The existence of a second whistleblower, who claims to have firsthand knowledge of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, could add to pressure on the US president and aid an impeachment inquiry against him.
Mark Zaid, the lawyer representing the first whistleblower, told ABC News on Sunday that the second person is also from the US intelligence community and has been interviewed by the inspector general.
The lawyer told various media that the second whistleblower, who has firsthand knowledge of US President Donald Trump’s call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which the US leader is accused of pressuring Ukraine for personal political gain, has spoken with the intelligence community’s internal watchdog.
Zaid confirmed the report about a second whistleblower in a tweet.
NEWS UPDATE: I can confirm this report of a second #whistleblower being represented by our legal team. They also made a protected disclosure under the law and cannot be retaliated against. This WBer has first hand knowledge. https://t.co/zYkUYgJ0mE
— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) October 6, 2019
Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump. The decision to launch the inquiry was triggered by allegations that Trump sought help from a foreign government in his reelection bid. Pelosi said the president’s actions jeopardized US election integrity and threatened national security.
At the center of the scandal is a secret intelligence whistleblower complaint about the president’s July 25 phone call with Zelenskiy, in which Trump allegedly pressured his counterpart to dig up dirt on former vice president and possible 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
White House promises cooperation
The president has remained defiant in the face of the Democratic impeachment inquiry. In a series of posts on Twitter, Trump attacked the first whistleblower, saying he wanted to meet “[his] accuser,” as well as “the person who illegally gave this information” to the whistleblower.
“Was this person SPYING on the US President? Big Consequences!” he wrote on September 30.
But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the State Department would follow the law as House Democrats seek documents and other information about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
Pompeo, who was on the line during Trump’s Ukraine phone call in July, said his department has yet to turn over any documents but intends to follow a proper review.
Seeds of Republican discontent?
The reports about the existence of a second whistleblower in the Trump-Ukraine scandal followed growing discontent among some members of Trump’s own Republican Party.
Republican senators Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse and Susan Collins expressed concerns about Trump reaching out to foreign countries, following the US president’s request to China on Friday to investigate Biden’s son, who has business dealings in China.
Trump responded directly to Romney on Twitter, painting him as a traitor to his party.
The Democrats are lucky that they don’t have any Mitt Romney types. They may be lousy politicians, with really bad policies (Open Borders, Sanctuary Cities etc.), but they stick together!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2019
The majority of Republicans continue to remain silent or speak out in support of Trump. On Sunday, some of the president’s most vocal supporters backed him and criticized Democrats for how they are proceeding with the impeachment inquiry.
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a staunch Trump supporter, said Trump had done nothing wrong in his phone call with Zelenskiy.
On Sunday, he tweeted that a second whistleblower coming forward “doesn’t mean better or reliable” and likened it to the Democrats’ actions against Trump’s Supreme Court justice pick, Brett Kavanaugh, whose nomination battle had featured witnesses alleging that he had sexual assaulted them.
When it comes to “more whistleblowers coming forward”…………..I’ve seen this movie before — with Brett #Kavanaugh.
More and more doesn’t mean better or reliable.https://t.co/tx1aIBYrZQ
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 6, 2019