Pelosi Floor Speech on Resolution Calling on Administration to Release Whistleblower Complaint to Congress

September 25, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.Res. 576, a resolution urging the Director of National Intelligence to follow the law and release the whistleblower complaint, made to the Congressional Intelligence Committees.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.  I thank the gentleman for yielding.  I commend him for his great patriotism, for the equanimity that he brings to all that he does, with great wisdom and judgment.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, just over a week ago when, on the anniversary of the adoption of our Constitution, on that very day, news broke of great allegations, which were a threat to our Constitution.

On that day, the Intelligence Community Inspector General formerly notified the Congress that the Administration was forbidding him from turning over a whistleblower complaint that he found to be of great – of ‘urgent concern’ and ‘credible.’  

The Administration’s refusal to turn over the full complaint is a violation of the law, which is unequivocal, stating that the Director of National Intelligence ‘shall’ provide Congress with the full complaint.  I repeat, the obligation is mandatory.  

Shortly thereafter, the American people learned of a phone call by the White House calling upon a foreign power to intervene in the upcoming election. 

Today’s release of the notes of the call by the White House confirms this behavior, which undermines the integrity of our election, the dignity of any Presidency and our national security.  

Let us repeat the facts: the Intelligence Community Inspector General, who was appointed by President Trump, determined that the complaint was of both ‘urgent concern’ and ‘credible.’  And, its disclosure ‘relates to [one of] the most significant [and] important duties of the Director of National Intelligence's responsibilities to the American people.’

I want to talk a moment – Mr. Chairman, if I may – about whistleblowers.  First, let me say what an asset the Intelligence Community is to the security of our country.  We talk about our men and women in uniform and we praise them and could never thank them enough.  Our Intelligence Community personnel are a significant part of the national security of our country.  

Whistleblowers in any part of the government are important.  But, whistleblowers – let me define: can be defined ‘as an act of reporting waste, fraud, abuse and corruption in a lawful manner to those who can correct the wrongdoing.’

The Intelligence Community has publicly recognized the importance of whistleblowing and supports protections for whistleblowers who conform to guidelines to protect classified information.

This is a very important balance and when laws were written, and I was there for it as Member of the Committee and Ranking Member, Gang of Four before I even became Leadership.  I saw the evolution of these laws and then the improvements of them, with further protection of whistleblowers.  I was also there for the creation of the Office of Director of National Intelligence and the relationship between the two.  And, it's a careful balance of protecting whistleblowers, but also protecting our national security and our intelligence, our intelligence.  

So, in any event, one of the bills we wrote was the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act.  The law plays a vital role in our democracy.  It enables our system of separation of powers to maintain the rule of law to make sure that the abuses or unlawful actions are known, first, through the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community and then, the Congressional Intelligence Committees, House and Senate, which can act upon it.

The statute does not permit the DNI to second-guess the Inspector General's determination of any complaint he finds to be ‘credible.’  At no point in the history of this law has a DNI ever refused to turn over a whistleblower's complaint that has been found by the IG as ‘credible.’  Refusing to do this is a violation of the law.  

Our national security depends on this framework.  This vote today is about more than just any one President.  This resolution is about the preservation of our American system of government.  

Once we pass this resolution – and I acknowledge that we are joining the Senate, which passed it yesterday unanimously – once we pass this resolution, the DNI will be faced with the choice to honor his responsibility to help preserve our Republic or to break the law.  

This resolution passed by unanimous consent, I repeat, in the Senate.  Every Member, Democratic and Republican, should join us in passing this in the House.

While we await the release of the full complaint, we reiterate our call for the release of the full transcript of the call between President Trump and the Ukrainian President, and reiterate our call to protect whistleblowers from retaliation. 

I urge a bipartisan vote to defend our national security and to protect our democracy and yield back the balance of my time.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.