Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire denied he threatened to resign over concerns the White House would force him to stonewall Congress, contradicting a much-vaunted Washington Post report that emerged on Wednesday.
The Post report indicated that McGuire threatened to resign preemptively over concerns the White House would try to block him from testifying on Capitol Hill about a whistleblower complaint against the president. In testimony before a House panel, McGuire said he had never threatened to resign.
When Rep. Jackie Speier (D., Calif.) asked if he had threatened to resign, Maguire replied "I did not, and I know that that story has appeared quite a bit, and I issued a statement yesterday."
Speier quickly cut Maguire off to ask if he was "shocked" by the whistleblower complaint.
Maguire issued a statement Wednesday denying that he said he'd quit if told to withhold information during his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.
"At no time have I considered resigning my position since assuming this role on Aug. 16, 2019," he said in the statement. "I have never quit anything in my life, and I am not going to start now. I am committed to leading the Intelligence Community to address the diverse and complex threats facing our nation."
The White House also disputed the Washington Post story on Wednesday. Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted, "This is actually not true. And we would have gone on the record to say that if the @washingtonpost had given us more than 6 minutes (literally) to respond."
The House Intelligence Committee released on Thursday a whistleblower's complaint about what he or she called an "urgent" concern regarding Trump's July 25 phone conversation with Zelensky.
The whistleblower, who did not listen to the phone call firsthand, wrote that multiple officials informed him or her of their concern that Trump had pressured Zelensky to "take actions to help the President's 2020 reelection bid."
Maguire testified the situation was "unprecedented" and said he realized "the importance of the allegation," but stressed to Speier the whistleblower's complaint dealt with "secondhand information not known to him or her firsthand." He added he did not know who the whistleblower was.
The White House released an unclassified reconstruction of the phone conversation on Wednesday. The same day, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) announced a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump.