Democrats in Congress demanded more information from the Director of National Intelligence on Thursday about an 'urgent' whistle blower complaint from inside the U.S. Intelligence Community, which the Trump Administration has refused to detail for key lawmakers, while the President said he had done nothing wrong.
"Another Fake News story out there," President Donald Trump tweeted from the White House. "It never ends!"
In a series of tweets, the President ridiculed the idea that he would say something inappropriate, or give away confidential intelligence information to another world leader.
"I would only do what is right anyway," as the President finished with a familiar tweet.
"Presidential Harassment!" he wrote.
But in a letter from the Inspector General of the U.S. Intelligence Community, internal watchdog Michael Atkinson told lawmakers that an action - defined under law as an 'urgent concern' - had been brought to his attention by an unnamed person, but was never forwarded to the Congress as required by law.
In his letter, which was released by the House Intelligence Committee, Atkinson gave no details about the allegation, or any hints of who was involved - but made clear, he had decided to alert the House and Senate Intelligence Committees because of the serious nature of the information involved.
"I determined that the Complainant's disclosure met the definition of an urgent concern," Atkinson wrote, describing it as a 'serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of the law or Executive order' - involving classified information.
In a second letter released by the House Intelligence Committee, Atkinson said he was at an 'impasse' with the Acting DNI over action on the whistle blower complaint.
“The Director of National Intelligence has made the unprecedented decision not to share the complaint with Congress,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), as he emerged from an over four hour closed door briefing with the internal watchdog of the Intelligence Community.
Schiff shared no details with reporters - indicating that lawmakers themselves still don't know anything about the alleged incident, which the Washington Post reported on Thursday may have involved a phone call between the President and another world leader.
Just asked Schiff why IG couldn't talk today about substance of whistleblower complaint or WH involvement, and he said DNI and DOJ won't let the IG talk about it. "This shows someone is trying to manipulate the system to keep information about an urgent matter from the Congress." pic.twitter.com/q3cyg4zt36— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 19, 2019
Schiff has already set a public hearing for next Thursday with the Acting Director of National Intelligence on the matter.
“I believe that there is an effort to prevent this information getting to Congress,” Schiff told reporters, as he was pressed on what was at issue.
“At one level or another, it likely involves the President or people around him,” Schiff said.