Live coverage: House panel to hear about whistleblower complaint

Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire is set to testify Thursday morning before the House Intelligence Committee about a whistleblower's complaint that helped trigger a formal impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE.


The Hill will be providing updates as the hearing unfolds beginning at 9 a.m.

Schiff concludes hearing, says he thinks Maguire 'acted in good faith'

12:25 p.m.

Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse Democrats want to silence opposing views, not 'fake news' White House defends not sanctioning Saudi crown prince over Khashoggi What good are the intelligence committees? MORE (D-Calif.) concluded the hearing, which lasted roughly three hours, by stating that he disagrees with Maguire’s decisions but believes the DNI acted “in good faith.”

Schiff said while he believes Maguire is a good and an “honorable man,” he voiced concern that the handling of this disclosure will send a message to other whistleblowers that this process may not work, which he warned could prevent the “most serious complaints” from reaching Congress.

“I want to thank the whistleblower for their courage,” he said, while appealing to the other officials with such knowledge to show the “same kind of courage” this other whistleblower has shown. 

— Olivia Beavers

Nunes says Intelligence Committee not 'the appropriate venue' for Democrats to impeach president


Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesRepublican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC What good are the intelligence committees? CPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be MORE (R-Calif.), the committee's ranking member, blasted Democrats, accusing them of using the Intelligence panel as a platform to impeach Trump.

"I would just encourage my colleagues on the other side of the aisle that if they want to impeach the president, they can go to the House floor and call for a vote," Nunes said in his closing remarks, after congratulating Maguire for "surviving" what he described as Democrat's legal wordplay.

The top Republican on the panel added that the Intelligence Committee is not "the appropriate venue" for Democrats to try to impeach the president.

The matter, since it relates to the DNI, falls within the jurisdiction of the Intelligence panel. The House Judiciary Committee, which has asked other panels to provide information as they conduct their impeachment inquiry, is handling the issue of whether to introduce articles of impeachment against the president.

— Olivia Beavers

Castro grills Maguire on call’s relevance to intelligence community

11:32 a.m. 

Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroState Department establishes chief officer in charge of diversity Texas governor faces criticism over handling of winter storm fallout DC bureau chief for The Intercept: Impeachment managers became 'like the dog who caught the car' when permitted to call witnesses MORE (D-Texas) grilled Maguire on whether it would be considered of interest to the intelligence community if Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot FireEye finds evidence Chinese hackers exploited Microsoft email app flaw since January Biden officials to travel to border amid influx of young migrants MORE, as alleged by the complaint.

“If you had knowledge, or the CIA had knowledge, that a government was going to investigate or drum up an investigation against a former vice president, that wouldn’t qualify as an intelligence matter?” Castro asked.

“That’s kind of a hypothetical question,” Maguire began before Castro interrupted to counter.

“That’s exactly what’s in the transcript, that’s what [Trump’s] asking for,” Castro said.

“The conversation was by the president to the president of the Ukraine, as you know,” Maguire responded.

“But that cannot be an ultimate shield against transparency, against accountability,” Castro said. “The president is not above the law. If your office or the inspector general is not able to investigate, then who is able to investigate?”

“As I mentioned several times before, although it did not come to the committee, the complaint was referred to the judicial department for criminal investigation, this was not swept under the rug,” Maguire said.  

— Zack Budryk 

GOP rep presses Maguire on if whistleblower separately filed complaint to House, Senate Intel panels

11:15 a.m.

Retiring Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHere are the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the Equality Act Sunday shows - COVID-19 dominates as grim milestone approaches Former Texas GOP rep: Trump should hold very little or no role in Republican Party MORE (R-Texas) pressed Maguire on whether the whistleblower had separately delivered their complaint to the heads of the House and Senate Intelligence committees while providing the disclosure to the intelligence community inspector general.

Maguire pushed back on the question, replying that he believes the whistleblower has acted in good faith and followed the law.

The question comes as some Republicans have questioned whether Schiff (D-Calif.) and Democrats had advance knowledge of the whistleblower complaint.

