Sep 19, 2019

Read: Intelligence watchdog's letters about "urgent" whistleblower complaint

Joseph Maguire. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) released Thursday 2 letters he received from Intelligence Community inspector general Michael Atkinson detailing why he believes a whistleblower complaint is a matter of "urgent concern."

Why it matters: Acting director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire has blocked Atkinson from turning the complaint over to Congress — as is normally required by law — by arguing that the allegations do not meet the definition of "urgent concern" under the whistleblower statue. The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the complaint involves a conversation between President Trump and a foreign leader.

  • In a letter dated Sept. 9, Atkinson stated that the complaint — which he found credible — consists of a "serious or flagrant problem, abuse or violation of the law" that involves classified information, but "does not include differences of opinion concerning public policy matters."
  • In a second letter dated Sept. 17, Atkinson expressed dismay at the acting DNI and the Justice Department's decision to withhold the whistleblower complaint from Congress because they believed it does not concern an intelligence activity within the DNI's authority. Atkinson countered:
"I set forth the reasons for my concluding that the subject matter involved in the Complainant's disclosure not only falls within the DNI's jurisdiction, but relates to one of the most significant and important of the DNI's responsibilities to the American people."

Read the letters:

Go deeper ... Schiff: DNI's refusal to turn over whistleblower complaint is "unprecedented"

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m. ET: 5,555,691 — Total deaths: 348,541 — Total recoveries — 2,271,268Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m. ET: 1,676,401 — Total deaths: 98,787 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  6. Public health: CDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus.
  7. World: Putin presses forward with Victory Day parade, despite climbing coronavirus cases.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets for first time

President Trump briefs reporters in the Rose Garden on May 26. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter fact-checked two of President Trump's unsubstantiated tweets that mail-in ballots in the 2020 election would be fraudulent for the first time on Tuesday, directing users to "get the facts" through news stories that cover the topic.

Why it matters: Twitter and other social media platforms have faced criticism for not doing enough to combat misinformation, especially when its propagated by the president.

House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting

Photo: Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

20 House Republicans plan to file a lawsuit late Tuesday against Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an effort to block the chamber's new proxy voting system amid the coronavirus pandemic, three congressional sources tell Axios.

The big picture: The lawsuit, led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, alleges the rules are unconstitutional because the Constitution requires a quorum, or a majority, of lawmakers to be physically present in order to conduct business. The lawsuit was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.