The Hill's 12:30 Report: Intel chief defends handling of whistleblower complaint

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*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.

 

The Hill's 12:30 Report: Intel chief defends handling of whistleblower complaint | House panel releases declassified complaint | What to know about the document | Schiff calls it 'most graphic evidence yet' against Trump | Nunes rips Dems and their 'media assets' | Trump accuses Dems of 'trying to destroy the Republican Party' | How impeachment fight could shake up Senate races | Warren volunteer dies in Iowa car crash | Princess Beatrice is engaged | National Pancake Day

  

NEWS THIS MORNING

Here it is. The declassified whistleblower complaint:

The House Intelligence Committee released a declassified version of the whistleblower complaint that sparked House Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry. http://bit.ly/2mRH3Vu

What's in the complaint: The official wrote that he or she received information from multiple government officials that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE was "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign government in the 2020 U.S. election." 

The complaint named names: "The President's personal lawyer, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiBolton book alleges Trump tied Ukraine aid freeze to Biden investigations: NYT Trump questions why NPR exists after Pompeo clashes with reporter Cotton: Democrats are 'upset that their witnesses haven't said what they want them to say' MORE, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General Barr also appears to be involved as well." 

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Timing: The whistleblower complaint was released roughly 30 minutes before acting Director of National Security Joseph Maguire started his testimony.

Who is the whistleblower?: We still don't know.

Read the whistleblower complaint: http://bit.ly/2ljUTiS

 

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT THE INSPECTOR GENERAL AT THE CENTER OF THIS DRAMA:

Michael Atkinson, a Trump appointee, has been the inspector general of the intelligence committee for about a year. Here is more about him: http://bit.ly/2lYwKyJ

 

It's Thursday of the never-ending week. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to cmartel@thehill.com -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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HAPPENING THIS MORNING

Talk to us:

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is testifying today before the House Intelligence Committee on the whistleblower complaint that led to the House beginning an impeachment inquiry. 

Livestream of the hearing: https://cs.pn/2lYiYw0

Live blog with updates: http://bit.ly/2lXGxF6

  

HEARING HIGHLIGHTS:

Maguire on the whistleblower: "I think the whistleblower did the right thing. I think he followed the law every step of the way." http://bit.ly/2mYOxWs

Maguire on his communications with Trump: "I will not divulge privileged conversations that I have with the president," Maguire said. But he did say that the White House did not ask him to assert executive privilege.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffWhite House spokesperson: Media's 'obsession' with impeachment 'won't let up' Trump rips Chuck Todd for 'softball' Schiff interview Democrats, Republicans tussle over witnesses as vote approaches MORE (D-Calif.) on Trump: Schiff said the whistleblower complaint is the "most graphic evidence yet" that the president abused the oath of office. Trump "sacrificed our national security and the Constitution for his personal political benefit" during his discussion with the president of Ukraine, Schiff said. http://bit.ly/2mXTOO2

From Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesDemocratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' House Democrats release second batch of Parnas materials Democratic lawmaker says Nunes threatened to sue him over criticism MORE (Calif.), the top Republican on the committee: "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." http://bit.ly/2mV3gSr

Another Republican on the committee had a differing opinion: Rep. Mike TurnerMichael Ray TurnerCNN analyst says GOP lawmaker 'mansplained' to her on-air Meadows says Republican colleagues 'wrong' for suggesting Trump's phone call was inappropriate Republicans preview impeachment defense strategy MORE (R-Ohio) said, "I've read the complaint and I've read the transcript of the conversation with the president and the president of the Ukraine. Concerning that conversation, I want to say to the president: This is not OK. That conversation is not okay. And I think it's disappointing to the American public when they read the transcript." http://bit.ly/2mYLiyE

  

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: 

Who is in the audience: "DNI hearing about the whistleblower complaint. The room is mostly full of young Cap Hill staffers/interns who want to see history. The hallway is full of reporters." (Via PBS's Lisa DesjardinsPhoto of some of the young people in the room: http://bit.ly/2mPsZM5

Photos of the cameras set up hours before the hearing started: http://bit.ly/2mY47ly

Organized chaos: Here's what it looked like outside the hearing room this morning. Photo: http://bit.ly/2lla23p

