Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) fired off a scathing letter to the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Wednesday, calling his recent testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee “insolent and obstructive.”
ICIG Michael Atkinson is under fire for secretly altering intelligence community whistleblower complaint forms in September and backdating those changes to August when the anti-Trump “whistleblower” complaint was filed.
Under the new rules, whistleblowers are no longer required to provide first-hand information to support allegations of wrongdoing.
The ICIG admitted to lawmakers that the whistleblower forms and rules were changed in September, even though the new forms and guidance state that the changes were made in August. When asked to explain why the changes were backdated to August, Atkinson reportedly had no answer.
“Your disappointing testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on September 26 was evasive to the point of being insolent and obstructive,” Cotton, a Republican member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), wrote.
Cotton added that Atkinson refused to disclose to committee members why Atkinson determined the anti-Trump complainant had a partisan political bias against Trump.
“Despite repeated questions, you refused to explain what you meant in your written report by ‘indicia of an arguable political bias on the part 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.”
“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 continued. “I’m dissatisfied, to put it mildly, with your refusal to answer my questions, while more fully briefing the three-ring circus that the House Intelligence Committee has become.”
As American Greatness reported on Tuesday, Atkinson allegedly told the House Intelligence Committee that the anti-Trump complainant is a registered Democrat and has a significant tie to one of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.
In his letter, Cotton went to ask Atkinson to reveal the exact nature of the”whistleblower’s” political bias against the president, and whether he had coordinated messaging with CNN prior to his testimony.
Ahead of Atkinson’s testimony in the House, CNN’s Jake Tapper falsely asserted, citing a “source familiar with the investigation prompted by the whistleblower,” that the complainant’s voter registration was the sole evidence of the complainant’s political bias.
“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?” Cotton asked. He also directed Atkinson to disclose the anti-Trump Democratic presidential candidate with whom the complainant had a professional relationship.
“This information is also simple, unclassified, and personally known to you,” Cotton wrote. “Therefore please reply in writing no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 11.”
“I look forward to your answers, even two weeks late,” Cotton concluded.
In a statement on Wednesday, lawyers for the anti-Trump complainant rejected claims that their client is politically biased.
— Carol Leonnig (@CarolLeonnig) October 9, 2019
The lawyers state that their client has “never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign or party.” But of course, conservative media reports didn’t make that claim.
According to the Washington Examiner’s Byron York, Atkinson told lawmakers last Friday that the whistleblower once had a significant tie to one of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. That’s not the same thing as working for a “candidate, campaign or party.”
The whistleblower is represented by deep state lawyers Andrew P. Bakaj, a former CIA officer, and Mark S. Zaid, a prominent national security lawyer in Washington.
Bakaj is an anti-Trump partisan who once did counseling work on Capitol Hill for Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer, and Zaid is a frequent Trump critic on Twitter who has a history of sleazy deep state shenanigans.
Both anti-Trump lawyers run a group that offers financial aid to deep state officials who leak about the president, according to the Washington Examiner.