Here are the biggest moments from acting DNI Joseph Maguire’s testimony to Congress about an explosive whistleblower complaint against Trump

Acting DNI Joseph Maguire. Nicholas Kamm/Reuters
  • Acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire just testified before the House Intelligence Committee in an explosive hearing about President Donald Trump’s alleged misconduct while in office.
  • Maguire testified about the contents of an unprecedented whistleblower complaint against Trump, which details a July 25 phone call in which Trump repeatedly pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election.
  • Maguire and the intelligence community inspector general, Michael Atkinson, referred the complaint to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation, but the department decided not to launch a probe.
  • Lawmakers asked Maguire about his communications with the White House and the Justice Department about the matter, as well as other details contained within the complaint, which was released Thursday morning.
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This story will be updated as Maguire testifies.

The acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, is getting ready to testify before Congress about an explosive and unprecedented whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump.

Maguire is set to appear before the House Intelligence Committee at 9 a.m. ET in an open hearing.

He turned the complaint over to Congress on Wednesday. The move came after a fierce tug-of-war in which Maguire, after consulting with the Justice Department and White House, determined he was not required to hand over the complaint because the person it related to – Trump – was not within the DNI’s jurisdiction.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Maguire was unhappy with White House counsel Pat Cipollone and other officials over the decision, and that he threatened to resign if the White House tried to block him from testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

But Maguire disputed the Post’s reporting, saying in a statement Wednesday: “At no time have I considered resigning my position since assuming this role on Aug. 16, 2019. I have never quit anything in my life, and I am not going to start now.”

Read more:
Ukrainian officials say Trump would only talk to Zelensky ‘if they would discuss the Biden case’ in their July phone call

Trump Zelensky
President Donald Trump meets with with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on September 25, 2019. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The whistleblower’s complaint will take the spotlight at Maguire’s hearing. Lawmakers will likely ask him about his communications with the Justice Department and the White House on the matter, as well as additional details about a July 25 phone call Trump had with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, which is at the heart of the whistleblower complaint.

Trump had ordered his administration to withhold a nearly $US400 million military-aid package to Ukraine days before the phone call.

While the White House’s notes of the call show the US president made no direct mention of offering aid in exchange for Zelensky’s assistance in probing former Vice President Joe Biden, they confirm Trump brought up how the US does “a lot for Ukraine” right before asking Zelensky to do him a “favour” by investigating Biden and discrediting the former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Read more:

Trump is facing the biggest firestorm of his presidency because his own staffers blew the whistle on him

On Tuesday, it surfaced that Maguire and the intelligence community inspector general, Michael Atkinson, referred the complaint to the Justice Department for criminal investigation because Atkinson believed Trump may have violated campaign finance laws during his phone call with Zelensky and that the matter posed a threat to US national security.

But the Justice Department’s criminal division reviewed the whistleblower’s complaint and determined that there were no grounds for an investigation of Trump’s behaviour, The New York Times reported. Officials are said to have decided that the memo of Trump’s phone call with Zelensky didn’t show him violating campaign finance laws by asking for a financial contribution or an “item of tangible value.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry into Trump on Tuesday over the phone call.

Watch the entire hearing below:

In his opening statement, Maguire said, “I want to stress I believe the whistle-blower and the inspector general have acted in good faith throughout. I have every reason to believe that they have done everything by the book and followed the law.”

Joseph Maguire Leah Millis/Reuters

He added: ” However, I am not familiar with any prior instances where a whistle-blower complaint touched on such complicated and sensitive issues, including executive privilege. I believe that this matter is unprecedented.”

Joseph Maguire Leah Millis/Reuters

Chairman Schiff pressed Maguire on whether he believed the whistleblower was a “political hack.” Maguire responded: “I think the whistle-blower did the right thing, he followed the law every step of the way.”

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is sworn in before testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Associated Press

Ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes pushed Maguire to acknowledge whether the leaks to the media are normal.

Devin Nunes Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

In response to a question from Rep. Jackie Speier, Maguire thoroughly denied a Washington Post report that he threatened to resign, and pushed back on Trump’s tweets attacking the whistleblower as “a spy.”


In an exchange with Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, Maguire said that ensuring the integrity of US elections is the “greatest challenge” facing the US intelligence community.

Rep. Will Hurd and acting DNI Joseph Maguire Screenshot via C-SPAN

“I think that the greatest challenge that we face is not necessarily, you know, from a strike with Russia or China or Iran or North Korea,” he said.

He added: “I think the greatest challenge that we do have is to make sure that we maintain the integrity of our election system. We know there are foreign powers trying to get us to question the validity of whether or not our elections are valid.”

Maguire also confirmed that the substance of the whistleblower complaint is “in alignment” with the White House’s memo of Trump and Zelensky’s July call.

Joseph Maguire Screenshot via C-SPAN

Read more:
Acting DNI Joseph Maguire undermined the GOP’s entire argument against the whistleblower in one sentence

Throughout the hearing, Maguire walked a careful line of emphasising that the whistleblower complaint was based on secondhand information, while defending the whistleblower for going through the correct channels and legal proceedings to complain.

Retired Vice Adm. and acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire Associated Press