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“THE DEMOCRATS KNOW THE ICIG IS A PROBLEM”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 12, 2020) — On today’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” House Intel Committee ranking member Devin Nunes expounded on a letter he sent Saturday to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who Nunes has accused of dishonesty during his closed-door testimony to the committee in October.
On September 30, Nunes, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and fellow House Intel Committee member Jim Jordan sent a letter to Atkinson which Nunes told investigative journalist Sara A. Carter last week asked a single question and yielded a “non-answer.”
Nunes did, however, tell Carter that Atkinson “either lied to Congress or he really needs to correct his statements…”
A Trump nominee, Atkinson assumed the ICIG position in May 2018 after serving in the U.S. Justice Department in several different capacities, according to his official biography.
On Wednesday The Post & Email asked a response of the Director of National Intelligence’s media office to Nunes’s allegation against Atkinson and was told, “We respectfully decline comment.”
As chairman of the House Intel Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA28) conducted 18 closed-door interviews in the basement of the U.S. Capitol beginning in late September toward the goal of impeaching President Trump based on the allegation of an intelligence-community “whistleblower” that Trump abused the power of his office in a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
To Carter, Nunes said that “everyone needs to see that testimony, and the reason that it’s not being released is because it’s very damaging, not only to the whistleblower, but also to Atkinson himself.”
In that interview, Nunes also mentioned “backdating” of a whistleblower complaint form which apparently permitted the submission of second-hand information as opposed to the previous requirement that the complainant must possess only first-hand information for a report to be accepted.
Atkinson found the complaint “credible” and “an urgent concern,” Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire testified publicly to the committee on September 26. For his part, Maguire said he was not sure that the law requiring Intelligence Community whistleblower complaints to be conveyed to Congress applied in this case because it involved the President of the United States, who is not a member of the intelligence community and could conceivably claim executive privilege.
Schiff excoriated Maguire for his hesitation in transmitting the complaint to the committee, although it later became known that members of Schiff’s staff had met with the “whistleblower” prior to the filing of his complaint.
Atkinson’s transcript is “the only” transcript Schiff has not released, Nunes told Bartiromo. “The Democrats know that the ICIG is a major problem; you know why? Because they haven’t released his testimony. So he’s the only one of all the star-chamber games that were played in the basement of the Capitol with these secretive interviews. The only one that’s not released is the one with the IC inspector general. That’s unacceptable.”
Although previously not hinting as to what Atkinson might have said during his testimony, Nunes on Sunday said that Atkinson “is claiming, ‘We’re just dumb; we made mistakes…’, to which Nunes commented, “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, because it just doesn’t pass the smell test and it looks so much like everything else we’ve seen from the Russia hoax to the Ukraine hoax that became the impeachment scam.”
Nunes then said that he believes Atkinson should “get these answers by Friday because this is the guy who lit the fuse for this impeachment scam that’s now going to be on trial in the Senate.”
On Thursday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi pledged to deliver the two Articles of Impeachment approved on December 18 to the U.S. Senate after a weeks-long delay.
Nunes said that Atkinson “was a lawyer for some of the very people that were involved in the FISA abuse scam,” referring to four surveillance warrant applications which the DOJ inspector general found to be deficient in 17 areas in his report released December 9. “So all of this becomes intertwined and related,” Nunes observed.
Finally, he questioned why Atkinson “will not provide” the requested documentation “on their supposed stupidity.”
Committee Republicans have an “active investigation” into Atkinson, Nunes told Carter last week.
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