Se­cond whistle­blower emerges

Im­peach­ment tur­moil in­ten­si­fies over Trump’s deal­ings with Ukraine

The Peterborough Examiner - - CANADA & WORLD - ERIC TUCKER, JILL COLVIN AND RICHARD LARDNER

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.

JABIN BOTSFORD THE WASH­ING­TON POST

The emer­gence of a se­cond whistle­blower threat­ens to un­der­mine at­tempts by U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his al­lies to dis­credit the orig­i­nal com­plaint.

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