Politics & Policy

Schiff Told MSNBC ‘We Have Not Spoken Directly with the Whistleblower’ after Intel Aide Did Just That

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks during a news conference about impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill, September 25, 2019. (Al Drago/Reuters)

House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff said last month that his team had not spoken to the whistleblower who raised concerns about President Trump’s communications with Ukraine, even though the anonymous member of the intelligence community reportedly gave Schiff’s committee early information about the accusations.

On September 17, after the whistleblower filed a formal complaint against the president, Schiff was asked on MSNBC what basis he had for insinuating that Trump was attempting to block the complaint from being transferred to Congress.

“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower,” the California Democrat responded. “We would like to, but I’m sure the whistleblower has concerns that he has not been advised as the law requires by the inspector general or the director of national intelligence just as to how he is to communicate with Congress.”

But on Wednesday, the New York Times and other outlets reported that, before filing the complaint, the whistleblower had told an Intelligence Committee aide in vague terms of his concerns about the president’s conduct and his intent to make those concerns public, and the aide had passed that information to Schiff without revealing the whistleblower’s identity.

House Democrats opened a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump’s actions last week, focusing on accusations contained in the complaint that he withheld military aid from Ukraine in an effort to prompt a Ukrainian investigation of Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden.

“Like other whistle-blowers have done before and since under Republican and Democratic-controlled committees, the whistle-blower contacted the committee for guidance on how to report possible wrongdoing within the jurisdiction of the intelligence community,” a spokesman for Schiff said.

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