Issued on: Modified:
A second whistleblower has come forward with first-hand knowledge of President Donald Trumps attempts to get the Ukrainian president to investigate a political rival, lawyers for the official said on Sunday.
Lawyer Mark Zaid said the person, also an intelligence official, has direct knowledge of some of the allegations involving the initial whistleblower complaint, which triggered impeachment proceedings against the Republican president.
The emergence of a second protected witness complicates efforts by Trump and his Republican supporters to dismiss the complaint as politically motivated hearsay and may strengthen the Democrats case against him.
The complaint, filed with the inspector general on August 12, cited information received from half a dozen U.S. officials expressing concern that Trump was using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country as he seeks re-election to a second term in 2020.
It also alleged that Trump leveraged $400 million in aid to secure a promise from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
IC WHISTLEBLOWER UPDATE: I can confirm that my firm and my team represent multiple whistleblowers in connection to the underlying August 12, 2019, disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General. No further comment at this time. https://t.co/05b5aAVm2G
Andrew P. Bakaj (@AndrewBakaj) October 6, 2019
“I can confirm that my firm and my team represent multiple whistleblowers in connection to the underlying August 12, 2019, disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General,” Andrew Bakaj, a second lawyer, said on Twitter. Bakaj declined further comment.
Zaid said the whistleblower had spoken with the inspector general as part of an initial examination of the whistleblower complaint. An interview with the inspector general affords protection against reprisal.
Confirmation of another whistleblower followed stirrings of discontent within Trumps own Republican Party after he called on Beijing on Friday to investigate Bidens son, who had business dealings in China.
Republican U.S. Senators Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse and Susan Collins have expressed concerns about Trump reaching out to foreign countries to help him in his 2020 re-election bid.
However, other Republicans stood firmly in support of Trump on news shows on Sunday, echoing the presidents insistence that there was nothing wrong with his Ukraine call and dismissing his entreaty to China as a joke, even though Trump continues to raise the issue.
“I doubt if the China comment was serious to tell you the truth,” U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on CBS programme Face the Nation.
“I dont imagine thats what he was doing. Certainly we shouldnt expect the Chinese, the Russians or any of our national security adversaries to be helpful in any way.”
Trump has alleged that Hunter Biden profited in his business dealings in both Ukraine and China from his fathers position, although there has been no evidence of any wrongdoing.
The Biden family was PAID OFF, pure and simple! The fake news must stop making excuses for something that is totally inexcusable. Sleepy Joe said he never spoke to the Ukrainian company, and then the picture came out where he was playing golf with the company boss and Hunter…..
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2019
“The Biden family was PAID OFF, pure and simple!” Trump exclaimed on Twitter on Sunday.
The president also railed against the “do-nothing” Democrats impeachment with a string of retweets from supporters, touting his high approval ratings among Republicans.
The telephone call with Zelensky, a summary of which was released by the White House, and the whistleblower complaint prompted House of Representatives Speaker NRead More – Source