Oct 2, 2019

Whistleblower contacted House Intel Committee before filing official complaint

Rep. Adam Schiff. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

The whistleblower who alleged that President Trump was abusing his office to solicit election interference from Ukraine contacted a staffer on the House Intelligence Committee before filing an official complaint, a spokesman for Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) confirmed to the New York Times.

"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."
— Spokesman Patrick Boland

Why it matters: The attempt by the whistleblower to make his allegations known, even after reporting them to the top lawyer at the CIA, illustrates his concerns that the issue may not be handled with the appropriate level of urgency, per the Times.

  • The House Intelligence aide suggested to the whistleblower that he file a formal complaint, which was subsequently blocked by the Trump administration from being turned over to Congress.
  • The committee's advanced knowledge of the allegations explains how Schiff, who has been tasked with investigating Trump's interactions with Ukraine as part of an impeachment inquiry, knew how important it was to demand the complaint be turned over by the acting director of intelligence, Joseph Maguire.
  • It's worth noting that Schiff neither saw the full complaint, knew the identity of the whistleblower nor knew the specifics of the allegations before it was released by the Trump administration, according to Boland.

Between the lines: Schiff has become one of Trump's favorite targets as the impeachment investigation unfolds, with the president repeatedly accusing the top Democrat of "treason" and demanding that he resign. Boland contends that there was no impropriety and that the committee followed all appropriate procedures, but it's nonetheless likely that Trump will latch onto the revelations for further attacks.

Go deeper: Schiff calls Trump's whistleblower tweets "an incitement of violence"

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,410,228 — Total deaths: 345,105 — Total recoveries — 2,169,005Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Japan's economy minister outlined plans on Monday to end the nationwide state of emergency as the number of new novel coronavirus cases continues to decline to fewer than 50 a day, per Bloomberg. Japan has reported 16,550 cases and 820 deaths.

By the numbers: Over 5.4 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.1 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 13.7 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,800 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.