An official with the House Intelligence Committee was forced to clarify Chairman Adam Schiff’s remarks on Sep. 17 that “[w]e have not spoken directly with the whistleblower” in light of evidence the committee had done so.
The New York Times reported Wednesday afternoon that Schiff “learned about the outlines of a C.I.A. officer’s concerns that President Trump had abused his power days before the officer filed a whistle-blower complaint.”
That complaint was sent to Schiff and Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) on August 12.
As Breitbart News and others noted earlier on Wednesday, Schiff had claimed on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Sep. 17 that “we” had never spoken directly to the so-called “whistleblower.” But the “complaint” sent by the so-called “whistleblower” was dated more than a month before Schiff’s MSNBC appearance — and the Times report claimed that “[t]he C.I.A. officer approached a House Intelligence Committee aide” days before sending the letter.
That creates the impression that Schiff misled MSNBC and the public in the following exchange:
SAM STEIN: Hey, Congressman, a couple questions here on this whistleblower front. First off, have you heard from the whistleblower? Are you — do you want to hear from the whistleblower? What protections could you provide to the whistleblower? And then you also said that the DNI’s refusing to turn over the stuff, citing a request from a higher authority. The insinuation left at least for me and others was that the president himself had intervened. Is that the insinuation you sought to provide and, if so, what basis do you have for making that insinuation?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF: We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to. But I’m sure the whistleblower has concerns that he has not been advised, as the law requires, by the Inspector General or the Director of National Intelligence just as to how he is to communicate with Congress. So the risk for the whistleblower is retaliation. Will the whistleblower be protected under the statute if the offices that are supposed to come to his assistance and provide the mechanism are unwilling do so. But, yes, we would love to talk directly with the whistleblower.
Stein followed up Wednesday, following the release of the Times report. An “official” on the committee admitted that Schiff “could have been more clear,” and claimed that when Schiff said “we” had no direct contact with the so-called “whistleblower,” what he meant was that he personally had none, and the committee had no formal contact:
House Intel committee official on Chairman Schiff’s earlier comments to me that he had not talked to the whistleblower: "The Chairman could have been more clear – he was referring to the Committee officially interviewing the whistleblower, and himself personally."
— Sam Stein (@samstein) October 2, 2019
Separately, critics are raising questions about whether the “whistleblower” followed correct protocol, arguing that he ought to have approached the Inspector General of the Intelligence Committee first, and that Schiff should have shared any information from an outside source with members of both parties, not just with members of his own.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.