Devin Nunes demands ICIG responds to requests for information about whistleblower complaint

Devin Nunes demands ICIG responds to requests for information about whistleblower complaint

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Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has sent a letter to the office of the U.S. Intelligence Community Inspector General demanding explanations over inconsistencies found in the whistleblower complaint he received in August 2019 that accused President Donald Trump of abusing his power.

In the letter, Nunes, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, demanded key documents, including Inspector General Michael Atkinson's closed-door testimony, to be released to the public.

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“He’s the only one of all the star chamber games that were played in the basement of the Capitol, with the secretive interviews. The only one that’s not released is the one with the IC Inspector General. That’s unacceptable,” Nunes said in an appearance on Fox News on Sunday.

Nunes wrote in the letter that Atkinson's office has failed to respond to his September 2019 letter demanding explanations about the whistleblower's complaint that ultimately led to Trump's impeachment.

The whistleblower, who remains anonymous, had only second-hand knowledge about Trump's July 25 call to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump asked Zelensky for an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Democrats concluded that Trump acted inappropriately and approved two articles of impeachment last month, accusing the president of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.

But Nunes' September letter to Atkinson raised concerns about the timing of an update made to the complaint the whistleblower filed to the ICIG office in August, which eliminated the requirement for first-hand knowledge in order for a complaint to be submitted to Congress. The congressman pointed out that the update was dated August 2019, even if evidence shows it was created and approved on Sept. 24, 2019. Atkinson claimed that the update to the form was mistakenly backdated when the form was first preliminarily approved in August,

Shortly after news of the form change first broke, Atkinson released a statement claiming the whistleblower had actually filled out the older version of that form, which required the person filing it to possess first-hand knowledge. Atkinson later said that the whistleblower had said they had first and second-hand information, though it still has not been revealed what the first-hand information was, Fox News reported.

What Nunes is asking is why it took until late September for the updated form to be posted if it was first approved in August.

“What he’s claiming is, essentially, ‘We’re just dumb, we made mistakes, it was a huge mistake,’” Nunes said on Fox. “That’s fine if you want to claim incompetence, but you need to have the documentation, the evidence to prove that you were indeed incompetent.”

Nunes' new letter also seeks information about all updates to the form since May 24, 2018, as well as ICIG policies about “the criteria for making a credibility determination” in complaints labeled as “urgent concern,” such as the complaint about the Trump-Zelensky call.

(Image credit: Gage Skidmore)

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