Schiff accuses Trump of 'witness intimidation' over whistleblower complaint

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Kasich says he'd back impeachment The Hill's 12:30 Report: White House does damage control after Mulvaney remarks MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday denounced President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE's remarks about those involved in a whistleblower complaint focused on his dealings with Ukraine, arguing Trump's comments amounted to “witness intimidation.”

"The President’s suggestion that those involved in the whisteblower complaint should be dealt with as 'we used to do' for 'spies and treason' is a reprehensible invitation to violence against witnesses in our investigation," Schiff tweeted after reports surfaced that Trump described the whistleblower and officials who gave them information as "almost a spy."

"All Americans must denounce such witness intimidation."

Speaking at a private fundraiser at the Intercontinental Hotel in New York on Thursday morning, Trump suggested that the whistleblower and other unnamed White House officials cited in the complaint committed treason, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing a recording it obtained.

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The New York Times confirmed Trump's comments, citing a person briefed on what took place.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

“Basically, that person never saw the report, never saw the call, he never saw the call — heard something and decided that he or she or whoever the hell they saw — they’re almost a spy,” Trump said, according to the Los Angeles Times, adding that he wanted know "who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information?"

"Because that’s close to a spy,” he continued. “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”

The comments from Trump arrived the same morning that a declassified version of the whistleblower complaint focused on the president's interactions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was released to the public. 

The complaint largely focuses on Trump and his personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGiuliani asked State Dept. to grant visa for ex-Ukraine official at center of Biden allegations: report Overnight Energy: Trump taps deputy energy secretary to replace Perry | Praises pick Dan Brouillette as 'total professional' | Perry denies quid pro quo over Ukraine Ex-Watergate prosecutor says evidence in impeachment inquiry 'clearly' points to Trump MORE's efforts to push Ukraine to investigate unsubstantiated allegations about former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump knocks Romney as 'Democrat secret asset' in new video Giuliani asked State Dept. to grant visa for ex-Ukraine official at center of Biden allegations: report Perry won't comply with subpoena in impeachment inquiry MORE and his dealings in Ukraine related to an energy company on whose board his son Hunter Biden sat.

The whistleblower, whose identity remains unknown, alleges that they received information from several government officials that Trump was "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign government in the 2020 U.S. election." 

The figure also states that allegations about a July phone call between Trump and Zelensky stemmed from "multiple White House officials with direct knowledge." 

The White House on Wednesday released a memo of the call that appears to line up with details from the complaint, showing that Trump asked Zelensky to work with Giuliani and Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrMulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe Mulvaney ties withheld Ukraine aid to political probe sought by Trump Matthew Shepard's parents blast Barr's LGBTQ record in anniversary of hate crime law MORE.

Trump has repeatedly lashed out at Democrats and the news media over their reaction to the revelations. He's also questioned the motives of the whistleblower, claiming in a tweet earlier this week that the anonymous figure was a "partisan hack."

Following a House Intelligence Committee hearing focused on the acting director of national intelligence's handling of the whistleblower complaint, Trump derided Schiff as someone with "zero credibility." 

"We’ve done so many things that are so incredible ... and I have to put up with Adam Schiff on an absolutely perfect phone call to the new president of Ukraine," Trump told reporters at Andrews Air Force Base.