House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) Photo: Mark Wilson (Getty)
Lawmakers on the House and Senate intelligence committee got a look Wednesday evening at the Trump whistleblower complaint that’s caused all this conversation about impeaching the current occupant of the Oval Office.
Whether lawmakers will release the contents of the complaint to the public is still up for debate, but the reluctance of the Trump administration to show it to congressional lawmakers raised red flags—flags that ultimately led to the formal start of an impeachment inquiry regarding Donald Trump.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said his committee needs to “get to the bottom of this whistleblower complaint ASAP,” reports the Associated Press.
For months, the Trump administration, with acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire leading point, refused to hand over the complaint, which was filed in August about a July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The refusal by Maguire—who is set to appear before House and Senate lawmakers Thursday—sparked much hemming and hawing and spin on the part of Trump and his team about “fake news” and what they didn’t have to do.
Then on Monday, Trump casually admitted publicly that he had ordered $400 million in aid withheld from Ukraine not long before the call. While it was alleged that he did it to pressure Zelensky to help him get dirt on Democratic rival Joe Biden, Trump claimed it was about making sure Ukraine wasn’t corrupt.
Be that as it may, Trump’s admission seemed to be the last straw in a long line of straws for the Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday announced the launch of an impeachment inquiry regarding Trump.
Perhaps that was the cattle prod incentive needed to spark a bit of cooperation on Trump’s part because on Wednesday afternoon, according to AP, Trump announced: “I fully support transparency on the so-called whistleblower information.”
By Wednesday evening, congressional lawmakers finally had the complaint in their hands.
As the AP explains:
Maguire is testifying publicly before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday and privately before the Senate panel.
Schiff also said his committee hopes to hear from the whistleblower, who has been invited to speak to both committees. It is unclear whether the person will appear and whether his or her identity could be adequately protected without Maguire’s blessing.
The House is debating whether to release the complaint to the public.
Could make for riveting reading if the contents of the complaint come to light.