Democrats Smell Blood After Whistleblower Says Trump Made Troubling 'Promise' To Foreign Leader

Congressional Democrats led by Rep. Adam Schiff are salivating over an August 12 whistleblower complaint by an intelligence officer over a 'troubling promise' President Trump allegedly made to a foreign leader during a phone call. 

It is not clear which foreign leader Trump was speaking with, or what was promised, according to the Washington Post - however the complaint itself has given the president's opponents a brand new 'gotcha' to chase in their quest to bring Trump down. 

What's more, acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire has been refusing to share details about the phone call with lawmakers.

Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson determined that the complaint was credible and troubling enough to be considered a matter of “urgent concern,” a legal threshold that requires notification of congressional oversight committees.

But acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire has refused to share details about Trump’s alleged transgression with lawmakers, touching off a legal and political dispute that has spilled into public view and prompted speculation that the spy chief is improperly protecting the president. -WaPo

And as NBC News reports, over the last several days "the secret whistleblower complaint has been the subject of an increasingly acrimonious standoff between the acting intelligence chief and Schiff, who has demanded Maguire's testimony and a copy of the complaint." 

Maguire has agreed to testify publicly next week, Schiff announced Wednesday, saying in a statement that the Inspector General "determined that this complaint is both credible and urgent," adding "The committee places the highest importance on the protection of whistleblowers and their complaints to Congress."

The matter burst into public view Friday, when Schiff disclosed that an unspecified whistleblower complaint had been filed with the inspector general of the intelligence community, but was being withheld from his committee. That independent watchdog deemed the matter an “urgent concern” that he was required by law to turn over to the congressional intelligence committees.

But Maguire, after consulting with the Justice Department, overruled him, according to a series of letters between a DNI lawyer and Schiff that have been made public. -NBC News

According to Schiff, withholding the information from the House Intelligence Committee he chairs is illegal - and has raised questions over a potential coverup

Trump, meanwhile, tweeted on Thursday: "Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself," adding "Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially “heavily populated” call."

Piecing it together:

The Washington Post noted in their report that President Trump had conversations or interactions with "at least five foreign leaders in the preceding five weeks," including a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 31. 

In fact, here's Trump's schedule since June 11, per the Post (which is absolutely creaming in their pencil-fit jeans over this story right now). 

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June 11: Trump says he has received another “beautiful” letter from Kim. Trump also responds to news that Kim’s assassinated half brother was a CIA asset by saying he would tell Kim, “I wouldn’t let that happen under my auspices.”

June 18: Trump holds a call with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.

June 27-29: Trump attends the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan. There, he holds bilateral meetings with foreign officials including Xi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

June 30: Trump meets with Kim in the demilitarized zone and briefly becomes the first sitting U.S. president to set foot on North Korean soil.

July 1: Trump holds a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron, which covers topics including Iran, the G-20 and Trump’s meeting with Kim, according to a readout from the White House.

July 9: Trump meets with the emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani

July 18: Trump meets with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

July 22: Trump meets with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

July 28: Trump announces Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats will resign in August.

July 31: Trump holds a phone call with Putin. The call is first reported by the Russians. The White House doesn’t confirm it till late that evening, saying Trump “expressed concern over the vast wildfires afflicting Siberia” and, “The leaders also discussed trade between the two countries.” The Russians, in a much more substantial readout, claim Trump and Putin also spoke about restoring full relations one day.

July 31: Trump meets with President Khaltmaagiin Battulga of Mongolia.

Aug. 2: The United States officially withdraws from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia, as had been previously announced.

Aug. 2: Trump announces a trade deal alongside European Union leaders Stavros Lambrinidis (the E.U. ambassador to the United States) and Jani Raappana (deputy head of mission for the Finnish presidency of the Council of the E.U.).

Aug. 8: After Trump’s pick of Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Tex.) to replace Coats falls through, Trump announces Joseph Maguire would take on the role in an acting capacity. In doing so, he bypassed Sue Gordon, who had been Coats’s No. 2 at DNI and was a career intelligence official with bipartisan support. Gordon would also resign.

Aug. 9: A brief letter from Gordon to Trump is released. It makes her disappointment clear, “I offer this letter as an act of respect & patriotism, not preference,” she writes. “You should have your team.

Aug. 12: Whistleblower files complaint.

Sept. 13: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) subpoenas Maguire to compel him to disclose the whistleblower complaint. Schiff says the complaint was determined to be “credible” by Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, but doesn’t say much more.

Sept. 17: Maguire says he will not testify or hand over the whistleblower complaint. Schiff said Maguire told him he couldn’t “because he is being instructed not to, that this involved a higher authority, someone above.”

Sept. 18: The Post reports the complaint involves Trump’s communications with a foreign leader and some kind of “promise” that was made

***

Did Trump offer to do something after the 2020 election when he'd have more flexibility or something?

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