Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe came to the defense of Acting Director of National Intelligence John Maguire at Thursday’s House Intelligence hearing on the much-debated phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that led to a whistleblower complaint.
Ratcliffe took issue with the fact that multiple Democrats have accused Maguire of breaking the law. The congressman quoted both Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi, accusing Maguire of being part of a coverup. He also mentioned Maguire’s extensive military background and laid out facts that Democrats seem to be avoiding.
Ratcliffe said Maguire was accused of a crime “despite the fact that after [your military service] you became acting DNI [director of national intelligence] 23 days after the Trump-Zelensky call. And four days after the whistleblower made his or her complaint, you were subpoenaed before this committee after being publicly accused of committing a crime.”
After Maguire confirmed that this was all true, Ratcliffe said, “You were publicly accused of committing a crime, you were also falsely accused of committing a crime.”
The congressman then read an official opinion from the Justice Department saying that the whistleblower complaint was not urgent, meaning Maguire never covered anything up. He was simply following the opinion of the Justice Department.
“That’s not an opinion from Bill Barr. That’s an opinion from the Justice Department’s ethics lawyers,” Ratcliffe said, adding that the lawyers who drafted the opinion are “career officials that serve Republicans and Democrats.”
“Here today, I haven’t heard anything close to an apology for that. Welcome to the House of Representatives with Democrats in charge,” Ratcliffe added.
Pelosi previously said that the whistleblower complaint was being withheld from Congress in violation of the law — the complaint has now been released by the White House, along with a transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky.
“Reports of a reliable whistleblower complaint regarding the President’s communications with a foreign leader raise grave, urgent concerns for our national security. We must be sure that the President and his Administration are conducting our national security and foreign policy in the best interest of the American people, not the President’s personal interest,” Pelosi said in a public statement.
“The Director of National Intelligence Inspector General, who was appointed by President Trump, has said that the complaint is both of ‘urgent concern and credible,’ and its disclosure ‘relates to one of the most significant and important of the Director of National Intelligence’s responsibilities to the American people,'” Pelosi added, which flies in the face of the Justice Department opinion Ratcliffe presented at Thursday’s hearing.
Schiff also previously suggested a coverup — not a surprise from a man who literally read made up dialogue from the phone call at Thursday’s hearing.
“A Director of National Intelligence has never prevented a properly submitted whistleblower complaint that the [inspector general] determined to be credible and urgent from being provided to the congressional intelligence committees. Never,” Schiff said in a statement. “This raises serious concerns about whether White House, Department of Justice, or other executive branch officials are trying to prevent a legitimate whistleblower complaint from reaching its intended recipient, the Congress, in order to cover up serious misconduct.”
Now that the whistleblower complaint and phone call transcript are available, it’s really hard to take Democrats seriously in this matter.
As Ratcliffe says, the whistleblower complaint is in no way concerning or urgent as the whistleblower is “not a direct witness” to anything. Ratcliffe stated much of the complaint was second or thirdhand information pulled from colleagues and mainstream media sources.
“Much like the Steele dossier, the allegations in the whistleblower’s complaints are based on thirdhand mainstream media sources rather than firsthand information,” Ratcliffe said.
He added before yielding his time, “If the Democrats are intent on impeaching the president for lawful conduct then be my guest.”
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