House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Tuesday that the whistleblower who filed a complaint against President Donald Trump wants to meet with Congress, and could do so as early as this week.
Schiff announced on Twitter that the whistleblower’s lawyers have requested guidance from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence about meeting with lawmakers. Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, is scheduled to meet Thursday with the House Intelligence Committee.
Schiff issued the announcement moments after Trump said that he authorized the declassification and release of a transcript of a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is said to be at the center of the whistleblower complaint.
We have been informed by the whistleblower’s counsel that their client would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance from the Acting DNI as to how to do so.
We‘re in touch with counsel and look forward to the whistleblower’s testimony as soon as this week.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) September 24, 2019
The whistleblower filed the complaint on Aug. 12, reportedly regarding Trump’s actions towards Ukraine. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Trump urged Zelensky on the phone call to meet with his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to discuss information on Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Giuliani has claimed that Joe Biden intervened as vice president to shut down an investigation into a Ukrainian gas company that paid Hunter Biden $50,000 a month as a board member.
Trump acknowledged Monday that he raised the Biden issue with Zelensky, but claimed he did so out of concerns about corruption in Ukraine.
The Washington Post added new details Monday night with a report that around a week before the call with Zelensky, Trump directed acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to withhold nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Trump denied withholding the funds in order to pressure Ukraine. He said that he instead blocked the funding over concerns that other European countries were not contributing their fair share of aid to Ukraine.
He also disputed that he pressured Zelensky to act with regard to Biden. He said that the July 25 phone call was “perfect” and “friendly.”
Little is known about the whistleblower, other than that they were reportedly an intelligence official who worked in the White House. CNN and Fox News have reported that the whistleblower did not have direct knowledge of the phone call, though it is possible that they saw a transcript of the Trump-Zelensky chat.
Schiff became involved in the whistleblower saga after Maguire, a Trump appointee, blocked Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson from providing the complaint to Congress. Atkinson told Schiff earlier this month that he found the complaint credible and “urgent,” which required him by law to share the document with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. But Maguire blocked giving the complaint to Congress, saying that it involved privileged communications and did not involve an “urgent” matter.
A lawyer for the whistleblower did not respond to a request for comment about Schiff’s announcement.
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