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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

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.