Nunes drills Maguire on whistleblower leaks source: Media creating false narratives

(Image: screenshot)

Rep. Devin Nunes confronted Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire about the source of the leaks surrounding President Trump.

Maguire defended himself from the line of questioning by the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee as he was asked about the leaks of a whistleblower complaint against Trump during a House committee hearing Thursday.

(Video: YouTube/PBS NewsHour)

“Somebody is leaking this and it’s likely coming from the agencies that you oversee,” Nunes told the intelligence chief who pushed back each time.

The California Republican noted other instances of leaking as he focused on the latest in the controversy surrounding Trump’s July call to the president of Ukraine. The transcript of the call, released Wednesday by the White House, proved the president had not made a “promise” to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as the whistleblower complaint alleged.

But in Thursday’s hearing focused on testimony from Maguire, Nunes, who leveled a scathing rebuke of his colleagues in his opening statement, repeatedly asked about leaks to the media, accusing intelligence agencies under Maguire’s leadership of being behind them.

“What I’m trying to ascertain is how would it run in all the mainstream media outlets?” Nunes asked. “Even though they got a lot of it wrong, but they had the basics of it that it involved the president of the United States talking to a foreign leader. So did anybody, you or anybody in your office, leak this to The Washington Post or NBC News?”

“It was not from the intelligence community, from me, or from my office,” Maguire countered.

“Clearly, those conversations are being captured by the intelligence agencies,” Nunes said after citing examples of other leaks of Trump’s calls.

“Not necessarily,” Maguire replied.

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After being pressed, he noted that there were a dozen people in the room when Trump was on the call and any of them, including White House staff, could have been responsible for the leak.

“Ranking member, the allegation of the whistleblower complaint was there were about 12 people who listened into the conversation. Members of the National Security Council and others. … So there were a number of people from the White House briefed on the call,” Maguire said.

“I’m quite sure of this. The White House probably didn’t leak this out,” Nunes interjected.

“I wouldn’t say the White House, but there are individuals within the White House that may or may not–I don’t know. But it would not be from an intelligence intercept,” Maguire insisted.

“When a president talks to a foreign leader, it’s confidential – those contents are confidential,” Nunes said. “This is now the third time. I’m not aware of this ever happening before of contents of calls like this getting out.”

“It seems to me unprecedented,” Maguire responded. “I would also say, I think that this decision by the president yesterday to release the transcripts of his conversations with the president of Ukraine is probably unprecedented as well.”

Frieda Powers

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