Second whistleblower emerges
Impeachment turmoil intensifies over Trump’s dealings with Ukraine
WASHINGTON — A second whistleblower has come forward with information about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
The allegations add to the U.S. impeachment turmoil and potentially provided new leads to Democrats in their investigation of Trump’s conduct.
Attorney Mark Zaid, who represents both whistleblowers, said the second person has spoken to the intelligence community’s internal watchdog and can corroborate information from the original whistleblower. That alleged Trump pushed Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s family. The new whistleblower works in the intelligence field and has “first-hand knowledge” of key events, Zaid said.
The emergence of the second whistleblower threatened to undermine arguments from Trump and his allies to discredit the original complaint. They have called it politically motivated, claimed it was filed improperly and dismissed it as unreliable because it was based on second-hand or third-hand information.
A transcript of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, released by the White House, has corroborated the central claim that Trump asked Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Text messages from State Department officials revealed other details, including that Ukraine was promised a visit with Trump if the government would agree to investigate the 2016 election and Ukrainian gas company Burisma.
Rep. Jim Himes, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said word of a second whistleblower indicates a larger shift.
“The president’s real problem is that his behaviour has finally gotten to a place where people are saying, ‘Enough,’ ” Himes said.
Democrats have zeroed in on the State Department in the opening phase of their impeachment investigation. The Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees have already interviewed Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine who provided the text messages. At least two other witnesses are set for depositions this week: Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Marie Yovanovitch, who was ousted as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
Trump and his supporters deny he did anything improper.
No administration officials appeared on the Sunday news shows to defend the president, while other Republicans focused mainly on attacking Democrats.
A few Republicans suggested Trump was only joking this past week when he publicly called on China to investigate the Bidens.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of Trump’s most vocal backers, provided, perhaps, the strongest defence of the president.
He said there was nothing wrong with Trump’s July conversation with Zelenskiy and the accusation looks like a “political setup.”
As for Trump, rather than visiting his nearby golf coursefor a second day, he stayed at the White House, where he tweeted and retweeted, with the Bidens a main target.
The emergence of a second whistleblower threatens to undermine attempts by U.S. President Donald Trump and his allies to discredit the original complaint.