News that Maguire had not provided Congress with a whistleblower complaint that later was revealed to be about Trump's contacts with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky came shortly after House Democrats announced an investigation into efforts by Trump and other administration officials to pressure the Ukraine government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

— Olivia Beavers 

Maguire says he doesn’t know if Giuliani has a security clearance

11 a.m.

Maguire said that he doesn’t know whether Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Lawmakers face Capitol threat as senators line up votes for relief bill Giuliani again suspended from YouTube over false election claims Sacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech MORE has a security clearance after being pressed on Giuliani’s roll in pressuring Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden.

Rep. Mike QuigleyMichael (Mike) Bruce QuigleyOn The Money: Biden signals he'll move forward on COVID-19 relief without GOP | Economy adds 49K jobs in January | Minimum wage push sparks Democratic divisions House bill introduced to give gyms B in relief Biden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in funds MORE (D-Ill.) repeatedly asked Maguire whether it was improper for Giuliani to be conducting foreign policy by speaking with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.


Maguire referred questions about Giuliani’s role to the White House multiple times. 

At the beginning of Quigley’s questioning, Maguire said that security clearances are essential.

“In order to be able to handle sensitive information, whether it be diplomatic or intelligence, one must be vetted,” he said.

— Chris Mills Rodrigo

Stewart defends Maguire, said he acted 'honorably'

11 a.m.

Rep. Chris StewartChris StewartGeorgia AG rejects prosecutor's request for Rayshard Brooks case to be reassigned House Republicans ask for briefing on threats keeping National Guard in DC READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results MORE (R-Utah) sought to defend Maguire from what he deemed efforts to discredit the acting DNI.

Stewart, addressing Democrats directly at times, said Maguire acted "honorably." He added that Maguire did the right thing, following the law as he has seen fit.

Stewart's remarks echo the comments of other Republicans who say that in this environment, it is easy for someone with decades of experience as a career civil servant to have their reputation dragged through the mud.

Schiff, in response, said: "No is suggesting there is a dishonor here."

Still, Democrats have questioned Maguire's motives for initially deciding to withhold the whistleblower complaint that was deemed both credible and urgent by the DNI watchdog.

— Olivia Beavers

Maguire: ‘I did not’ threaten to resign if complaint was not released

10:50 a.m.

Maguire repeated his denial that he had threatened to resign if the White House did not provide the complaint to the committee after issuing a similar denial yesterday amid media reports.

“No, Congresswoman, I did not, and I know that that story has appeared quite a bit, and I issued a statement yesterday,” Maguire said before Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierBill introduced to create RBG monument on Capitol Hill Why labeling domestic extremists 'terrorists' could backfire Hillicon Valley: Google lifting ban on political ads | DHS taking steps on cybersecurity | Controversy over TV 'misinformation rumor mills' MORE (D-Calif.) continued her questioning.

“When you read the complaint were you shocked at all by what you read?” Speier added.

“I realized full well the importance of the allegation and I also have to tell you, when I saw that, I anticipated having to sit in front of some committee, sometime, to discuss it,” Maguire responded.

— Zack Burdyk

Maguire promises whistleblower will be able to testify 'fully and freely'

10:35 a.m.

Maguire promised that the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint brought attention to Trump’s call with Ukraine would be able to testify in front of Congress with full protections of the whistleblower act and without restrictions from the White House.

The promise came after Rep. Terri SewellTerrycina (Terri) Andrea SewellCongressional Black Caucus unveils '100 Day Plan' Six ways to visualize a divided America Lobbying world MORE (D-Ala.) pressed Maguire on whether the intelligence community’s handling of the complaint related to Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is creating a “chilling effect on others in government who may witness misconduct and now be scared to come forward and report.”

Maguire said he would work with Schiff to ensure the whistleblower, whose complaint was released to the public Thursday, could testify. 

Schiff stepped in during Sewell’s questioning to clarify whether he had Maguire's "assurance that the whistleblower will be able to testify fully and freely.”

“You do,” Maguire responded.

