So, we have some whistleblower within the intelligence community sending some information to the inspector general. The intelligence community inspector general is looking into it, calling the allegations serious. Apparently, Trump spoke to a leader of another country (gasp!). That’s pretty much the crux of the controversy (via Daily Caller):
A whistleblower who works in the intelligence community filed the complaint with the community’s inspector general on Aug. 12 over communication in which Trump made some sort of “promise” to the foreign leader, who has not been identified, according to two former U.S. officials, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector general, characterized the whistleblower complaint as an “urgent concern,” a threshold that requires the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to submit the complaint to the House and Senate intelligence committees within seven days after it is filed.
Trump’s conversation with his foreign counterpart alarmed the whistleblower, the former officials said according to WaPo. One said it was a phone conversation. Trump is known to have spoken by phone to Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 31 and met with the presidents of Pakistan and Qatar in the weeks preceding the whistleblower complaint.
So what? The president can talk to whomever he wants and he or she can say whatever he wants to them. Period. It’s also not the intelligence community’s job to snitch on the president. Phil Mudd, who worked for the CIA and FBI, in his capacity as a CNN contributor, absolutely torched this whistleblower for going way beyond his mandate. Mudd said that he wanted to “blow a gasket” over this development. He called this whole episode incredibly unusual and he was someone who did what this whistleblower has done: listen in on presidential communications. When he did this, he was focused on ensuring the security of the nation was solid, not reporting to some anti-Trump Democrats what Trump was saying to the leader of another country (via Washington Examiner):
Mudd discussed the revelations in the story and his distaste for it during an interview with Chris Cuomo on Wednesday night.
"Boy, I’m about ready to blow a gasket. That is extremely unusual and I listened to presidential phone calls when I was an official at the White House under George W. Bush in 2001. Can you explain to me, a, why it’s the U.S. Intelligence community’s responsibility to listen to the president of the United States speaking to a foreign leader," Mudd began. "Last I checked, Chris, when I served, we were responsible for chasing the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, and terrorists. We’re not responsible for reporting to the Congress what the president says."
"So you don’t like that somebody snitched on the president?" Cuomo asked.
Mudd answered, "Correct.
"Hold on a second," the host pushed back. "What if he did say something to a foreign leader that sounded like a promise that went over the line enough that somebody of good conscience said he’s not supposed to say things like this."
"What the heck is over the line? The president can say what he wants to Putin, he can say what he wants to Kim Jong Un.
It’s a bit surprising as Mudd really isn’t the administration’s biggest defender at all.