Without Any Proof, Trump Claims Schiff Helped Write Whisleblower’s Complaint
A report from the New York Times on Wednesday detailed how Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, received information about a whistleblower’s concerns before that person officially lodged a complaint with the inspector general of the intelligence community.
The Times noted the sequence of events in its reporting. The whistleblower had initially reached out to a lawyer within the CIA to discuss their concerns about a phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump allegedly pressured the foreign leader to open an investigation up on Democratic candidate for president (and potential political rival for Trump) Joe Biden.
After growing worried about how that matter was being handled, the whistleblower then reached out to an aide within Congress, who advised them to file a complaint with the inspector general’s office. The aide, who had reportedly received “vague” details about the concerns the intelligence officer had, then told Schiff about them, the Times reported.
After the report was published, Trump, who was speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, noted the findings, but exaggerated and added suppositions to what was written in the article, suggesting that Schiff played a bigger part in the entire ordeal.
“I think it’s a scandal he knew before,” Trump said, per reporting from PoliticusUSA. “I go a step further, I think he probably helped write it. That’s what the word is.”
Trump claims Adam Schiff wrote the whistleblower complaint. pic.twitter.com/OXifgfAKZj
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) October 2, 2019
Trump conceded credit to the New York Times, a paper he’s usually at odds with, for breaking the “big story,” before continuing to make insinuations against the House Intelligence chair.
“He knew long before and he helped write it, too. It’s a scam. It’s a scam,” Trump said.
Trump has had a long and bitter rivalry with Schiff in the past. In recent days, he’s even questioned whether Schiff deserved to be charged with treason, Politico reported, over making up lines on the floor of Congress that the congressman voiced as Trump, which he later said were done in parody.
While some may take issue with that action performed by Schiff, it would in no way constitute an act of treason, a crime which does not apply to political speech or misquoting an elected official. The penalty for treason, in the most severe sense, is the death penalty.