After a whistleblower’s complaint against President Trump was delivered to Congress on Wednesday, several top Democrats who reviewed it described the contents as damning — and said that it reinforces their calls for his impeachment.
“I found the allegations deeply disturbing. I also found them very credible,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters. “I want to thank the whistleblower for coming forward. I think what this courageous individual has done has exposed serious wrongdoing.”
The Department of Justice, which had initially blocked the release of the complaint to Congress, delivered the still-classified document to Capitol Hill on Wednesday afternoon. Its release to lawmakers, which was mandated by law, came hours after the administration made public a summary of a July 25 phone call in which Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who served until earlier this year on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. The call between the two leaders was reportedly part of what prompted the whistleblower’s complaint against Trump.
Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., compared the whistleblower’s description of Trump’s behavior to his infamous boast during the 2016 campaign that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” without losing the support of his base.
“I guess what I read, to me, was the political equivalent of that — defying the Constitution,” Quigley told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “Committing a criminal act and thinking, ‘Well, I could get away with that’ — some sort of bizarre cult of personality.”
“It’s extraordinarily detailed,” Quigley, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, continued. “And it’s very, very well done.”
He added: “It is deeply disturbing and reinforces the concerns over what we’ve previously learned.”
Both Quigley and another Intelligence Committee member, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., said that the complaint gives the panel new leads to investigate.
“The complaint itself is a five-alarm concern for me,” Swalwell told Blitzer. “It's actually shocking that so many people saw this conduct and didn't come forward.”
On MSNBC, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., yet another member of the committee, described the complaint as “nothing short of explosive.”
“I was stunned by the breadth of the complaint and the details in which the whistleblower expressed his concerns.”
Two GOP House members, Chris Stewart, R-Utah, and Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., called for the whistleblower's complaint to be declassified and released to the public. (They both said they did not support impeachment.)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that after reading the complaint that he was “even more worried about what happened than I was when I read the memorandum of the conversation. There are so many facts that have to be examined.”
Their descriptions of the complaint come a day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ceded to mounting calls within her caucus, announcing a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump’s behavior.
“The president has admitted to asking the president of Ukraine to take actions which would benefit him politically," Pelosi said. “The actions of the Trump presidency revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.
“The president must be held accountable,” Pelosi added. “No one is above the law.”
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