Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire threatened to resign if the Trump administration restricted what he could say in his upcoming congressional testimony, The Washington Post reported Wednesday citing current and former officials familiar with the matter.
Maguire is scheduled to appear before a House panel on Thursday to answer the House Intelligence Committee’s numerous questions about the bombshell whistleblower complaint that triggered an impeachment inquiry on Tuesday.
Both the White House and Maguire himself, however, dispute the claim that the acting director threatened to quit if he were muzzled at the hearing.
“At no time have I considered resigning my position since assuming this role on Aug. 16, 2019,” Maguire said in a statement. “I have never quit anything in my life, and I am not going to start now.”
In a tweet responding to the Post’s scoop, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham wrote, “This is actually not true. And we would have gone on the record to say that if the [Post] had given us more than 6 minutes (literally) to respond.” Trump also knocked the report, saying Wednesday in a news conference, “The Amazon Washington Post just put out a fake article that [Maguire] was going to quit.”
A member of the intelligence community had submitted the complaint to warn officials that President Donald Trump may have violated campaign finance law in talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The Trump administration initially responded to the whirlwind of reports by shielding the complaint ― said to focus on a call between Trump and Zelensky ― from members of Congress. But its strategy began to crumble this week.
On Wednesday, the summary of a July 25 call between the leaders produced by the White House confirmed the president had asked Zelensky to “do us a favor, though.” Trump said Zelensky should open an investigation into Joe Biden, the political foe Trump sees as his biggest threat in the 2020 election, and also investigate a conspiracy theory related to the 2016 hack of Democratic National Committee servers by Russia.
He appeared to link the offer of U.S. military aid to Ukraine to the requests, having asked for “a favor” directly after Zelensky spoke about needing more anti-tank missiles.
Contents of the White House’s summary left even some Republicans on the hill with serious concerns.
Yet Trump and his personal attorney, the former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have vehemently denied any wrongdoing. Giuliani was drawn straight into the melee himself, along with Attorney General William Barr, when Trump told Zelensky to speak with both men about the requested favors.
As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced a formal impeachment inquiry on Trump Tuesday, she also issued a clear directive to Maguire, demanding that he turn over the full whistleblower complaint to congressional intelligence committees.
“He will have to choose whether to break the law or honor his responsibility to the Constitution,” Pelosi said.
Maguire previously asserted in a statement that he was “committed to protecting whistleblowers and ensuring every complaint is handled appropriately.”