President Trump seized on a news report that the whistleblower who revealed his call to Ukraine’s leader had a “professional” link to one of the Democratic presidential contenders to blast the impeachment inquiry as a “Witch Hunt Scam.”
“Wow, Just Breaking: ‘The (big deal) Whistleblower had a ‘PROFESSIONAL TIE’ to 2020 Democratic Candidate.’ Washington Examiner, @ByronYork In other words, was working with someone who was potentially running against me. Why wasn’t this reported by the ICIG? A Witch Hunt Scam!,” the president wrote in his reaction to the newspaper’s report late Tuesday.
Trump followed up Wednesday morning by questioning the integrity of the whistleblower’s information.
“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. This is no Whistleblower,” the president said in a Wednesday posting.
“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?” Trump wrote, referring to Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community.
The Washington Examiner reported on Tuesday afternoon that Atkinson told Republicans during a House hearing last Friday that the whistleblower self-disclosed that he was a registered Democrat and had “some type of professional relationship” with one of the Democratic candidates.
Atkinson did not identify the candidate.
The whistleblower, who has not been identified by name, filed a complaint in August about the July 25 call between Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump sought an investigation into Democratic political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Atkinson in his Aug. 26 letter to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire noted the presence of “arguable political bias” on the whistleblower’s part but added that “such evidence” did not change his determination that the information “appears credible.”
The complaint prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch the impeachment inquiry.