Adam Schiff vows probe of new whistleblower complaint of Russian meddling; DHS responds, bring it

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Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff claimed there is a “new whistleblower complaint” about alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election and that the Trump administration “altered intel” at a risk to national security.

With just weeks to go before Election Day, Schiff launched another “hoax” investigation on Wednesday as he announced that the House Intelligence Committee received a whistleblower complaint claiming that intelligence reports on Russian interference were suppressed by White House and Department of Homeland Security officials.

(Image: PBS screenshot)

“We’ve received a whistleblower complaint alleging DHS suppressed intel reports on Russian election interference, altered intel to match false Trump claims and made false statements to Congress,” the House Intel Chairman tweeted Wednesday.

“This puts our national security at risk. We will investigate,” he added.

“The whistleblower retaliation complaint filed by former Acting Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis Brian Murphy outlines grave and disturbing allegations that senior White House and Department of Homeland Security officials improperly sought to politicize, manipulate, and censor intelligence in order to benefit President Trump politically,” Schiff said in a statement. “This puts our nation and its security at grave risk.”

Murphy claimed that he was instructed by DHS chief Chad Wolf to withhold reports on Russian election meddling because they “made the president look bad,” according to the complaint which claimed the order originated from national security adviser Robert O’Brien.  He alleged that he refused to focus more on interference by China and Iran because “doing so would put the country in substantial and specific danger.”

The former FBI agent and Marine Corps veteran was demoted in August and is reportedly looking to be reinstated to his position, according to the Associated Press.

O’Brien refuted the claims as “absurd” on Wednesday, telling Fox News anchor Bret Baier that he had never even heard of Murphy.

“No, I’ve never even heard of this guy. I don’t know who he is, and it’s hearsay,” O’Brien told “Special Report” Wednesday. “He says he heard it from somebody else, and in polite society that’s the sort of thing that used to be frowned on. Now it gets news coverage. It’s totally false. I don’t think there’s anybody that’s been tougher on Russia in this administration than I have been or the president has been, for that matter.”


(Source: Fox News)

The whistleblower complaint, according to the House Intelligence Committee, includes a “disturbing pattern of misconduct” by senior officials in the Trump administration “relating to the activities of DHS’s I&A—an element of the U.S. Intelligence Community which Mr. Murphy led from May until August of this year, before he was reassigned to DHS’s Management Directorate, and where he previously served as Principal Deputy Under Secretary beginning in March 2018.”

“The complaint alleges repeated violations of law and regulations, abuses of authority, attempted censorship of intelligence analysis, and improper administration of an intelligence program related to Russian efforts to influence the U.S. elections,” the committee said, according to Fox News.

Mark Zaid, the attorney who also represented the whistleblower who sparked last year’s impeachment inquiry of the president, said in a statement that Murphy had “followed proper lawful whistleblower rules in reporting serious allegations of misconduct against DHS leadership, particularly involving political distortion of intelligence analysis and retaliation.”

Schiff claimed that Murphy’s “serious” allegations included officials allegedly “suppressing intelligence reports on Russia’s election interference and making false statements to Congress about terrorism threats at our southern border, to modifying intelligence assessments to match the president’s rhetoric on Antifa and minimizing the threat posed by white supremacists.”

“We have requested Mr. Murphy’s testimony before the Committee, pursuant to subpoena if necessary, alongside other already scheduled interviews with other DHS officials,” the California Democrat added, alleging that the recent scaling back of in-person election security briefings to Congress was really a “bid to prevent informing the American people and its elected representatives about Russian efforts to help President Trump and hurt Joe Biden.”

“We will get to the bottom of this, expose any and all misconduct or corruption to the American people, and put a stop to the politicization of intelligence,” Schiff said.

The DHS fired back in a statement, denying the allegations and adding that it “looks forward to the results of any resulting investigation and we expect it will conclude that no retaliatory action was taken against Mr. Murphy.”

“As Acting Secretary Wolf outlined in his State of the Homeland Address today, DHS is working to address all threats to the homeland regardless of ideology,” the statement to CBS News said. “The Acting Secretary is focused on thwarting election interference from any foreign powers and attacks from any extremist group.”

Republicans quickly fired back, calling out Schiff on his track record.

“Yet another whistleblower complaint pushed into the limelight by Schiff, this one coming shortly before a presidential election – anyone who takes this at face value is ignoring Schiff’s long record of perpetuating hoaxes that are extremely similar to this,” a House Republican source told Fox News.

Dan Bongino summed it all up in one brutal tweet, and social media generally gave the Democrat a collective eye roll.

**Note: This post was updated to include the comments and Fox News video clip from national security adviser Robert O’Brien. **

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