underneath the statute.
the office of legal counsel opinion was that, based on the criteria that you are required to have in order to support this legal statute, it does not. and it also said that because of that, it is not a matter of the intelligence community. but once again -- however, you may go forward and have -- chairman schiff: i think that is the key issue, director. because it involves the president, it does not involve the intelligence community. that is the sum and substance. and the effect of that is, the inspector general has told us that he has no jurisdiction to investigate. and by the logic of that opinion, nor does any other inspector general. now, as you point out, this was referred to the justice department, it was referred to the fbi and justice department. that department under bill barr, and with breathtaking speed, decided there is nothing to see here.
it decided that we don't believe that this constitutes any violation of the campaign finance laws, and therefore we are not authorizing an investigation. the fbi is not authorized to investigate any of this. any of this. so the ig's can't do it, and according to the department of justice, the fbi can't do it, because it doesn't meet their threshold that makes it worthy of investigation. so at this point, only this committee and this congress is in a position to investigate. i want to ask you, going to the whistleblower complaint, whether you believe these allegations are worthy of investigation? the whistleblower says, i have received information from multiple u.s. government officials that the president of the united states is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country ithe 2020 election. -- country in the 2020 election. you would agree that should be investigated, would you not? dir. maguire: chairman, the horse has left the barn. you have all the information.
you have the whistleblower complaint. you have the letter from the icig. you have the office of legal counsel opinion. rep. nunes: yes -- chairman schiff: yes, we do but would you agree there is a serious and credible -- you agree there should be an investigation? dir. maguire: i believe it is a matter to be determined by the chair and this committee. chairman schiff: i'm asking you as a career military officer, someone who i greatly respect, and i admire your service to the country, do you believe, if there is a credible allegation by a whistleblower, corroborated by apparently multiple u.s. government officials, that the president of the united states is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 election, do you believe that should be investigated? dir. maguire: i don't believe it was corroborated by other folks. the whistleblower said he spoke or she spoke to about a dozen other people. this is secondhand information.
i'm not criticizing the whistleblower. chairman schiff: yes, but the inspector general took those two weeks as you well told us to corroborate that information. we don't know which, if any, of these officials the inspector general spoke to, and found it credible. i do have told that you have no reason to believe otherwise. am i right? dir. maguire: i had no reason to doubt a career inspector general lawyer in his determination on whether or not it was credible. that was something for michael to determine. chairman schiff: let me ask you this. the whistleblower also says, over the past four months, more than half a dozen u.s. officials informed me of various facts related to this effort to seek foreign interference. you would agree that we should speak to those half a dozen u.s. officials, would you not? dir. maguire: i think that you have all the material the committee needs. i think it is up to the committee how they think they need to proceed. chairman schiff: well, i'm asking your opinion as the head of our intelligence agencies.
do you think that we should talk to those people and find out whether the whistleblower is right? dir. maguire: my responsibility was to get you the whistleblower letter and the complaint, and the other information released. i have done my responsibility. that is on the shoulders of the legislative branch and this committee. chairman schiff: let me ask you this, director. the whistleblower also says these actions pose risk to u.s. national security and undermine the u.s. government's efforts to deter and counter interference in our elections. do you agree if there is a credible allegation along those lines that we should investigate it? dir. maguire: i agree that if there was election interference, the complaint is not about election interference. it was about a classified, confidential, diplomatic conversation -- chairman schiff: involving election interference by the president, sought by the president. that doesn't take it out of the realm of seeking foreign assistance. it makes it all the more pernicious. wouldn't you agree?
