The whistleblower who filed a complaint about President Trump's Ukraine phone call contacted a House Intelligence Committee aide before formally making that complaint, sources tell the New York Times. The CIA officer first had a colleague convey his concerns about the call to the CIA's top lawyer; then, worried about the path those concerns were taking, he brought a "vague" accusation to an intelligence committee aide who advised him to get a lawyer and file a whistleblower complaint. The aide also gave Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the committee, an early heads-up as to the whistleblower's concerns before his complaint was actually filed. The Times published its story minutes before Trump and Finland's president gave a press conference, CNN reports, and Trump was quick to comment on the report when asked about it.
"I think it's a scandal that he knew before, I’d go a step further—I think he probably helped write it. OK? That's what the word is," Trump said. A rep for Schiff tells the Times no one on the committee saw the complaint in advance and adds, "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." Even so, the Times notes that the CIA officer's "decision to offer what amounted to an early warning to the intelligence committee's Democrats is also sure to thrust Mr. Schiff even more forcefully into the center of the controversy." The Hill notes that Trump has already been calling for Schiff to resign and suggested he be arrested for treason, and this "development will likely add to Trump's attack that the whistleblower was motivated by partisan interests." (Read more Adam Schiff stories.)