Last week, the New York Times committed a random act of journalism when they revealed that Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-CA) learned about the outlines of a C.I.A. officer’s concerns that President Trump had abused his power days before the officer filed a whistle-blower complaint, according to a spokesman and current and former American officials.
The early account by the future whistle-blower shows how determined he was to make known his allegations that Mr. Trump asked Ukraine’s government to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election. It also explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.
The C.I.A. officer approached a House Intelligence Committee aide with his concerns about Mr. Trump only after he had had a colleague first convey them to the C.I.A.’s top lawyer. Concerned about how that initial avenue for airing his allegations through the C.I.A. was unfolding, the officer then approached the House aide. In both cases, the original accusation was vague.
Now, the Washington Examiner is reporting that in an Aug. 26 letter, the Intelligence Community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, wrote that the anonymous whistleblower who set off the Trump-Ukraine impeachment fight showed “some indicia of an arguable political bias … in favor of a rival political candidate.”
Now, there is word of more evidence of possible bias on the whistleblower’s part. Under questioning from Republicans during last Friday’s impeachment inquiry interview with Atkinson, the inspector general revealed that the whistleblower’s possible bias was not that he was simply a registered Democrat. It was that he had a significant tie to one of the Democratic presidential candidates currently vying to challenge President Trump in next year’s election.
“The IG said [the whistleblower] worked or had some type of professional relationship with one of the Democratic candidates,” said one person with knowledge of what was said.
“The IG said the whistleblower had a professional relationship with one of the 2020 candidates,” said another person with knowledge of what was said.
“What [Atkinson] said was that the whistleblower self-disclosed that he was a registered Democrat and that he had a prior working relationship with a current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate,” said a third person with knowledge of what was said.
All three sources said Atkinson did not identify the Democratic candidate with whom the whistleblower had a connection. It is unclear what the working or professional relationship between the two was.
In the Aug. 26 letter, Atkinson said that even though there was evidence of possible bias on the whistleblower’s part, “such evidence did not change my determination that the complaint relating to the urgent concern ‘appears credible,’ particularly given the other information the ICIG obtained during its preliminary review.”