dir. maguire: as i said, i don't disagree with the igic assessment that was a credible matter. chairman schiff: the whistleblower further says he, the president, sought to pressure the ukrainian leader to take actions to help the president's 2020 election bid. you would agree that should be investigated? dir. maguire: not necessarily, sir. as far as it was investigated by the federal bureau of investigation. chairman schiff: no, it wasn't. dir. maguire: yes, it went to the -- chairman schiff: the department of justice concluded this would not violate election laws. no one can understand how they could reach that conclusion after the two years we have been through, but nonetheless, they didn't authorize the fbi to investigate it. you would agree someone should investigate this, wouldn't you? dir. maguire: if i didn't, i would not have referred it to the justice department and to the fbi. chairman schiff: i am glad that we are in agreement. the whistleblower says, they told me there was already a discussion ongoing with white house lawyers about how to treat
the call because of the likelihood, in officials' retelling, they had witnessed the president abuse his office for personal gain. you would agree that should be investigated, wouldn't you? dir. maguire: i know that is the allegation. chairman schiff: and it is credible and therefore should be investigated, right? director maguire: well, it is hearsay, secondhand information. it should come to the committee for further investigation, and i mean you have it. you have those documents. chairman schiff: i just wanted to confirm we are in agreement that you think the committee should investigate it. the whistleblower also says donald trump expressed his conviction the new ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve the ukrainian image and complete corruption cases that have held back cooperation between ukraine and the united states. this is the whistleblower citing the ukrainian readout. you would agree that if the ukrainian readout, when talking about corruption cases, is talking about investigating biden and his son and that this has held back -- the failure to
do that has held back cooperation between our two countries, that should be investigated, right? dir. maguire: i don't agree with any of that. i did not agree it should be investigated. what i said that i required with -- complied with my requirement to send the documents to this committee, and that it is up to the chair, ranking member and this committee's members to decide what to do with that information. i'm in no position to tell the chair or the committee to do an investigation or not do an investigation. chairman schiff: ok. i find it remarkable the director of national intelligence doesn't think credible allegations of someone seeking foreign assistance in a u.s. election should be investigated. let me ask you this. the whistleblower further says in the days following the phone call, i learned from multiple u.s. officials that senior white house officials intervened to lock down all records of the phone call. do you have any reason to believe the whistleblower's allegation there is incorrect? dir. maguire: i have no idea
whether it is correct or incorrect, sir. chairman schiff: someone should find out though, right? dir. maguire: excuse me? chairman schiff: someone should find out though, right? dir. maguire: i don't know if that is an incorrect allegation. i just do not know. again, that is the work, the business of the executive branch of the white house and the office of the white house. chairman schiff: corruption is not the business or it should not be of the white house or anyone in it. dir. maguire: what the white house decides to do with their privileged communications is the business of the white house. chairman schiff: do you believe that is true even if the communication involves crime or fraud? i am sure you are aware -- privilege can't be used to conceal crime or fraud. dir. maguire: i said before any crime or fraud or instances of wrongdoing should be referred to the justice department for investigation, as i did. chairman schiff: the whistleblower further alleges white house officials told that whistleblower they were directed by white house officials to remove the electronic transcript from the call from the computer
system in which such transcripts are typically stored and instead, it was loaded into a separate electronic system that is used otherwise used to , hold classified information of any specially sensitive nature. one white house official describes this as abusive electronic system. i do not know whether similar measures were taken to restrict access to other records of the call such as contemporaneous handwritten notes taken by those who listened, and we should find out, should we? dir. maguire: chairman schiff, when i received the letter from michael atkinson in august, he concurrently sent a letter to the office of white house counsel asking the white house counsel to control and keep any information that pertained to that phone call on the 25th. it was a lengthy letter. michael would address it better, but i do believe the icig -- i
know the icig has sent a letter to the white house counsel requesting the people that information. chairman schiff: you would agree if there is a credible allegation from this credible whistleblower, that white house officials moving these records into a system that was not designed for that purpose in an effort to cover up essentially potential misconduct, that ought to be looked into, you would agree, wouldn't you? dir. maguire: to the best of my knowledge when this allegation came forward, this whistleblower complaint on the 12th of august, i have no idea what the timeline was as far as whether or not the white house or national security council or anyone involved in that conversation, what they did with transcripts, where they put them. i have absolutely no knowledge nor the timeline of that, chairman. it is not something that would be under my authority or responsibility. chairman schiff: the
whistleblower makes a series of allegations involving mr. a report in the new york times about going to ukraine to help the president in his 2020 election bid. you would agree if the president was instructing his personal lawyer to seek again foreign help in a u.s. presidential election, that that would be improper? i believe mr. mueller described such efforts to seek foreign assistance as unethical, unpatriotic and possibly criminal. would you agree with director mueller that to seek foreign assistance that way would be unethical, unpatriotic, and very possibly a violation of law? dir. maguire: i believe mr. giuliani is the president's personal lawyer, and whatever conversation the president has with his personal lawyer i would imagine would be by client-attorney privilege.
