The House Intelligence Committee and its chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) got word of a whistleblower complaint concerning President Donald Trump before the intelligence community’s inspector general formally made the committee aware of it, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
After hearing from the whistleblower, and following committee procedure, a committee aide referred the whistleblower to the inspector general and told him to get a lawyer, Schiff’s spokesperson 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,” the spokesperson, Patrick Boland, told the Times.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s standard procedure, described in an email to TPM, is identical.
“On a bipartisan basis, the Committee would refer potential whistleblowers to the relevant agency,” a spokesperson for committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) wrote.
Per the Times, the whistleblower — who the paper has previously reported is a CIA officer who was detailed to the White House at one point — came to the committee after he got a colleague to file a less detailed version of the complaint with the CIA’s general counsel.
While it was previously known that the whistleblower filed his complaint with the intelligence community inspector general after growing concerned about the treatment of his initial complaint to the CIA’s general counsel, it had not been reported before Wednesday that the House Intelligence Committee had been informed of the broad strokes of the complaint before being notified of its existence by the inspector general.
The complaint, which has since been made public, concerns the events surrounding President Donald Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump pressured Zelensky to pursue political dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden. The complaint also details an alleged effort by the White House to put a memorandum of the call in a more restricted setting, potentially to prevent it from leaking.
Schiff’s spokesperson told the Times that the committee did not know the details of the complaint ahead of seeing the complaint itself. The committee aide who the whistleblower contacted shared “some of what the officer conveyed” with Schiff, in the Times’ words, but not his identity.
“At no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance,” Boland added.
After alerting the committee, the whistleblower did in fact file a complaint with the intelligence community’s inspector general.
While the acting director of national intelligence initially blocked the complaint from reaching Congress, as the law requires for “urgent” matters, the complaint was eventually shared formally with Schiff’s committee.
As previously reported by the Times and other outlets, the whistleblower grew concerned after his complaint was filed with the CIA’s general counsel. That initial complaint made its way to senior Justice Department officials, who shared it with White House officials.
The whistleblower’s complaint reached the CIA general counsel in the week after the July 25 call, according to the Times’ reporting, and the subsequent complaint was made to the intelligence community inspector general on Aug. 12.
This post has been updated.