Dem Rep. Speier Calls for AG Barr, DNI to Be Held in ‘Inherent Contempt’

On Thursday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “The Beat,” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) said give a claim from House Intelligence chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) the Justice Department was involved in the Director of National Intelligence’s decision to not allow lawmakers access to a whistleblower’s complaint, the House should hold Attorney General William Barr and Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire in “inherent contempt.”

Speier said, “So the inspector general is required under the law, when a whistleblower complaint comes in, to determine whether it’s credible and whether it’s urgent. And he has 14 days in which to do that. He was able to establish both that it was credible and that it was urgent. It was then communicated to the DNI and he was, within seven days, supposed to make sure that the House and Senate Intelligence Committee would gain access to that information and to that complaint. The DNI did not do that and basically it took the inspector general some time to figure out that he wasn’t going to do that. And so it was the inspector general who then communicated with Congressman Schiff, again as chair of the committee, that there was this serious allegation, that it was urgent, and urgent is an important word to focus on. It means it’s impacting our national security, remember, it is at the highest level of concern. So that is why so many of us are deeply troubled by the actions that have taken place.”

She added, “They are in violation of the law, but as we have found over and over again, the penalty is not inscribed in the law and it will take years, probably, to be able to process this through the courts to get access. So holding someone in contempt here in civil contempt in my view is not going to be acceptable. Holding either the DNI and/or the attorney general in inherent contempt is where we precisely have to go. Because this is such an urgent issue. And what is happening in front of us right now is it’s eviscerating the whistleblower protections that we have put in place throughout the executive branch and will create a chilling effect. By virtue of going to the attorney general, what happened is, this particular whistleblower has lost all the protections that we inscribe in the whistleblower law, because the AG is saying that this doesn’t come under whistleblower protection. So I’m deeply concerned about protecting the whistleblower from reprisals.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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