Congress

Whistleblower complaint delivered to Intel committees, House still votes for its release

Language revised to address Republicans' complaint

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., right, pushed to make a House whistleblower resolution identical to the one the Senate passed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of the House and Senate intelligence committees were already streaming into secure rooms to view a divisive whistleblower complaint by the time House voted on a resolution urging the administration to hand over details of that same document.

The House voted 421-0 Wednesday evening to adopt a nonbinding resolution that stated it was the sense of the House that the whistleblower complaint received on Aug. 12 by the inspector general of the intelligence community should be transmitted immediately to the Intelligence Committee. Two members voted "present." The complaint was delivered to the House and Senate intelligence panels before the vote began.

Earlier in the day, House Democrats moved to match their resolution on the Director of National Intelligence whistleblower so it is identical to the Senate version, which was adopted in that chamber Tuesday.

Pennsylvania Democrat Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon offered the change, after Republican leaders complained that the original House version contained criticism of President Donald Trump’s administration.

The move potentially put House Republicans on the spot since opposing the amended resolution would put them at odds with their GOP counterparts in the Senate. But the change was ultimately adopted by voice vote, with no verbal opposition heard from Republicans in the chamber. 

The House adopted the rule for consideration, as amended with Scanlon’s changes, 228-191. 

Scanlon said on the floor the amendment will replace the text of a House resolution with the Senate-adopted version. The Senate’s shorter resolution states it is the sense of the Senate that the whistleblower complaint received on Aug. 12, by the inspector general of the intelligence community should be transmitted immediately to the Intelligence Committee.

Republicans on the House Rules Committee criticized Democratic leadership Tuesday for not simply passing the Senate’s resolution.

“The fact that Senator McConnell allowed this resolution to go to the floor should show House Republicans that there is a point where you must stop turning a blind eye to this administration’s betrayal of our Constitution, our country, and our national security,” Scanlon said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona, who led debate on the rule for Republicans, said she still opposed the Democrats’ action on the whistleblower issue overall.

“I’m glad they’re removing the disparaging language against the president and the other people in his administration, that was in the House version that we saw last night in the Rules Committee,” Lesko said.

“However, I am still concerned this resolution as amended is still premature,” she said.

On Tuesday, the Senate adopted the resolution, urging the administration to hand over a whistleblower complaint reportedly tied to the president by unanimous consent. The Senate version was introduced by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York and is a nonbinding resolution.

The resolution states that the House and Senate intelligence committees “should be allowed to evaluate the complaint in a deliberate and bipartisan manner consistent with applicable statutes and processes in order to safeguard classified and sensitive information.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee plans to hold a classified meeting Thursday with the acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and the inspector general for the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson, where they will be asked to testify about what they know about the whistleblower complaint.

Reactions to whistleblower complaint

House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff said the complaint provided additional information that his committee will follow up on and Rep. Eric Swalwell said the complaint laid out other witnesses and subjects.

“I found the allegations deeply disturbing. I also found them very credible. I can understand why the IG found them credible," Schiff told reporters.

Illinois Democrats Mike Quigley and Raja Krishnamoorthi both described the complaint as "disturbing."

“It’s very disturbing. The complaint is detailed and it lays out the situation very logically and with credibility,” Krishnamoorthi told reporters.

Rep. Quigley says he expects the complaint to move through a declassification process, adding that the whistleblower complaint "should be available for mass consumption very soon."

Michael Macagnone contributed to this report. 

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