President Donald Trump on Wednesday lashed out at the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson, in a pair of tweets in which the commander-in-chief called the impeachment inquiry into his conduct a “scam.”
Trump, referring to a report from the Washington Examiner, was furious at information that came out about the whistleblower through tesimony given by Atkinson on Friday in front of congressional investigators. Atkinson revealed in his statements that the whistleblower, who alleges Trump requested a foreign power to investigate a political opponent of his, has connections to a Democratic candidate for president themselves.
“The IG said [the whistleblower] worked or had some type of professional relationship with one of the Democratic candidates,” a person familiar with the exchange said.
Axios confirmed the Examiner’s reporting, and further reported that it was unclear whether the whistleblower worked with a candidate in a political way, or if their work as an employee with the CIA had connected them to one of the candidates.
Trump lashed out in a pair of tweets about the matter.
…..The Whistleblower’s lawyer is a big Democrat. The Whistleblower has ties to one of my DEMOCRAT OPPONENTS. Why does the ICIG allow this scam to continue?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2019
In his comments, Trump demanded that the whistleblower’s identity be made public.
“The Whistleblower’s facts have been so incorrect about my ‘no pressure’ conversation with the Ukrainian President, and now the conflict of interest and involvement with a Democrat Candidate, that he or she should be exposed and questioned properly,” Trump wrote.
The president also slammed the Atkinson. “Why does the ICIG allow this scam to continue?” he asked.
In previous accounts about the whistleblower’s accusations, Atkinson determined that their concerns were both urgent and credible. The inspector general also explained that secondhand knowledge of Trump’s call with Ukraine — a complaint the president has frequently fumed over — did not necessarily discredit the allegations they made against the commander-in-chief, CNN reported.
“In fact, by law the Complainant…need not possess first-hand information in order to file a complaint or information with respect to an urgent concern. The ICIG cannot add conditions to the filing of an urgent concern that do not exist in law,” Atkinson said in a statement last month.