Updated Sep 25, 2019

Democrats 'disturbed' after reviewing whistleblower complaint

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday after reviewing the Trump-Ukraine whistleblower complaint behind closed doors that the materials he viewed "exposed serious wrongdoing" and provided the committee with information to follow up on.

The big picture: The Democratic members who were willing to speak to reporters after leaving the room expressed alarm at the contents of the complaint. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) called the complaint "troubling and disturbing," while Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) said that the materials he read "only corroborate the concerns that this is credible and urgent."

What they're saying: Schiff added that "the idea that the Department of Justice would have intervened to prevent it from getting to Congress, throws the leadership of the department into further ill repute."

  • Both Swalwell and Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), a loyal defender of President Trump, called on the whistleblower to testify.
  • Ratcliffe said he didn't think the report was that damaging, and that the information in it doesn't justify impeachment. He did say the report provided information that went beyond the transcript.
  • Ratcliffe also said lawmakers don't know who the whistleblower is. Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) did not comment to reporters.
  • Sen. Ben Sasse called out Democrats for rushing to use the word "impeach," but added: "Republicans ought not to be rushing to circle the wagons to say there’s no there there when there’s obviously lots that’s very troubling there."
  • Rep. Joaquin Castro described the whistleblower report as "bigger than I thought."

Worth noting: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was seen entering the restricted area where the report is being reviewed. She told reporters that she couldn't discuss the whistleblower complaint in detail because it had been "retroactively classified" by the Trump administration.

  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who as a member of the Gang of 8 was also permitted to view the complaint, said: “I’m even more worried about what happened than when I read the memorandum of the conversation. There are so many facts that have to be examined. It’s very troubling."

What to watch: Swalwell told reporters the committee did not receive the full inspector general report that accompanies the whistleblower complaint, but said the whistleblower "invokes other witnesses to the disturbing conduct." Acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire is expected to testify before the House Intelligence Committee in open session on Thursday.

Go deeper: Schiff calls Trump-Ukraine call a "classic Mafia-like shakedown"

This story has been updated with additional comments from Schiff and Ratcliffe.

Go deeper

Ukraine whistleblower wants to speak to House and Senate Intel

Sens. Mark Warner and Adam Schiff. Photos: Larry French/Getty Images for SiriusXM; Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

The intelligence community whistleblower behind the complaint reportedly linked to President Trump and Ukraine has requested to speak to the House and Senate Intelligence committees, their attorney confirmed today.

Why it matters: Congress has yet to hear directly from the whistleblower or be provided the complaint in full by the Trump administration. While Trump has authorized the release of the transcript of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, that interaction is said to be only one part of a series of events that make up the complaint.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Sep 25, 2019

Whistleblower complaint declassified

President Trump walks to the Oval Office at the White House on Sept. 20. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The intelligence community whistleblower complaint reportedly concerning President Trump and Ukraine has been declassified, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said on Twitter and Fox News' "Ingraham Angle" Wednesday night. But it doesn't appear to be immediately available to the public.

Details: 2 sources familiar with the matter confirmed to Axios' Alayna Treene that the complaint has been declassified, but it’s unclear to both whether it's been distributed beyond members of the intelligence community yet. Stewart's comments imply the release to the general public is imminent.

Go deeperArrowSep 26, 2019

Acting DNI Joseph Maguire: Whistleblower "did the right thing"

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire said Thursday that he believes the whistleblower who filed a complaint about the Trump administration's interactions with Ukraine "did the right thing" during a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee.

Go deeperArrowSep 26, 2019