White House

Tom Cotton Lashes Out At Intelligence Community IG for Refusing to Elaborate on Whistleblower’s ‘Arguable Political Bias’

Sen. Tom Cotton speaks with reporters in Washington, D.C., in 2018. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) sent a letter to Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson on Wednesday demanding answers after reports emerged Tuesday that the whistleblower had a ‘professional relationship’ with a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

In Atkinson’s testimony to the Senate on Sept. 26, the ICIG refused to elaborate on his written report, which stated that there was an “indicia of an arguable political bias on the part of the [whistleblower] in favor of a rival political candidate.” But reports have surfaced that Atkinson elaborated on his original statement during his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.

“Your disappointing testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on September 26 was evasive to the point of being insolent and obstructive,” Cotton’s letter reads. “… 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.”

In his original Aug. 26 letter detailing the whistleblower’s accusations, Atkinson said that the individual’s political bias “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.”

Cotton ends his letter with a number of demands, including asking Atkinson to confirm the reports that the whistleblower had some level of professional relationship with a Democratic presidential campaign, and to clarify which candidate and the nature of the relationship. The letter also demands that Atkinson explain why he did not bring up the facts during the September hearing.

“This information is urgently relevant for the American people and their elected representatives to evaluate the complainant’s credibility and to determine whether the House’s so-called impeachment has been, in reality, a well-coordinated partisan attack from the beginning,” Cotton concludes.

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