Whistleblower Tipped Off Schiff before Filing Official Complaint

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds Mandel Ngan  AFP  Getty Images

Schiff asserted numerous times before Wednesday that he did not know about the complaint before the inspector general of the intelligence community (IGIC) notified his committee.

The House aide, following the panel's procedures, then suggested the whistleblower find a lawyer to advise him on how to file a complaint.

"That's what they're supposed to do", Schiff tweeted.

But news of the whistleblower reaching out to the Intelligence Committee was nearly instantly weaponized by the President and his allies in an attempt to undermine the impeachment inquiry into his actions - from the GOP's official Twitter page to the President himself.

Grassley, who is the chairman and co-founder of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus, said distinctions between whether the individual had first-hand knowledge or second-hand information "aren't legal" ones. He claimed, with zero proof, that Schiff has co-authored the whistleblower complaint.

Rep. Devin Nunes slammed House Intel Chair Adam Schiff on social media this week; saying the lawmaker intentionally withheld information from his committee regarding President Trump's phone call with the leader of Ukraine. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) (R)-President Donald Trump speaks to the media at the United Nations in NY on September 24, 2019.

In his comments, Trump gave the Times - a frequent target of his "fake news" barbs - credit for publishing the story.

"Well, I think it's a scandal that he knew before. I think he probably helped write it".

In a news conference on Wednesday, Trump accused - without citing any evidence - that Schiff assisted the whistleblower in writing the complaint.

The House began its impeachment investigation into Trump last week, centered on the July call in which Trump repeatedly asked Zelensky to probe former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, on uncorroborated corruption claims. Of course the whistleblower didn't meet directly with Schiff or his committee.

An aide to the Senate Intelligence Committee's Republican majority also told The Hill that it is standard operating procedure of the committee to direct potential whistleblowers to the relevant inspector general. It endangers our national security.

"This person shared the outlines of the issue and sought advice on the best way to communicate details to congress", she said.

"It's just not part of whistleblower protection law or any agency policy", he said.

Trump expressed surprise that the New York Times published the story. He declined to elaborate when asked what exactly Schiff knew about the account before the complaint was filed.

"I think it's a scandal that he knew before", Trump said of a Schiff during a press conference with the Finnish president Wednesday.

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