— Chris Mill Rodrigo 

GOP Rep. Turner: Trump conversation with Ukraine president 'is not OK'

10:33 a.m.

Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Thursday that President Trump's conversation with Ukraine's leader urging an investigation into Biden was "not OK."
Turner openly criticized Trump as he began his questioning of Maguire at a House Intelligence Committee hearing concerning a whistleblower complaint about Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
"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 OK. And I think it's disappointing to the American public when they read the transcript," Turner said.
— Cristina Marcos

Maguire: 'Nobody' made a deliberate decision to defy subpoena

10:30 a.m.

Maguire said Thursday that the executive branch did not make a decision to defy a Sept. 17 subpoena from the House Intelligence Committee for the whistleblower complaint at the heart of an impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

“The decision was taken to defy a subpoena of this Congress,” Rep. Jim HimesJames (Jim) Andres HimesHouse panel spars over GameStop frenzy, trading apps COVID-19 could complicate Pelosi's path to Speaker next year Democrats debate fate of Trump probes if Biden wins MORE (D-Conn.) said during the Thursday morning hearing. “Who made the decision to defy that subpoena of Sept. 17? Somebody said we will not abide by that subpoena.”

“Nobody did,” Maguire responded, saying that the disclosure of the complaint “is a very deliberate process, and finally it came to a head yesterday. ... It may have taken longer than you would have liked but you have the information.”

“The subpoena’s on your desk, it’s pretty clear what it asks for,” countered Himes. “You’re saying a decision was never made not to comply with that subpoena? I’m looking for the decisionmaking process to ignore a legal congressional subpoena.”

“I did not ignore it, I dealt with the chairman of this committee and asked for one more week,” Maguire responded. “It wasn’t something that it was ready to go but I was fully committed and I finally was able to provide that information.”

— Zack Burdyk 

Maguire declines to discuss conversations with Trump

10:14 a.m. 

Maguire declined to discuss his conversations with Trump while when asked by Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) if he ever spoke to Trump about the complaint. He noted they are privileged communications and said disclosing them would impair his relationship with Trump.

“I will not divulge privileged conversations that I have with the president,” Maguire said.

Maguire also said the White House didn’t ask him to assert executive privilege when asked about his conversations with Trump. 

— Morgan Chalfant

Maguire tells panel he thinks whistleblower did the 'right thing'

10:12 a.m.

Maguire told the panel that he believes the whistleblower did the "right thing" and that the individual followed the proper process of bringing forward allegations that relate to Trump asking Ukraine's leader to investigate one of his political rivals.

Maguire's statement contradicts Trump's recent claims that the complainant was "a political hack job."

"I think the whistleblower did the right thing," Maguire said to Schiff, adding that the complainant followed the whistleblower statute every step of the way.

Maguire also expressed his support of the whistleblower, deeming his complaint "credible" and "important" while stating that he does not know the identity of the individual.

— Olivia Beavers

Nunes grills Maguire on how president's calls became public knowledge

10:10 a.m. 

Nunes grilled Maguire on how calls between Trump and foreign leaders have become public knowledge.

He said there has been an "orchestrated effort over two weeks” to leak the whistleblower complaint focused on Trump's call where he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son Hunter.

Nunes said that the “media got the basics" of the call right before an edited transcript was released by the White House Wednesday, prompting questions about how that information became public. 

“I lead the intelligence committee, we know how to keep a secret," Maguire said, before stressing that the leak did not come from the intelligence community.

Nunes again asked about how calls between Trump and leaders, mentioning a call with Mexico's president, have become public knowledge, implying that the leak must have come from the intelligence community.

Maguire responded by noting the whistleblower complaint said 12 people, some of whom are not part of the intelligence community, listened to the conversation between Trump and Zelensky.

— Chris Mills Rodrigo 

Maguire defends decisions to not share the whistleblower complaint with Congress

9:40 a.m.

Maguire defended his decision to not share the whistleblower complaint with Congress, pointing to issues of executive privilege while stating that he has not ignored the allegations, which he has referred to the Justice Department for investigation.

