The Ukraine whistleblower who initially reached out to Democratic committee staff on the House Intelligence committee went to the intelligence community’s watchdog on October 8 to explain the nature of that contact.
CBS News’ Catherine Herridge reported on documents obtained by the outlet that show the whistleblower reached out to the intelligence community’s Inspector General (ICIG) to explain that he or she reached out to a Democratic staffer on the House Intelligence committee but was directed to reach out to the ICIG, which the whistleblower had not heard of at the time.
The document showed that the whistleblower was told: “’Do it right, hire a lawyer, and contact the ICIG.’ So that is what the COMPLAINANT did. At the time, COMPLAINANT did not even know what the ICIG was.”
The whistleblower then claimed to the ICIG that he or she did not check the box for reaching out to congress or a congressional committee because, “[b]ased on getting guidance on a procedural question, and that no substance of the actual disclosure was discussed, COMPLAINANT did not feel, based on the way the form question was worded, that it was necessary to check that box.”
The New York Times reported on October 2 that the whistleblower had previous contact with committee staff for Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. At the time, Schiff spokesman Patrick Boland told media outlets: “Consistent with the Committee’s longstanding procedures, Committee staff appropriately advised the whistleblower to contact an Inspector General and to seek legal counsel. At no point did the Committee review or receive the complaint in advance.”
The whistleblower made contact with Schiff’s staff prior to filing his or her complaint claiming President Donald Trump demanded a quid pro quo from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. The whistleblower claimed Trump demanded Ukraine officials investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter. The transcript of the phone call between Trump and Zelensky showed Trump merely asked Ukraine for a “favor” — to investigate whether Ukraine played a role in the Democrat-led conspiracy theory that Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. Trump then mentioned Joe and Hunter Biden. Joe Biden had bragged about getting a top Ukraine prosecutor fired. That prosecutor was looking into the company that provided his son Hunter with a lucrative board position without any previous experience with energy companies.
Schiff claimed for weeks prior to the Times’ October 2 reporting that he didn’t know the identity of the whistleblower and that neither he nor his staff had “spoken directly with the whistleblower.” The Washington Post gave Schiff four pinocchios for his claims, since the Times made clear that Schiff’s staff did speak with the whistleblower directly.
It should also be noted that even though Schiff originally said he would call the whistleblower to testify during the impeachment hearings — which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced before any evidence other than the knowledge of the whistleblower complaint was revealed — Schiff now refuses to call the whistleblower, saying his or her testimony is not necessary. Schiff’s decision changed after it was reported his staff was contacted by the whistleblower.