The NY Times reports that, as some people has already guessed, Rep. Adam Schiff had advance knowledge of the whistleblower complaint against President Trump:
The Democratic head of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, 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, according to a spokesman and current and former American officials…
The C.I.A. officer approached a House Intelligence Committee aide with his concerns about Mr. Trump only after he had had a colleague first convey them to the C.I.A.’s top lawyer. Concerned about how that initial avenue for airing his allegations through the C.I.A. was unfolding, the officer then approached the House aide. In both cases, the original accusation was vague.
The House staff member, following the committee’s procedures, suggested the officer find a lawyer to advise him and file a whistle-blower complaint. The aide shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff. The aide did not share the whistle-blower’s identity with Mr. Schiff, an official said.
So that explains why the complaint reads like it was drafted by a lawyer: It was drafted by a lawyer at the recommendation of a Democratic staffer working for Adam Schiff. But while admitting they knew about the substance of the complaint, Schiff’s office is denying he saw the actual written complaint in advance:
Schiff spox also says "at no point did the Committee review or receive the complaint in advance… The Committee did not receive the complaint until the night before the Acting Director of National Intelligence’s open hearing before the Committee."
— Jared Halpern (@JaredHalpern) October 2, 2019
The NY Times doesn’t give us an exact timeline but this also explains why Schiff announced a “wide-ranging investigation” into Trump, Giuliani, and Ukraine on September 9, and then announced the whistleblower complaint was being withheld several days later. At the time, he wouldn’t say what the complaint was about and pretended he was speculating it must involve Trump:
“The Committee can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials,” Schiff wrote in a letter to Maguire on Friday.
The initial whistleblower complaint was filed last month, and Schiff indicated that it was required by law to be shared with Congress nearly two weeks ago. His subpoena requires the information to be turned over by Sept. 17 or else he intends to compel Maguire to appear before Congress in a public hearing on Sept. 19.
Schiff said Maguire declined to confirm or deny whether the whistleblower’s complaint relates to anything the Intelligence Committee is currently investigating or whether White House lawyers were involved in the decision-making about the complaint.
President Trump was asked about the story during a joint press conference with the President of Finland. Trump held up a copy of the report, which he said he’d just been handed. “It shows that Schiff is a fraud,” Trump said before the question was even finished. He added, “I think it’s a scandal that he knew before. I would go a step further. I think he probably helped write it.” Trump then repeated that saying, “He knew long before and he helped write it too. It’s a scam. It’s a scam.”
It may be a scam but the Times’ story does not say that Schiff helped to directly write the complaint, only that they knew about it and directed the whistleblower to a lawyer. So the real news here is that Schiff knew in advance where this was heading and then played it out as an unfolding drama for the media over the past several weeks.
Here’s Trump reacting to the story.
Update: Why didn’t Schiff tell the truth?
2/2 I think the answer is obvious. He knew how it would look. So he gave this answer, “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.” If by “we” he meant only himself, he’s being slippery. If by “we” he meant himself and his staff, he lied.
— Brit Hume (@brithume) October 2, 2019