Responding to that reporting on Twitter, Mark S. Zaid, a lawyer for the whistle-blower, brushed off the idea that party registration proved anything about his client’s credibility.
“We won’t comment on identifying info but if true, give me a break! Bias? Seriously?” he wrote.
Still, the whistle-blower’s political affiliation and the other facts, should they become public, could fuel arguments from Mr. Trump and his Republican allies that his actions were politically motivated or that his political views colored how he assessed a string of actions he heard about from other government officials and then summarized in his complaint.
Mr. Atkinson’s initial review of the complaint identified some indications “of an arguable political bias on the part of the complainant in favor of a rival political candidate,” he wrote in a letter to the acting director of national intelligence in August. But, he added, “such evidence did not change my determination that the complaint relating to the urgent concern ‘appears credible.’”
As part of his complaint, the whistle-blower filled out a form, also reviewed by The Times, that asked what other actions, if any, he took in regard to his allegations. The whistle-blower checked a box indicating that he had relayed his concerns about Mr. Trump to another “office of department/agency involved,” likely a reference to the C.I.A.’s general counsel, Courtney Simmons Elwood. The whistle-blower had an intermediary share his allegations with Ms. Elwood before he approached Mr. Atkinson.
The whistle-blower did not check a box indicating that he had spoken to Congress or one of its committees about his allegations. Republicans have seized on that since Fox News revealed it last week, arguing that it is at odds with the C.I.A. officer’s approach to a House Intelligence Committee aide about his concerns before he filed his whistle-blower complaint.
It is illegal to intentionally lie on a disclosure form, but whether the whistle-blower was justified in omitting his initial contact with Congress probably depends on the substance of the interactions.
The officer approached an aide to Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the Intelligence Committee chairman, with vague outlines of his concern, a spokesman for Mr. Schiff has said. The House aide, in accordance with committee practice, encouraged the officer to hire a lawyer to advise him and contact the inspector general. But he also shared some of what the officer conveyed with Mr. Schiff, though not his identity.