A report by The New York Times Wednesday on House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) role in the submission of the whistleblower complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry has resulted in President Trump accusing Schiff of having “helped write” the report and Schiff apologizing for not being “much more clear.”
“The Democratic head of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, learned about the outlines of a C.I.A. officer’s concerns that President Trump had abused his power days before the officer filed a whistle-blower complaint, according to a spokesman and current and former American officials,” the Times reported Wednesday. “The early account by the future whistle-blower shows how determined he was to make known his allegations that Mr. Trump asked Ukraine’s government to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election. It also explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.”
The Times reports that the C.I.A. officer who submitted the complaint “approached a House Intelligence Committee aide with his concerns about Mr. Trump only after he had had a colleague first convey them to the C.I.A.’s top lawyer.”
“Concerned about how that initial avenue for airing his allegations through the C.I.A. was unfolding, the officer then approached the House aide,” the reports continues. “In both cases, the original accusation was vague. The House staff member, following the committee’s procedures, suggested the officer find a lawyer to advise him and meet with an inspector general, with whom he could file a whistle-blower complaint. The aide shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff.”
A spokesman for Schiff told the 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.”
In a fiery press conference Wednesday, Trump unloaded on Schiff, accusing him of helping to “write” the complaint.
Video: Here's Trump reacting to a question from @JohnRobertsFox bringing up the yuuge 'New York Times' story that says Schiff was notified in advance about the whistleblower and that a staffer was alerted before the complaint was even filed pic.twitter.com/YW09fhRFKV
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 2, 2019
In comments reported by The Daily Beast, Schiff has since responded by downplaying his role in the filing of the complaint, but apologizing for failing to be more “clear” about what took place.
“Schiff had previously denied that his staff had contact with the whistleblower before the complaint was flagged for them by the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General,” The Daily Beast reports. “On Wednesday, he said that he did not know definitively at the time if the complaint had been authored by the same whistleblower who had approached his staff. But he acknowledged that he ‘should have been much more clear.’”
“We try not to confirm when people have come in. I was really thinking along the lines of wanting to get him to come in to testify,” the congressman Schiff told the outlet. “I regret that I wasn’t much more clear.”
Schiff also suggested Trump’s behavior during the Wednesday press conference is evidence that Trump’s unfit to be president.
“I think Americans have to be worried about the stability of our president given the enormously erratic and dangerous swings we have seen him take in the last few days,” he said. “It is alarming.”