Before filing a report about President Donald Trump to the Intelligence Community Inspector General, the whistleblower behind Washington, D.C.'s impeachment drama gave the bullet points of the complaint to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the New York Times reported Wednesday.
According to the report, the whistleblower's actions in this case demonstrate "how determined he was to make known his allegations" against the president related to a late July phone call with the president of Ukraine. The CIA officer, who did not have firsthand knowledge of the call, reached out to a staffer on the House Intelligence Committee about a complaint after talking with a top agency attorney, the Times said.
"In both cases," the paper reported, "the original accusation was vague."
The committee staffer then "shared some of what the officer conveyed" to Schiff, but did not share the identity.
"Like other whistleblowers have done before and since under Republican and Democratic-controlled committees, the whistleblower contacted the committee for guidance on how to report possible wrongdoing within the jurisdiction of the intelligence community," Schiff spokesman Patrick Boland told the newspaper.
This would mean that Adam Schiff was aware of the complaint that would be brought against the president of the United States before the Intelligence Community Inspector General — a complaint that would lead to the announcement of an impeachment probe in which Schiff is a key player.
Schiff's committee is one of three to send subpoenas to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as well as Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani following the announcement of an "official impeachment inquiry" on the whistleblower matter by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Schiff's committee was also the setting for last week's hearing where the chairman made up a fictionalized version of President Trump's phone call and later defended it as "parody."
Shortly after the Times story broke, President Trump was asked about the story at a White House news conference.
"I think it's a scandal that he knew before," President Trump said about the report. "I'd go a step further; I think he probably helped write it. OK? That's what the word is."
The current impeachment firestorm centers on a late July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump asked his counterpart to look into a since-closed investigation of a Ukrainian energy company that employed Hunter Biden as a board member despite a lack of professional energy experience. In 2018, former Vice President Joe Biden, Hunter's father, bragged about getting the prosecutor in the case fired over $1 billion while still in office.
"Look, Biden and his son are stone-cold crooked and you know it" Trump said later in the news conference when asked what he wanted the Ukranian government to look in to regarding the pair. "His son walks out with millions of dollars, the kid knows nothing. You know it, and so do we."