House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., admitted on Sunday that he should have been clearer about his contact with the whistleblower who filed a complaint about President Trump’s July phone call with the Ukrainian president.
“I should have been much more clear,” Schiff said during an interview on CBS’ “Face The Nation.”
Fox News reported earlier this month that the intelligence community whistleblower did not disclose contact with Schiff’s staff to the intelligence committee inspector general (ICIG).
The sources said ICIG Michael Atkinson told lawmakers in a closed session that the whistleblower did not disclose the contact with the California Democrat's committee and that Atkinson didn’t investigate that contact as he had no knowledge of it.
Sources also told Fox News that Atkinson also revealed that the whistleblower volunteered he or she was a registered Democrat and that they had a prior working relationship with a prominent Democratic politician.
Schiff’s office acknowledged earlier this month that the whistleblower had reached out to them before filing a complaint in mid-August, giving Democrats advance warning of the accusations that would lead them to launch an impeachment inquiry days later.
The source said Atkinson told lawmakers he did not know how a Schiff tweet in August and other statements about Ukraine appeared to reflect the substance of the whistleblower complaint, which was not declassified and not shared with Congress until the end of September.
Schiff previously said that “we have not spoken directly to the whistleblower,” although his office later narrowed the claim, saying that Schiff himself "does not know the identity of the whistleblower, and has not met with or spoken with the whistleblower or their counsel" for any reason.
The revelation led Trump to accuse Schiff of helping to write the whistleblower complaint, which alleged misconduct by the president when he spoke to Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky in July.
"It shows that Schiff is a fraud. ... I think it's a scandal that he knew before," Trump said. "I'd go a step further. I'd say he probably helped write it. ... That's a big story. He knew long before, and he helped write it, too. It's a scam."
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.