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Acting spy chief set to testify on whistleblower complaint before House intelligence panel

Posted at 5:45 AM, Sep 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-26 09:03:54-04

Acting spy chief Joseph Maguire heads to Capitol Hill Thursday where he will publicly discuss the handling of a whistleblower complaint that includes allegations about President Donald Trump's communication with Ukraine .

The hearing comes one day after lawmakers had their first chance to see the classified account that spurred Democrats to launch a formal impeachment inquiry. The account was declassified and could be released as soon as Thursday, three sources told CNN Wednesday night. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has provided a redacted version to Congress that members can bring to an open hearing, a spokesperson said.

Maguire will testify before the House Intelligence Committee and is also scheduled to brief members of the Senate panel behind closed doors.

The anticipation ahead of Maguire's testimony was amplified by Wednesday's delivery of the complaint to Congress and the White House's decision to release a transcript of Trump's July 25 phone call with the leader of Ukraine that shows the President repeatedly pressed his counterpart to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

The conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is included in the whistleblower complaint, a source familiar with the situation said last week, a revelation that only raised more questions in the ongoing controversy.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared the President had betrayed his oath of office and announced she is opening a formal impeachment inquiry, a move that has raised the stakes of this week's events.

After reviewing the complaint on Wednesday, California Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell said the whistleblower "invokes other witnesses to the disturbing conduct" in the complaint, and lays out "a lot of other documents."

Swalwell, a member of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that Maguire, the acting Director of National Intelligence, is blocking lawmakers from seeing the full report.

Last week, Maguire refused to comply with a deadline to hand over a whistleblower complaint to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that had been deemed by the intelligence community inspector general to be "credible and urgent."

At the time, he also refused to appear before the committee but eventually agreed to testify at a later date.

Throughout the entire process, Maguire has maintained that he followed the law despite claims to the contrary by Democrats that he infringed on their right to review the allegations.