Whistleblower alleges White House coverup

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Amanda Wills, Mike Hayes and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 8:37 p.m. ET, September 26, 2019
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10:00 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

Spy chief: The whistleblower "acted in good faith"


Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire said he believes both the whistleblower who filed the complaint against President Trump and the inspector general who handled it "acted in good faith."

"First, I want to stress I believe the whistle-blower and the inspector general have acted in good faith throughout," he said. "I have every reason to believe that they have done everything by the book and followed the law."
10:45 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

Spy chief says he couldn't share complaint earlier because of executive privilege


Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire said the whistleblower's complaint centered around a phone call between President Trump and a foreign leader — a kind of conversation that is "typically subject to executive privilege."

He said executive privilege is a "privilege that I do not have the authority to wave."

"Because of that, we were unable to immediately share the details of the complaint with this committee," he said.

10:01 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

Maguire: "I want to make it clear that I have upheld my responsibility"


In his opening remarks, acting spy chief Maguire said he has done his duty and defended the whistleblower.

"I want to make it clear that I have upheld my responsibility to follow the law every step of the way in the matter that is before us today. I want to also state my support for the whistleblower and the rights and the laws."
10:44 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

Intelligence chief: "I am not partisan, and I am not political"


Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, said he's "not political" and cited his oath to protect the US Constitution.

"I am not partisan, and I am not political," he said.

He continued:

"I believe in a life of service and I'm honored to be a public servant. I served under eight presidents while I was in uniform. I have taken the oath to the constitution 11 times. The first time when I was sworn into the United States Navy in 1974 and nine times during my subsequent promotions in the United States Navy ... The oath is sacred. It's a foundation of our Constitution. The oath, to me, means not only that I swear a true faith and allegiance to that sacred document, but more importantly I view it as a covenant I have with my work force that I lead and every American that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of my office.

10:01 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

Intel IG warned conduct in complaint could "potentially expose" Trump to national security risk


In a cover letter accompanying the whistleblower's complaint that ICIG Michael Atkinson wrote that the alleged conduct "would also potentially expose" Trump "to serious national security and counterintelligence risks with respect to foreign intelligence services aware of such alleged conduct. 

Atkinson also writes that the whistleblower's complaint amounts to a "serious or flagrant problem [or] abuse" under US statutes regarding the inspector general's office.

The comments were made in a letter sent to the the Acting DNI on August 26. Atkinson explains the reasoning behind his determination that the information amounted to an "urgent concern" writing.

10:43 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

The Director of National Intelligence was just sworn in


Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire was just sworn in for his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.

9:29 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

Rep. Nunes says the whistleblower complaint relies on "hearsay"

Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, said the whistleblower complaint "relied on hearsay" during his opening remarks before the acting DNI's testimony.

"The complaint relied on hearsay evidence provided by the whistleblower. The inspector general did not know the contents of the phone call at issue. The inspector general found the whistleblower displayed arguable political bias against trump. The Department of Justice investigated the complaint and determined no action was warranted," Nunes said.

He added that, "Once again, this supposed scandal ends up being nothing like what we were told."

10:42 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

GOP congressman accuses Democrats of "information warfare operation"

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, accused Democrats of launching an "information warfare operation" against President Trump

"I want to congratulate the Democrats on the rollout of their latest information warfare operation against the President and their extraordinary ability to once again enlist the mainstream media in their campaign," he said in his opening statements at today's hearing.

He claimed that the White House transcript of the July call "debunked" accusations of presidential wrongdoing.

9:22 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

Whistleblower confused by Trump's Crowdstrike obsession

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

The whistleblower expresses confusion about Trump’s references to CrowdStrike during his calls with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Some context: The Democratic National Committee hired CrowdStrike in 2016 to investigate hacks to its computers, which were later blamed on the Russian government. 

In the call, Trump mentioned the US cybersecurity firm and said, “the server, they say Ukraine has it.” Trump also encouraged Zelensky to “find out what happened” with the server.

“I do not know why the President associates these servers with Ukraine,” the whistleblower wrote in a footnote in their letter, which was addressed to Congress.

The whistleblower added that Trump had previously connected the DNC server to Ukraine in television interviews.  

Trump’s interest in CrowdStrike and the DNC server, more than three years after the hacks, is part of a larger effort to undermine the notion that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to help him win. He has repeatedly rejected the assessment from CrowdStrike, which was later confirmed by US intelligence agencies, that Russia was behind the DNC hacks and leaks.