Before the hearing started: President Trump tweeted, "THE DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO DESTROY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND ALL THAT IT STANDS FOR. STICK TOGETHER, PLAY THEIR GAME, AND FIGHT HARD REPUBLICANS. OUR COUNTRY IS AT STAKE!" http://bit.ly/2ll9xq3

  

IN THE WHITE HOUSE

The stocks will crash. You want that?:

This morning, President Trump said the markets will crash if he is impeached. http://bit.ly/2mT48qK

He tweeted: "If they actually did this the markets would crash. Do you think it was luck that got us to the best Stock Market and Economy in our history. It wasn't!" http://bit.ly/2nxWX7T

 

THE IMPEACHMENT FIGHT COULD ALSO AFFECT TRUMP'S TRADE DEAL:

Here's how: http://bit.ly/2m1ficW

  

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

A Trump trial is bad news bears for Senate races:
Republicans and Democrats in the Senate are worried about an impeachment trial in the Senate as it could further polarize the electorate. http://bit.ly/2lQ3Y3p

It could hurt Republicans in a few states: It could be "a troubling development for Republicans running in states won by Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP senator says idea that Ukraine interfered in US election is 'not a conspiracy theory' Cotton: Democrats are 'upset that their witnesses haven't said what they want them to say' Trump's troubles won't end with a Senate acquittal MORE in the 2016 presidential race such as Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerDemocrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Senate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses Tensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum MORE (R-Colo.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell Impeachment manager dismisses concerns Schiff alienated key Republican votes: 'This isn't about any one person' Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court MORE (R-Maine)."

But it could help Republicans in a few states: "For GOP candidates running in states where Trump has a higher approval rating, such as Sens. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisProgressive group launches campaign targeting vulnerable GOP senators on impeachment Senate braces for bitter fight over impeachment rules Juan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump MORE (N.C.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstSchiff pushes back: Defense team knows Trump is guilty Schiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Grassley signs USMCA, sending it to Trump's desk MORE (Iowa) and Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Democrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell Bolton book alleges Trump tied Ukraine aid freeze to Biden investigations: NYT MORE (Ky.), the polarized electorate could help drive Republicans to the polls." 

An example of a Democrat that could be affected: "Impeachment proceedings could spell doom for Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat up for reelection in Alabama, one of the nation's most pro-Trump states." 

How this could play out: http://bit.ly/2lQ3Y3p

  

Rest in peace: 

Zachary Crombie Presberg, a 22-year-old volunteer for Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Poll: Biden leads in Iowa ahead of caucuses The Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint MORE's (D-Mass.) presidential campaign, died in a car accident in Iowa. http://bit.ly/2ns85mp

From Warren: "Bruce and I are heartbroken over Zac's passing and offer our deepest condolences to his parents, family and friends. Through his dedication and volunteerism, Zac represented the very best of us." 

  

NOTABLE TWEETS

A true public servant:

  

ON TAP

The House and Senate are in. President Trump is heading back to Washington, D.C., this afternoon. Vice President Pence is in Indiana. 

10:40 a.m. EDT: President Trump spoke at a joint fundraising committee breakfast in New York City.

11:15 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence and Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats turn to obstruction charge The Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power Pence's office quashes talk of snub from Prince Charles MORE land in Indianapolis, Ind.

12:15 p.m. EDT: Roll call votes in the Senate. The Senate's full schedule today: http://bit.ly/2mRguQ9 

1:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump gets back to the White House.

4–5 p.m. EDT: The House votes. The House's full schedule todayhttp://bit.ly/2mYCAA6

  

WHAT TO WATCH

11 a.m. EDT: Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence held a press briefing. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2mWM9j2

1 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence discusses trade at MacAllister Machinery in Indiana. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2ljgqYX

  

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Pancake Day.

 

Another royal wedding coming up!:

Princess Beatrice is engaged to her boyfriend, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi! https://bbc.in/2n0vEm3

Yeah, yeah I know why you're clicking -- here's an up-close photo of the ring: https://pge.sx/2mQMsvT

For context: Beatrice is ninth in line to the throne. What to know about her: http://bit.ly/2lRkOim

 

And because it's been a long week and this made me smile, here's a dog-toddler band coming to concert venues near you: http://bit.ly/2lpi0Zu