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Whistleblower contacted House Intel Committee before filing official complaint

Adam Schiff
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"