The questions asked by House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney during Thursday’s interrogation of Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire at times seemed outlandish and bizarre.
Not to mention deliver a much-needed educational lesson on executive privilege.
Watch the back-and-forth exchange below:
(Source: Fox News)
Maloney, a far-left Democrat, began his questioning by rehashing the dubious allegations contained in the whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump.
He then turned his attention to how Maguire had handled the complaint.
“You’re 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 to go to the president’s men and women at the White House 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 questions about your character. I’ve read your bio. I have some questions about your decisions and the judgment in those decisions. See any conflicts here?”
Maguire responded by first briefly chuckling and then trying to explain the facts to the Democrat lawmaker.
“Congressman, I have a lot of leadership experience. I do,” he said somewhat angrily. “And as you said, it came to me very early on in this. And the fact that I am the acting DNI … that this came to my attention involving the president of the United States, and the important matter of this, in the past, as I’ve said before, I’ve always worked with legal counsel. Because of the magnitude of this decision, as a naval officer for years, I just thought it would be prudent.”
The DNI had tried repeatedly earlier in the hearing to explain to stubborn Democrats like Maloney that he’d sought out counsel from the executive and judicial branches after receiving the whistleblower complaint to ensure that sharing the complaint wouldn’t violate executive privilege.
But just as with Maloney’s peers, including committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff, the director’s point flew right over his head.
— @HerbertReed on Parler (@Herbert_L_Reed) September 26, 2019
“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? Was that prudent?” the congressman asked.
“I have to work with the situation as it is, Congressman,” Maguire replied. “Only the White House can determine or waive executive privilege. There’s no one else to go to. And as far as a second opinion, my only avenue for that was to go to the Department of Justice Legal Counsel.”
Maloney responded by suggesting that the whistleblower complaint would have never been brought to Congress’s attention had it not been for the Department of Justice inspector general.
“You understand, sir, that if unchallenged by your own inspector general, your decision — that prudence — would have prevented these serious allegations from ever reaching the Congress?” he said.
While true, evidence now suggests that may have been the best path forward. Why? Because the whistleblower complaint is reportedly teeming with “third-hand gossip and outright falsehoods.”
“The complaint, which was delivered to the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees, follows the same template used in the infamous and debunked Clinton campaign-funded Steele dossier,” Sean Davis of The Federalist has noted.
“Rather than provide direct evidence that was witnessed or obtained firsthand by the complainant, the document instead combines gossip from various anonymous individuals, public media reports, and blatant misstatements of fact and law in service of a narrative that is directly contradicted by underlying facts. A footnote in the document even boasts about its use of ‘ample open-source information.'”
Given confirmation by the Department of Justice IG that the whistleblower boasts “political bias,” it seems that the complaint should have been vetted much further before reaching the light of day. Had it received the proper scrutiny beforehand, in fact, it may have ultimately been dismissed as a “hoax,” as some have described it:
Now that the “whistleblower” hoax is debunked it’s time to move on the REAL scandal ?? the Obama administration/Joe Biden Ukrainian collusion and the pay for play scandals.
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) September 25, 2019
Here we go. Another 4-5 hour congressional hearing spent on a Democrat Whistleblower HOAX. Americans who look at Dems to get the truth see:
No indictments/prosecutions. No trials. No judges. Just Dems talking about how much they hate Trump; covering up for Obama, Hillary & Biden.
— Christian Lamar (@christianllamar) September 26, 2019
The so called “Whistleblower” is not a Whistleblower because admitted in paragraph 21 on CNN article, the person has no 1st hand knowledge of the call.. it’s based on a rumor. Total fraud. Another hoax that will blow up in their face pic.twitter.com/VaOG8RsJGh
— Melissa A. (@TheRightMelissa) September 24, 2019
“It’s all a hoax. It’s all a big hoax.”
President Trump says he “fully supports transparency” on the congressional review of a whistleblower complaint against him. pic.twitter.com/s9CATfUAPm
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) September 26, 2019
Maloney concluded his questioning by asking Maguire whether he’d ever spoken to the president about the complaint.
“Congressman Maloney, my conversation with the president of the United States is privileged,” the DNI replied to no avail.
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