Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire said Thursday that he believes the whistleblower who filed a complaint about the Trump administration's interactions with Ukraine "did the right thing" during a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.): "You don't have any reason to accuse them of disloyalty to our country or suggest that they are beholden to some other country, do you?"
Maguire: "Sir, absolutely not. I believe the whistleblower followed the steps every step of the way."
Schiff: "I'm just asking about the whistleblower right now."
Maguire: "Yes, I think the whistleblower did the right thing. I think he followed the law every step of the way."

The big picture: Maguire further defended the whistleblower's actions, but did not say if he believes the allegations in the complaint are credible.

  • He instead said he respected the inspector general of the intelligence community Michael Atkinson's definition of the complaint as credible.

Context: Maguire received the complaint on Aug. 16 from Atkinson but did not forward it to Congress as required by the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act.

  • Maguire said he did not give Congress the complaint because the protection act stipulates that complaints must concern members of the intelligence community, and the president is not considered a part of the community.
  • He said he gave the complaint to the White House and the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) because it concerned the president's phone calls with another foreign leader and could fall under the definition of executive privilege.
  • Maguire said the OLC ruled that the phone call did fit the definition of executive privilege, so he did not give Congress the complaint because he must comply with its ruling.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Newsrooms abandoned as pandemic drags on

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facing enormous financial pressure and uncertainty around reopenings, media companies are giving up on their years-long building leases for more permanent work-from-home structures. Others are letting employees work remotely for the foreseeable future.

Why it matters: Real estate is often the most expensive asset that media companies own. And for companies that don't own their space, it's often the biggest expense.

2 hours ago - Technology

Dark clouds envelop feel-good Pinterest

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Pinterest set out to be a bright spot in cutthroat Silicon Valley, but now stands to see its reputation forever tarnished by allegations of mistreatment and a toxic culture by women who held senior roles at the company.

Why it matters: Even a company known for progressive policy decisions and successfully combatting hateful and otherwise problematic content isn't immune to the systemic problems that have plagued many tech companies.

Big Tech pushes voter initiatives to counter misinformation

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Tech giants are going all in on civic engagement efforts ahead of November's election to help protect themselves in case they're charged with letting their platforms be used to suppress the vote.

Why it matters: During the pandemic, there's more confusion about the voting process than ever before. Big tech firms, under scrutiny for failing to stem misinformation around voting, want to have concrete efforts they can point to so they don't get blamed for letting an election be manipulated.