WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — The nation’s acting spy chief says he thinks a whistleblower ‘did the right thing’ in reporting concerns over President Trump’s phone call with the President of Ukraine.
Joseph Maguire, the Acting Director of National Intelligence, was grilled Thursday by the House Intelligence Committee. This is the first major step of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
At the heart of the hearing was the complaint itself, which was declassified and released to the public Thursday morning. Most Republicans say it amounts to nothing. Democrats argue it shows proof of the President’s impeachable actions.
The complaint describes concerns that President Trump used the power of his office to pressure the President of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.
“I want to stress that I believe the whistleblower and the inspector general have acted in good faith,” said Maguire.
Maguire came under fire from Democrats, like Indiana’s Andre Carson, who blasted him for not notifying Congress earlier of the complaint.
“If the inspector general had not brought this complaint to our attention, you and the trump administration might have gotten away with this unprecedented action,” said Carson.
Maguire said it was executive privilege, not any political order, that caused the delay.
“The white house did not, did not, direct me to withhold the information,” said Maguire. “I want to make it clear, that I have upheld my responsibility to follow the law every step of the way.”
During the hearing, Republicans, like Ohio’s Brad Wenstrup, said the complaint amounts to nothing but another attempt by Democrats to target the President.
“But I’m also glad to know that many Americans have seen this movie too many times, and they’re tired of it,” said Wenstrup.
Democrats, like Illinois Congressman Mike Quigley, believe the complaint proves the President broke the law.
“I think what we got today was a complaint that spells out that the President of the United States committed an illegal action.”
Thursday, the President described the impeachment inquiry as a witch hunt.