WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — The House Intelligence Committee heard testimony from the acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire on Thursday.
Lawmakers wanted answers from Maguire about the whistleblower complaint reportedly involving President Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. They also want to know why that complaint was kept from Congress.
“Why you stood silent when an intelligence professional under your care was ridiculed by the president,” said Congressman Adam Schiff.
House Democrats said Maguire should have brought the whistleblower complaint directly to Congress.
“You got a complaint involving the President of the United States and also the United States Attorney General. I disagree with some of the decisions you made,” said Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vermont).
The intel chief admitted consulting with the White House, first citing concerns about protecting President Trump’s executive privilege.
“I was not legally required to transmit the material to the oversight committee under the whistleblower protection act,” Maguire said.
But Republicans including Congresswoman Elise Stefanik argue the whistleblower compliant relied on too much second-hand information.
“Do you know if the IG spoke with those White House officials? Do you know if he investigated the truthfulness of these allegations?” Stefanik asked.
Maguire said the Intelligence Community Inspector General and the whistleblower acted in good faith.
“I have every reason to believe that they have done everything by the book and followed the law,” he said.
Maguire said Congress must decide whether the complaint warrants further investigation. He urged Congress to address any attempts of foreign interference in U.S. elections.
“We know right now that there are foreign powers that are trying to get us to question whether or not our elections are valid,” Maguire said.
Maguire told Congress he doesn’t know who the whistleblower is but assured lawmakers that the whistleblower will be allowed to testify freely.