i'm in no position to criticize the president of the united states on how he wants to conduct that, and i have no knowing of what mr. giuliani does or does not do. chairman schiff: let me ask you about a last couple allegations of the whistleblower. i learned from u.s. officials that on or around the 14th of may, the president instructed vice president pence to cancel his planned trip to ukraine to attend president zelensky's inauguration on 20 may. secretary of energy rick perry led the delegation instead. according to these officials it was also made clear to them that the president did not want to meet with mr. zelensky until he saw how zelensky "chose to act" in office. i do not know how this guidance was communicated or by whom. i also do not know whether a n action was connected with the broader understanding connected
with the meeting or phone call with the president and president zelensky would depend on whether zelensky showed the willingness to play ball. do you know whether mr. pence, vice president pence's trip was pulled because of an effort to find out first whether ukraine was willing to play ball? dir. maguire: chairman schiff, no, i do not. i have no knowledge of any of that until this information came to me from the icig. i have absolutely no situational awareness or no knowledge of any of those facts. chairman schiff: would you agree that if the vice president's trip was cancelled in order to put further pressure on ukraine to manufacture dirt on mr. biden, that that would be unethical, unpatriotic and potentially a crime? dir. maguire: i do not know why the vice president of the united states did not do that. i do know what the allegation was within the whistleblower complaint, and i don't know
whether that allegation is accurate or not, mr. chairman. chairman schiff: finally, the whistleblower says on july 18, an office of management and budget official informed departments and agency that the president earlier that month had issued instructions to suspend all security assistance to ukraine. neither omb nor the nsc staff knew why this instruction had been issued. senator mcconnell said the other day that he spoke with the secretary of defense and secretary of state, and he didn't know why the instruction had been given. doesn't that strike you as suspicious, director, the no one on the national security staff, no one in the senior leadership apparently of the party here in congress that had approved the aid understood why the president was suspending aid? doesn't that strike you as just a little suspicious? dir. maguire: chairman schiff, i am just unaware, to be honest with you of how those decisions , are made. once again, i have no situation awareness of what happened.
chairman schiff: as a military man, if this military aid was withheld from an ally that is fighting off putin's russia, and it was done so to be used as leverage to get dirt in a u.s. political campaign, don't you think that should be investigated? dir. maguire: i have no reason to believe -- i do not understand. i have no situation awareness if that was withheld or why it was withheld, mr. chairman. chairman schiff: well, i can tell you we are going to find out. director, i want to thank you for your attendance today. i want to thank you again for your service. as my colleague underscored, mr. welch, and i completely share his sentiment, no one has any question about your devotion to the country. no one has any question about your acting in good faith. i want to make that very clear. i think you're a good and honorable man.
like my colleagues, i don't agree with the decisions you made. i agree with the inspector general's view of the law, and i'm deeply concerned about the message this has sent to other whistleblowers about whether this system really works. if the subject of a complaint can stop that complaint from getting to congress, then the most serious complaints may never get here. and i want to thank the whistleblower for their courage. they didn't have to step forward. indeed we know from the whistleblower complaint, there are several others that have knowledge of many of the same events. i would just say to those several others that have knowledge of those events, i hope that they too would show the same kind of courage and patriotism that this whistleblower has shown. we are dependent on people of good faith to step forward when they see evidence of wrongdoing. the system won't work otherwise,
and i have to say to our friends in ukraine who may be watching just how distressing it is that as their country fights to liberate itself from russian oppression, as it fights to root out corruption in their own country, that what they would be treated to by the president of the united states would be the highest form of corruption in this country, that the president of the united states would be, instead of a champion of democracy and human rights and the rule of law, would instead be reinforcing a message with the new ukrainian president, who was elected to root out corruption, that instead the message of the president would be, you can use your justice department. just call bill barr. you can use our justice department to manufacture dirt on an opponent. that that's what democracy is. you can use foreign assistance, military assistance, vital
assistance as a lever to get another country to do something unethical. the idea that a struggling -- a fellow democracy, a struggling democracy would hear those messages from the president of the united states -- i just want to say to the people of ukraine, we support you in your fight with russia. we support you in your struggle for democracy. we support you in your efforts to root out corruption. and what you are witnessing and what you are seeing in the actions of this president is not democracy. it is the very negation of democracy. this is democracy. what you saw in this committee is democracy. as ugly as it can be, as personal as it can be, as infuriating as it can be, this is democracy. this is democracy. i thank you, director. we're adjourned. dir. maguire: thank you very