Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley on Wednesday described the whistleblower complaint about President Donald Trump’s communications with Ukraine as “deeply disturbing” after viewing the document.
“I can’t detail what it involves. Period,” Quigley told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.” “I will tell people that it is deeply disturbing. It reinforces the concerns that what we previously learned and I think it is a blueprint for what we still need to know.”
Quigley asserted the whistleblower complaint “is the political equivalent” of Trump’s claim during his 2016 presidential campaign that he could “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody” without losing voters.
“What the President said during the campaign, he said he could shoot someone on the street and his base would stay with him. I guess what I read, to me, was the political equivalent of that: defying the constitution, committing a criminal act and thinking, ‘Well I can get away with it,’ ” he said. “Some sort of bizarre cult of personality. Deeply disturbing what we read this morning. Alarming.”
The whistleblower complaint – which was hand-delivered to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for lawmakers to review – deals, at least in part, with a phone call Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25. A transcript of the conversation released by the White House shows Trump repeatedly pushed Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.
Even before the whistleblower complaint was made available to lawmakers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday declared Trump had betrayed his oath of office and announced she was opening a formal impeachment inquiry intot he President.
Trump has downplayed the significance of the complaint, claiming the whistleblower is partisan and his conversations with foreign leaders have been “appropriate.”
Quigley said Wednesday that he thinks the whistleblower complaint would “have an impact” on public support for impeachment if it were made public.
“I do think it will have an impact on the Americans who haven’t already made up their mind,” he said. “We’re counting on them to lead this country forward.”
Speaking to CNN later Wednesday, California Rep. Eric Swalwell echoed Quigley’s characterization of the whistleblower complaint, adding that it outlines “further evidence to seek, other witnesses to find, and documents as well as witnesses who would corroborate what he or she is complaining is an urgent and credible concern, which I also found to be an urgent and credible concern.”
While most lawmakers declined to comment on the complaint Wednesday, some Republicans did push back on the way Democrats were framing the document.
Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah told CNN after viewing the complaint “there’s nothing in there that changes the way I felt” earlier in the day when he had expressed support for Trump’s accounting of events.
Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas said the best evidence he saw was the transcript of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian President “as opposed to an accounting of the conversation from someone who wasn’t there.”
“It provided information beyond the transcript,” he said of the complaint, but wouldn’t weigh in on whether that information is detrimental or beneficial to Trump.
And after viewing the document Wednesday, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York tweeted that she does not support impeachment and that the complaint “should be immediately declassified and made public for the American people to read.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff announced Tuesday that the whistleblower who filed the complaint would like to speak to the committee.
“We have been informed by the whistleblower’s counsel that their client would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance from the Acting (Director of National Intelligence) as to how to do so,” Schiff tweeted.
CNN’s Ted Barrett and Zachary Cohen contributed to this report.