WASHINGTON—Inspector General for the Intelligence Community (ICIG) Michael Atkinson has until the close of business on Oct. 11 to answer a series of questions put to him during a closed hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about the whistleblower at the center of the House Democrats impeachment drive against President Donald Trump.
“Your disappointing testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee September 26 was evasive to the point of being insolent and obstructive,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told Atkinson in a letter made public on Oct. 9.
“Despite repeated questions, you refused to explain what you meant in your written report by “an indicia of an arguable political bias on the part of the complainant on behalf of a rival political candidate,” Cotton wrote.
“This information is, of course, unclassified and we were meeting in a closed setting. Yet you moralized about how you were duty-bound not to share even a hint of this political bias with us.”
The anonymous whistleblower filed a complaint with Atkinson on Aug. 12 that alleged, based on secondhand accounts, that Trump pressured Ukraine officials in a July 25 telephone call to open a corruption investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
Hunter Biden was paid $50,000 a month by Burisma, a Ukraine natural gas company that was being investigated by a prosecutor in that Eastern European country.
The vice president gave Ukraine officials six hours to fire the prosecutor or lose $1 billion in promised U.S. military loans; the prosecutor was fired. Biden bragged about the incident in 2018 during a panel discussion at a Washington think tank.
Cotton was incensed that Atkinson subsequently disclosed details about the whistleblowers political bias to the House Select Committee on Intelligence that is the focal point of House Democrats campaign to impeach Trump.
“But now, I see media reports that you revealed to the House Intelligence Committee not only that the complainant is a registered Democrat but also that he has a professional relationship with a Democratic presidential campaign,” Cotton said in his letter.
Cotton also described the House panel—which is chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)—as a “three-ring circus.”
Cotton repeated his questions, including:
- Does the complainant have (or did he once have) a professional relationship with a Democratic presidential candidate or campaign?
- If so, which candidate or campaign, and what is the nature of that relationship?
- What other “indicia of arguable political bias” of the complainant did you find?
- Did you or anyone subject to your control or influence share with CNN that “the arguable political bias” was merely that the complainant is a registered Democrat?
- Why did you refuse to answer my questions at the Sept. 26 hearing?