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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

Updated 1 hour ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Chargés d'Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and non-essential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten embassy's ability to assist Americans.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February — FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated".
  2. Vaccines: Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Beijing Olympic Committee lowers COVID testing threshold ahead of Games — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker