White House

Whistleblower Had Professional Relationship With Democratic 2020 Candidate: Report

CIA Headquarters Building in McLean, Va. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

The anonymous member of the intelligence community who filed the whistleblower complaint against President Trump that has resulted in a formal impeachment probe against him reportedly had a professional relationship with one of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.

Three people familiar with the situation said the Intelligence Community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, revealed during closed-door interviews with Republicans that the whistleblower, reportedly a registered Democrat, had a prior work relationship with one of the current Democratic presidential contenders, according to a report in the Washington Examiner published Tuesday.

“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,” one of the sources said.

Atkinson previously wrote in a letter dated August 26 that the whistleblower had “some indicia of an arguable political bias … in favor of a rival political candidate.”

However, Atkinson appeared to regard those concerns as relatively minor, concluding that “such evidence did not change my determination that the complaint relating to the urgent concern ‘appears credible'” and should be shared with members of Congress.

The Justice Department clashed with inspector general’s determination, however, saying in an Office of Legal Counsel opinion that the complaint was not “urgent” because it did not relate to “the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity,”and therefore did not have to be released to the congressional intelligence committees.

The whistleblower’s complaint deals with a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump asked Zelensky to help investigate former vice president Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, over allegations that the former vice president used his position to help a Ukrainian energy company avoid a corruption probe soon after Hunter was appointed to its board of directors.

Trump has admitted to temporarily withholding nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine intended to protect against Russian aggression, but said he did so because he wished other countries to contribute militarily and financially to Ukraine as well.

House Democrats launched a formal impeachment probe last month against Trump over the Ukraine allegations.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Elizabeth Warren Is Not Honest

If you want to run for office, political consultants will hammer away at one point: Tell stories. People respond to stories. We’ve been a story-telling species since our fur-clad ancestors gathered around campfires. Don’t cite statistics. No one can remember statistics. Make it human. Make it relatable. ... Read More
White House

More Evidence the Guardrails Are Gone

At the end of last month, just as the news of the Ukraine scandal started dominating the news cycle, I argued that we're seeing evidence that the guardrails that staff had placed around Donald Trump's worst instincts were in the process of breaking down. When Trump's staff was at its best, it was possible to draw ... Read More
National Review


Today is my last day at National Review. It's an incredibly bittersweet moment. While I've only worked full-time since May, 2015, I've contributed posts and pieces for over fifteen years. NR was the first national platform to publish my work, and now -- thousands of posts and more than a million words later -- I ... Read More
Economy & Business

Andrew Yang, Snake Oil Salesman

Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur and gadfly, has definitely cleared the bar for a successful cause candidate. Not only has he exceeded expectations for his polling and fundraising, not only has he developed a cult following, not only has he got people talking about his signature idea, the universal basic ... Read More

Feminists Have Turned on Pornography

Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the feminist movement has sought to condemn traditional sexual ethics as repressive, misogynistic, and intolerant. As the 2010s come to a close, it might be fair to say that mainstream culture has reached the logical endpoint of this philosophy. Whereas older Americans ... Read More
White House

The Impeachment Defense That Doesn’t Work

If we’ve learned anything from the last couple of weeks, it’s that the “perfect phone call” defense of Trump and Ukraine doesn’t work. As Andy and I discussed on his podcast this week, the “perfect” defense allows the Democrats to score easy points by establishing that people in the administration ... Read More