‘They got caught!’ Trump reacts to report that whistleblowers exempted from need to have firsthand info as part of ‘RECENT’ update
US President Donald Trump has cried foul after reports suggested a whistleblower complaint form, which allows second-hand information to be submitted, is the result of a recent revision of intelligence community guidelines.
“WOW, they got caught. End the Witch Hunt now!” the US President wrote on Saturday evening, tweeting a link to the Federalist report.
The Friday bombshell alleges that the intelligence community “secretly gutted” the requirement for whistleblowers to be in possession of firsthand knowledge of whatever they want to report.
It appears that the crucial requirement was struck from a ‘Disclosure of Urgent Concern’ form sometime between May 2018 and August 2019, the paper reports. The newest version of the form that allows a whistleblower to “disclose” information they “heard about from others” was uploaded to the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (ICIG) website on September 24, as the document’s PDF properties show.
The whistleblower complaint that focuses on a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is dated August 12. Within a fortnight, on August 26, the ICIG determined that the complaint was legitimate. In a letter to Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire, the ICIG said that the complaint “appears credible” and constitutes “an urgent concern.”
However, a screenshot of the May 2018 document outlining the conditions for such a complaint to be considered “credible” by the ICIG says it must contain “reliable, firsthand information,” while the whistleblower openly admitted that he “was not a direct witness to most of the events described,” including an ill-fated call between Trump and Zelensky.
It’s unclear when exactly the requirements were diluted. The markings on the complaint form suggest that it was revised in August.
The White House released both the transcript of the call and the complaint itself on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. The complaint, which is largely based on media reports about contacts between US and Ukrainian officials and second-hand accounts of the conversation between Trump and Zelensky, alleged that Trump was pressuring his Ukrainian counterpart into reopening a corruption investigation into Joe Biden’s son Hunter in return for US military aid. However, the transcript has revealed no quid pro quo arrangement.
Trump has dismissed allegations against him as a new twist of “the Witch Hunt” waged by Democrats, while urging House Intel Committee chair, Adam Schiff, to resign and “get probed” for reading a “parody” version of the transcript during a congressional hearing, and putting a sinister spin on the conversation.
On Saturday, Trump doubled down on his call for Schiff, who was also a leading peddler of the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy until it fizzled out, to resign.
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