It was reported this week that a whistleblower has come forward claiming the Department of Homeland Security intentionally altered intelligence to match what President Donald Trump was saying publicly. To make matters worse, DHS also tried to “censor or manipulate the intelligence information” connected to Russia’s interference in U.S. elections, as well as the threat posed by domestic white supremacy groups.
Mark Zaid, the lawyer for the whistleblower, Brian Murphy, said that his client has classified information about the allegations and he is willing to give it to Congress.
"In any other administration this would be an enormous scandal," said NBC News reporter Ken Dilanian. "In the Trump administration it's just a Thursday but nonetheless it's hugely significant because we're talking about Russian interference in the upcoming election. DHS is one of the agencies designed to tackle that, and what the former top intelligence official at DHS is saying here is that since 2018, he's been flying alleged manipulation of intelligence on Russian election interference."
According to the complaint, there are seven instances cited where Murphy "describes protected classified disclosures that he made to senior officials and most of them are classified so we don't know what they are but in one case we know that's saying that they ordered him to suppress a report on Russian election conference which looks a lot like something we reported on last week."
That report Dilanian referenced was that Russia is trying to raise questions about Joe Biden's mental and physical health, a talking point Trump too has adopted.
"The next step is an inspector general investigation into the allegations and congressional subpoena to Mr. Murphy and we can expect him to testify under oath to the House Intelligence Committee," Dilanian also said.
When Zaid spoke to MSNBC's Hallie Jackson, he explained that he wrote to DHS Wednesday night asking if they would try to block Murphy from testifying, but there hasn't yet been a response this morning. He also said that the lawyers need to be properly cleared to attend the deposition Murphy will give, because it will be a classified hearing and deposition.
Zaid said that he assumes the DHS will approve the deposition, otherwise it "would look really bad" for them.
There's also the matter of Trump's DHS officials not being legally eligible to make decisions because they weren't confirmed by Congress. The Government Accountability Office announced last month that both acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf and acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli don't comply with requirements to fill their positions temporarily. The GAO cited the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998.
See the full interview with Mr. Zaid below: