On Wednesday’s edition of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) previewed what he expects to learn about the developing Director of National Intelligence whistleblower scandal at the hearing with the inspector general on Thursday.
“In tomorrow’s hearing with the intelligence community’s inspector general, who forwarded this report, saying it was an urgent concern, what exactly is the inspector general going to be able to talk about?” asked Cooper. “I know it’s behind closed doors, but is he going to be able to tell you what is actually in the complaint or who is instructing him or who’s instructing the DNI not to hand it over to your committee, if that’s what’s happening?”
“Well, yes, I think he will be able to discuss what’s in the report,” said Himes. “Remember, the law requires him to forward that complaint to the relevant congressional committees, to my committee. This idea that the DNI has the authority to say, ‘no, I disagree with the inspector general’s decision’ is lawless. It’s made up out of whole cloth. He does not have authority to do that.”
“And the reason that’s important, Anderson, and people need to understand this, because it’s not that complicated,” continued Himes. “Remember, a whistleblower is someone within an organization who says, ‘something’s going on here that isn’t quite right.’ The idea that the boss of that organization, in this case the acting DNI could say, ‘sorry, we don’t agree that this should be dealt with outside,’ that betrays the whole purpose of having a whistleblower. Imagine this whistleblower right now is thinking to themselves, ‘all the protections that I have, the whistleblower protections that I have by law, are now at risk because the boss decided lawlessly to stop this from happening.’ So at some level, it’s pretty simple, Anderson.”
“You’re saying under law, if the inspector general has forwarded this whistleblower complaint, as deemed it of urgent concern, deemed it a real issue, has forwarded it to the DNI, you’re saying the DNI does not have the legal authority to say — to not forward it on to Congress?” Cooper pressed him. “The DNI’s only option is to forward it on to Congress and they can add comments if they want, saying, ‘I don’t think this is valid, I don’t think this is under our purview.’ But he has to forward it to Congress?”
“That’s exactly right,” said Himes. “That the DNI can add explanatory comments, but in this case, the DNI appears to have consulted with the Department of Justice, which has no role under the law in this determination and is acting on the face of it. You don’t even need to be a lawyer to understand this.”
“By the way, quite apart from the law, which is pretty important in the United States of America, in the history of these referrals, there has never been a case in which the boss, in this case, the DNI, has overruled an inspector general or said that this is not a meritorious decision. It has never happened before,” continued Himes. “And the reason that’s really important, quite apart from the rule of law, is that, again, think about the whistleblower. If the whistleblower doesn’t know that they have the ability in a protected way to go to the congressional committees on things that are profoundly serious.”
“I don’t know what’s in this complaint, but remember, the intelligence community takes lethal action,” added Himes. “It surveils, it does really dangerous things. Inside the intelligence community, if someone doesn’t believe that there is a legally protected route to get to people like me in the Congress, behind closed doors, what happens? They go to the press. They do an Edward Snowden and they decide that that’s the best way to blow our secrets out into the public. So while it may seem complicated, at some level, this is very simple. There is a law that determines how somebody who thinks that there has been wrongdoing can come to the Congress and the DNI is right now illegally standing in the way of that process.”
‘It’s not a both sides thing’: CNN host battles Trump aide over hydroxychloroquine misinformation
CNN host Jim Sciutto took on White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Monday about his evangelism of the drug hydroxychloroquine.
During an interview with Navarro, Sciutto noted that Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary Brett Giroir had recently said that there is no benefit in taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent or treat COVID-19.
"Given your past public support for it," Sciutto said, "is it time for the administration to focus on proven treatments for COVID rather than one that has not been proven?"
Oklahoma teacher threatened by COVID-19 regrets vote for Trump — and blasts his ‘failure of leadership’
On Monday, CNN spoke with Nancy Shively, an Oklahoma special education teacher who wrote for USA TODAY that she regrets her 2016 vote for President Donald Trump.
"You spoke strongly and with feeling in this editorial," said anchor Jim Sciutto. "You said you fear now with the pandemic, you may have 'signed your own death warrant.' That's a remarkable thought to express."
"Well, just watching the failure of leadership in our country, beginning with the president, over the course of this pandemic, it's not just my death warrant I might have signed, but there's 150,000 Americans who are dead because of this," said Shively. "I have to take responsibility for my personal vote that enabled that."
‘It was pure BS’: CNN busts Trump for fabricating a health care plan ‘out of thin air’
CNN's John Avlon and John Berman on Monday busted President Donald Trump for promising that he would sign a mysterious new health care plan that still has never come to fruition.
In his latest "Reality Check" segment, Avlon noted that Trump has been promising to replace the Affordable Care Act with a "great" health care plan for the last four years, but that he still hasn't come up with anything.
In fact, as Avlon documented, Trump has only sought to undermine the law in court with his push to have the Supreme Court strike it down entirely.
"This is the old arsonist-as-a-firefighter routine, with possibly your life on the line," he commented.