Did Dems Write Whistle Blower Complaint?

Whistleblower sought informal guidance from Schiff’s committee before filing complaint against Trump

The intelligence officer whose allegations of presidential wrongdoing have sparked a full-blown impeachment inquiry sought guidance from a Democratic-led congressional committee days before filing his complaint with an inspector general, according to panel aides.

The whistleblower’s interaction with an aide for Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, reflects the officer’s sense of urgency in surfacing the allegations that President Trump had pressed the president of Ukraine to intervene in the 2020 election in a way that would harm a potential political rival. It is also fairly routine for the committee to receive an informal inquiry from a whistleblower before a formal complaint is made, according to current and former committee staffers.

The revelation, first reported Wednesday by the New York Times, prompted an immediate jab by the president, who suggested without evidence that Schiff may have helped compose the whistleblower complaint.

“He knew long before, and he helped write it, too,” Trump said at a news conference alongside Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. “The whole thing is a scam.”

An attorney for the whistleblower, whose identity has not been made public, rebutted Trump’s claim.

“Absolutely not,” attorney Mark Zaid said.

Andrew Clark, a Trump reelection campaign spokesman, questioned whether the whistleblower’s legal team coordinated with Schiff or his staff. Zaid said there was no contact between the whistleblower’s lawyers and Congress until weeks after the complaint was filed with the intelligence community’s inspector general.

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A spokesman for the House Intelligence Committee, Patrick Boland, said, “Like other whistlers 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.”

At no point, Boland said, “did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance.”

The committee staffer who interacted with the intelligence officer was given only “the very bare contours” of the allegations, said a committee aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the aide was not authorized to speak for the record. As is common when such calls are received at the committee, the staffer advised the individual to seek legal counsel and file a complaint with the inspector general — either at the officer’s home agency or with the intelligence community inspector general.

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