Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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

Dave Lawler, author of World
28 mins ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.

Updated 47 mins ago - Technology

Facebook refers Trump ban to independent Oversight Board for review

Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's independent Oversight Board has accepted a referral from the platform to review its decision to indefinitely suspend former President Trump.

Why it matters: While Trump critics largely praised the company's decision to remove the then-president's account for potential incitement of violence, many world leaders and free speech advocates pushed back on the decision, arguing it sets a dangerous precedent for free speech moving forward.

Biden plans to keep Christopher Wray as FBI director

FBI Director Christopher Wray at a virtual DOJ news briefing on Oct. 28. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/pool/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden plans to keep Christopher Wray as director of the FBI and has "confidence in the job he is doing," White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed in a tweet Thursday.

The big picture: Wray, who was nominated by former President Trump in 2017 after he fired former FBI Director James Comey, came under heavy criticism from Trump and his allies over the past year.