The inspector general of the intelligence community found indications of political bias on the part of the person who filed a complaint alleging misconduct on the part of Republican President Donald Trump, confirming an earlier report.
The inspector general’s preliminary review found “some indicia of an arguable political bias on the part of the Complainant in favor of a rival political candidate,” the office said in a letter (pdf) sent to Joseph Maguire, acting director of national intelligence (DNI).
The letter was unclassified and released to the public on Sept. 26.
It was initially referenced by Steven Engel, assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, who wrote a memo explaining wh Maguire did not have to send the complaint to Congress. The memo (pdf) was written on Sept. 24 and released to the public on Sept. 25.
The “rival political candidate” was not named and the inspector general of the intelligence community (ICIG) still found that the allegations appeared credible.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic presidential candidates have accused Trump of improperly investigating Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to probe Biden’s role in pressuring the Ukrainian government in 2014 to dismiss a prosecutor who was investigating Burisma, a company that Biden’s son Hunter Biden served on the board for.
Hunter Biden served on the board until early this year.
The White House released a transcript of the phone call on Wednesday.
The ICIG ruled that the so-called whistleblower complaint should be forwarded to Congress even though the complainant did not have direct knowledge of the conversation.
“The complainant alleged that unnamed ‘White House officials’ had expressed concern about the content of a telephone call between the President and a foreign leader. According to the ICIG, statements made by the President during the call could be viewed as soliciting a foreign campaign contribution in violation of the campaign-finance laws. In the ICIG’s view, the complaint addresses an ‘urgent concern’ for purposes of triggering statutory procedures that require expedited reporting of agency misconduct to the congressional intelligence committees,” Engel wrote in the memo.
“Under the applicable statute, if the ICIG transmits such a complaint to the DNI, the DNI has seven days to forward it to the intelligence committees.”
However, Maguire’s office found that the complaint does not fall under the definition of “urgent concern.”
“The alleged misconduct is not an ‘urgent concern’ within the meaning of the statute because it does not concern ‘the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity’ under the authority of the DNI,” Engel wrote.
Democrats have said Maguire’s office should have sent the complaint to congressional intelligence committees for review.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced an impeachment inquiry into Trump late Tuesday over the complaint.
In a letter to the House on Sunday, Pelosi said that Maguire would appear before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday in an open hearing.
“At that time, we expect him to obey the law and turn over the whistleblower’s full complaint to the Committee. We also expect that he will establish a path for the whistleblower to speak directly to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees as required by law,” she said, accusing the Trump administration of “blocking” Maguire “from providing Congress with the whistleblower complaint.”