Rep. Adam Schiff on Sept. 17: 'We Have Not Spoken Directly with the Whistleblower'

Craig Bannister | October 2, 2019 | 5:12pm EDT
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Rep. Adam Schiff

The New York Times reported on Thursday that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) had advance knowledge of the outline of the whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump before the complaint was filed, and that Schiff’s office advised the whistleblower on how to effectively create the complaint.

However, in a September 17, 2019 interview with MSNBC, Rep. Schiff said his office had not spoken “directly” with the whistleblower and that the whistleblower had not been advised “by the inspector general or the director of national intelligence (DNI)” on how to communicate with Congress:

“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to. But, I'm sure the whistleblower has concerns that he has not been advised by as the law requires by the inspector general or the director of national intelligence (DNI) just as to how he is to communicate with Congress.

“So, the risk for the whistleblower is retaliation. Will the whistleblower be protected under the statute if the offices that are supposed to come to his assistance and provide the mechanism are unwilling do so?

“But, yes, we would love to talk directly with the whistleblower. In terms of our information about the source of the resistance to providing this information to Congress, you know, I think you can easily read between the lines of what the office of national intelligence has had to say when they say that this involves someone outside of their jurisdiction in terms of the intelligence community, but it involves an intelligence activity. It relates to an intelligence activity. And that this is someone who is asserting a potential privilege. Well, that's a pretty narrow category of people involving basically the president and people around him. So I think it's pretty clear. What the problem is here. And, I think the two stories you just related demonstrate, it's part of a pattern of the White House basically taking the view we can engage in corrupt conduct and we have a privilege to conceal that from congress and the American people. That's the root of the problem here.”

According to Thursday’s report by The Times, Schiff had indirect prior knowledge of the general content of the complaint and his office provided advice to the whistleblower, even though, as Schiff asserts, the inspector general and director of national intelligence did not:

“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 C.I.A. officer 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. 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. The aide did not share the whistle-blower’s identity with Mr. Schiff, an official said.”


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