In a new opinion, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel declared the director of national intelligence does not have to release the contents of whistleblower complaint that centers on President Trump’s call with Ukraine to Congress.
The OLC argues that the conduct described in the complaint does not involve an “urgent concern” as the intelligence community inspector general described it. The OLC said it made that determination because it “does not relate to ‘the funding administration, or operation of an intelligence activity’ under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence.”
“As a result, the statute does not require the Director to transmit the complaint to the congressional intelligence committees,” the opinion reads.
The content of the whistleblower complaint has fueled an explosive tug-of-war between the House Intelligence Committee and the White House in recent days. The complaint reportedly focuses on Trump’s alleged efforts to get the Ukrainian government to dig up dirt on his political opponent — former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump reportedly withheld nearly $400 million from Ukraine in the week leading up to the phone call with the Ukrainian president.
The complaint and the call with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky are now at the center of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. The director of national intelligence is set to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday. The White House released its version of the call between Trump and Zelensky on Wednesday morning.
Read the full OLC opinion below: