Trump Asks Who Changed Whistleblower Rules Before Submittal of ‘Fake Whistleblower Report’

Ivan Pentchoukov
By Ivan Pentchoukov
September 30, 2019Politics
Trump Asks Who Changed Whistleblower Rules Before Submittal of ‘Fake Whistleblower Report’
President Donald Trump leaves the White House Oct.6, 2017 in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Sept. 30 demanded to know which officials changed the rules on a whistleblower form for complaints submitted to the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.

Sometime between May 17, 2018, and Sept. 24, 2019, the office removed language from the Urgent Concern Disclosure Form which notified complainants that their reports would not be transmitted pursuant to the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA) unless they had first-hand knowledge of alleged wrongdoing.

The removal of the language is significant because on Aug. 12, less than three weeks before the form was modified, the Intelligence Community inspector general (ICIG) received a whistleblower complaint based entirely on second-hand knowledge about a call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and related events. Democrats relied on the complaint, before it was made public, to launch an impeachment inquiry.

“Who changed the long standing whistleblower rules just before submittal of the fake whistleblower report? Drain the swamp!” Trump wrote on Twitter on Sept. 30.

In the Twitter message, Trump does not refer to the whistleblower form and instead references “whistleblower rules.” It is unclear if the president is aware of a change to ICIG rules prior to the filing of the complaint on Aug. 12. The White House did not respond to a request for clarification.

The form currently posted on the ICIG website states that it was revised in August 2019, although the internal file properties say the form was created on Sept. 24, 2019.

A version of the Urgent Concern Disclosure Form, which was created on May 17, 2018, states that “in order to find an urgent concern ‘credible,’ the ICIG must be in possession of reliable, first-hand information.”

“The ICIG cannot transmit information via the ICWPA based on an employee’s second-hand knowledge of wrongdoing,” the form, which The Epoch Times obtained from a CIA whistleblower, states.

The form currently posted on the ICIG website no longer features the language requiring first-hand knowledge.

“There has never been any requirement that whistleblowers were required to possess first-hand knowledge to file complaint. No law anywhere states that,” Mark Zaid, the attorney for the anonymous whistleblower, wrote on Twitter.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the ICIG did not respond when asked when the new form became official, who approved it, why the change was made, and if the process for handling complaints featuring second-hand information has changed.

The whistleblower’s complaint, released by the House Intelligence Committee on Sept. 26, relies entirely on second-hand information the complainant allegedly received from purported government sources, media reports, and other publicly available information.

The Department of Justice, upon request of the Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, reviewed the complaint and determined that it did not mean the statutory definition of an “urgent concern,” because “because the alleged conduct does not relate to ‘the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity’ under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence.”

The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act is similarly limited to complaints which concern activities under the “authority of the Director of National Intelligence.” In his letter to the ODNI, ICIG Michael Atkinson does not explain how a complaint alleging wrongdoing by the president falls within the authority of the Director of National Intelligence. The attorneys for the anonymous whistleblower did not respond when asked why the complaint about the president was filed with the ICIG.

As part of their impeachment inquiry, Congressional Democrats are working with the whistleblower’s attorney to set up a time and place for testimony, according to Zaid.

“We continue to work [with] both parties in House & Senate & we understand all agree protecting whistleblower’s identity is paramount,” Zaid wrote on Twitter on Sept. 29. “Discussions continue to occur to coordinate & finalize logistics but no date [and] time has yet been set.”

Trump and Republicans have decried the impeachment probe, calling it another attack on the president by the Democrats.

The whistleblower’s complaint centers around a call between Trump and Zelensky in which the president asks the Ukrainian leader to look into potential misconduct by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. The whistleblower alleges that Trump’s request amounted to a potential violation of campaign finance laws because Trump purportedly used his office to ask for an investigation into an election opponent. The Department of Justice reviewed the allegation and determined that no further action was necessary.

In videotaped remarks, Joe Biden bragged about forcing Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor by withholding $1 billion in loans. The prosecutor was at the time investigating Burisma, a gas company for which Hunter Biden served on the board of directors. Hunter Biden received $50,000 per month in compensation.

Before the transcript of the call or the whistleblower’s complaint were made public, Biden accused Trump of asking Ukraine for help.

“Desperate Donald Trump knows that I can beat him, so now he’s enlisting the help of a foreign government—once again. It’s an abuse of power and violates every basic norm of the presidency,” Biden wrote on Sept. 21. “We cannot give him four more years in the White House.”

The former vice president appears to have been relying on a media report based on anonymous sources who claimed, without evidence, that Trump made a mysterious promise to Zelensky and mentioned Biden on the call eight times. These and other media claims have been debunked by the release of the transcript and the complaint.

“The Fake News Media wants to stay as far away as possible from the Ukraine and China deals made by the Bidens,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “A Corrupt Media is so bad for our Country! In actuality, the Media maybe even more Corrupt than the Bidens, which is hard to do!”

From The Epoch Times

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