As members of Congress and others demand the White House release nothing less than the full whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump as required by law, the New York Times reported Tuesday night that the administration is only planning to release a “redacted version” of the document that the intelligence community’s inspector general deemed credible and urgent.
According to the Times, the White House is “putting the complaint through a declassification process” and plans to release a redacted document to Congress “within days.”
“Fuck that,” responded one anonymous Trump critic on Twitter. “Not only do we need an unredacted report. We need testimony of the whistleblower.”
The whistleblower complaint reportedly involves multiple instances of possible misconduct by Trump, including his alleged effort to pressure Ukraine’s leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
In an interview on CNN Wednesday, Sen. Chris Murphy said the whistleblower complaint “needs to be unredacted.”
“I don’t want the administration deciding what parts of that whistleblower complaint get to us and what don’t,” said Murphy.
Esquire‘s Jack Holmes echoed Murphy, writing in a column Tuesday that “Congress must be allowed to view the whistleblower report and assess the situation in totality, not in terms that Trump decides on—and which he obviously finds favorable.”
Holmes went on to urge the media not to credulously parrot the Trump administration’s assertions about what the complaint shows, as many did after Attorney General William Barr released his letter on the Mueller report.
“The political media in particular must not make the same mistakes that many made when Barr released his letter, taking its claims at face value and producing headlines and news cycles that wrongly acceded to the Trumpian narrative that he was COMPLETELY EXONERATED!” wrote Holmes. “In fact, the report detailed numerous instances where the president obstructed justice.”
The White House previously advised Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire to withhold the whistleblower complaint from Congress, leading House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to publicly confirm the existence of the complaint and accuse the Trump administration of breaking the law by not turning it over as statute explicitly requires.
In her address announcing a formal Trump impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said “the law is unequivocal.”
“It says the DNI, director of national intelligence, shall provide Congress the full whistleblower complaint,” said Pelosi, emphasizing the word “shall” as meaning not voluntary.
“This Thursday,” the Speaker continued, “the acting DNI will appear before the House Intelligence Committee. At that time, he must turn over the whistleblower’s full complaint to the committee. He will have to choose whether to break the law or honor his responsibility to the Constitution.”