"I want to stress that the whistleblower and the inspector general have acted in good faith throughout," he said during his opening remarks.

Maguire, who also expressed support for the whistleblower, continued to defend his decision not to share the complaint with the House and Senate Intelligence committees.

The acting DNI said the complaint related to conversations between the president and another foreign leader, which are usually subject to executive privilege. He consulted with the Justice Department about the complaint, and they determined that executive privilege did apply.

"Authority I do not have the privilege to waive," Maguire said, pointing to the reason he was not able to share the complaint to Congress.

He also defended his record against Democratic allegations that he sought to protect the president by not turning over the allegations to Congress.

After four decades of public service, "my integrity has never been questioned until now," Maguire said in his opening remarks.

"I am not partisan and I am not political," adding that he has followed the law and will do so "as long as I serve in this position."

"I want to make it clear I have upheld my responsibility to follow the law every step of the way," he added.

Maguire also noted that he has since released the complaint to Congress since the privilege was waived by the White House.

— Olivia Beavers 

Hurd expresses concern over whistleblower complaint

9:28 a.m.

Just as Nunes began speaking, Hurd expressed concern about the whistleblower's complaint.

"There is a lot in the whistleblower complaint that is concerning. We need to fully investigate all of the allegations addressed in the letter, and the first step is to talk to the whistleblower," tweeted Hurd, who is retiring instead of running for reelection in a competitive district.

— Cristina Marcos

Nunes rips Democrats and 'media assets'

9:28 a.m.

Nunes began his opening remarks tearing into Democrats and their “media assets” for drumming up a new “public spectacle” to hurt Trump.

“Once again the scandal ends up nothing like we are told,” Nunes said in his opening remarks.

The California Republican, who is an ally of Trump, said this is another fake story that is causing “monumental damage.”

He also took aim at the Democrats for what he says was perpetuating the myth that members of the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

— Olivia Beavers

Schiff: Whistleblower complaint 'most graphic evidence yet' Trump abused oath of office

9:13 a.m. 

Schiff started the hearing describing the whistleblower complaint as the "most graphic evidence yet" that Trump has abused his oath of office.

The California Democrat evoked the founder's vision of the Constitution while raising concerns about the president's conduct.

Schiff also raised details of the newly released whistleblower complaint, saying that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sought to "ingratiate himself" while making clear that he would like resources to help combat Russian aggression. The chairman described Trump as acting like a mob boss who hears what someone wants and then makes clear their demands before bestowing such asks. 

"What is the president's response? Well, it reads like a classic, organized-crime shakedown," Schiff said in his opening remarks, framing this conversation in the light of a mob boss.

"We've been very good to your country ... No country has done as much as we have ... We hear what you want, but I have a favor for you," he continued, noting that Trump then asked for dirt on his political rival.

— Olivia Beavers 

Maguire enters hearing room

9:10 a.m. 

Maguire quietly walked to his chair as the sound of dozens of clicking cameras captured his entrance into the committee hearing.

— Olivia Beavers

Trump accuses Democrats of 'trying to destroy the Republican Party' after complaint's release

8:41 a.m.

Trump reacted quickly to the release of the declassified whistleblower complaint.


— Olivia Beavers 

Intelligence panel releases declassified whistleblower document ahead of high-stakes hearing

8:35 a.m.

The House Intelligence Committee released a declassified version of the whistleblower complaint just before the hearing was scheduled to begin, detailing allegations about Trump's contacts with Ukraine's leader.

Schiff tweeted a release of the complaint roughly 30 minutes before Maguire was set to testify.

The complaint discusses a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about opening an investigation into Biden, who is running for president, and Biden's son.

The complaint also raised concerns about "efforts to restrict access to records related to the call."

— Olivia Beavers 

Halls are packed nearly two hours before hearing

7:30 a.m.

Press cameras lined the hallways more than two hours before the high-stakes hearing was set to begin. 

Members of the public also began forming lines hours beforehand in the hopes they could hear Maguire speak about his handling of the whistleblower complaint. 

— Olivia Beavers