September 25, 2019 / 9:48 PM / 21 days ago

U.S. House intel panel chair Schiff says whistleblower complaint disturbing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said on Wednesday after viewing a whistleblower complaint concerning President Donald Trump that the allegations were “deeply disturbing” and “very credible.”

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) listens during a news conference about impeachment proceedings at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 25, 2019. REUTERS/Al Drago

The complaint, lodged by a member of the U.S. intelligence community, reportedly centred on Trump urging Ukraine to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

“I found the allegations deeply disturbing. I also found them very credible,” Schiff told reporters.

After initially resisting demands by Democrats in Congress to see the complaint, the Trump administration relented and released its contents to House of Representatives and Senate intelligence committees on Wednesday.

Schiff thanked the whistleblower for coming forward. “I think that what this courageous individual has done has exposed serious wrongdoing,” he said. “We will do everything possible to protect you.”

Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a July phone call to launch a probe of Biden and his son, who worked for a Ukrainian gas company. A summary of the call was released on Wednesday by the Trump administration.

A Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Conaway, said after reading the complaint he did not think it would compromise Trump if it was declassified.

“I haven’t seen anything that bothers me,” Conaway said.

House Democrats Mike Quigley and Eric Swalwell said they think the summary rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanours. “The report reinforces our concerns,” Quigley said.

The Democratic-led House on Tuesday launched a formal impeachment inquiry of Trump over the Ukraine matter.

Reporting by David Morgan; Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham

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