New Whistleblower May Give House Democrats Fresh Information

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President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats leading an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine may have fresh information to work with after a new whistleblower stepped forward with what the person’s lawyer said were firsthand knowledge of key events.

With Congress out for another week and many Republicans reticent to speak out, a text from attorney Mark Zaid stating that a second individual had emerged and could corroborate the original whistleblower’s complaint gripped Washington and potentially heightened the stakes for Trump.

Zaid, who represents both whistleblowers, told The Associated Press that the new whistleblower works in the intelligence field and has spoken to the intelligence community’s internal watchdog.

The original whistleblower, a CIA officer, filed a formal complaint with the inspector general in August that triggered the impeachment inquiry. The document alleged that Trump had used a July telephone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a political rival, Joe Biden, and his son Hunter, prompting a White House cover-up.

The push came even though there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the former vice president or his son, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Trump and his supporters deny that he did anything improper, but the White House has struggled to come up with a unified response.

A second whistleblower with direct knowledge could undermine efforts by 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 secondhand or thirdhand information.

A rough transcript of Trump’s call with Zelenskiy, released by the White House, has already corroborated the complaint’s central claim that Trump sought to pressure Ukraine on the investigation.

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 a Ukrainian gas company tied to Biden’s son — the outline of a potential quid pro quo.

Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said word of a second whistleblower indicates a larger shift inside the government.

“The president’s real problem is that his behavior 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, and 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 abruptly ousted as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in May.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of Trump’s most vocal backers, provided perhaps the strongest defense of the Republican president. He said there was nothing wrong with Trump’s July conversation with Zelenskiy and said the accusations look like a “political setup.”

As for Trump, rather than visiting his nearby golf course in Sterling, Virginia, for a second day, he stayed at the White House on Sunday, where he tweeted and retweeted, with the Bidens a main target.

“The great Scam is being revealed!” Trump wrote at one point, continuing to paint himself as the victim of a “deep state” and hostile Democrats.

Aside from Trump’s attempt to pressure Zelenskiy, the July call has raised questions about whether Trump held back near $400 million in critical American military aid to Ukraine as leverage for an investigation of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company.

Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration’s diplomatic dealings with Ukraine. Though the timing raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.

Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, wrote in The Washington Post that he had a message for Trump and “those who facilitate his abuses of power. … Please know that I’m not going anywhere. You won’t destroy me, and you won’t destroy my family.”

Additional details about the origins of Trump’s July 25 call with Zelenskiy have emerged over the weekend.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry had encouraged Trump to speak with the Ukrainian leader, but on energy and economic issues, according to spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes. She said Perry’s interest in Ukraine is part of U.S. efforts to boost Western energy ties to Eastern Europe.

Trump, who has repeatedly described his conversation with Zelenskiy as “perfect,” told House Republicans on Friday night that it was Perry who teed up the July call, according to a person familiar with Trump’s comments who was granted anonymity to discuss them. The person said Trump did not suggest that Perry had anything to do with the pressure to investigate the Bidens.

 

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11 COMMENTS

    • Dems are lucky they have supporters like you, gullible and not very bright. They are wheeling out the 2nd “whistleblower”/leaker because the first one has already been outed as a dem operative whose atty lied by not admitting they had contact with the dems a month before, and Adam Shifty Schiff being caught in a lie when he denied he knew in advance what was in the wb’s report. The wb also has been found to have a high position with a very prominent dem leader. Follow the facts, not the lies the fake news mainstream media feeds you.

      • None of what you said is pertinent to the allegations against Trump. Zero. It’s a White House generated transcript substanitating everything the whistleblower alleges. His party affiliation is meaningless in that context.

  1. There is no need for any additional information. He publicly admitted to the crime he is accused of by the whistle blower and US Congress (We the People) The only question left is will the POTUS who openly claimed that he can shoot people (or any other crime) and not be held reliable for it. Some here think its OK for the POTUS. The main problem for us Yiden is there will be a new election in 13 months and every 4 years after that. Is that what we agree with. For our sake. Our childrens and grandchildren. It doesnt matter that you hate the Democrats (Liberal,Anti-Israel…) or you hate the Republicans (White Supermacist, Neo-Nazis..) Hashem Yerachem. Even if you strongly believe that Trump is good for Yiden we all know what happened in Charlotssville (Yews will not replace us) and the first massacre of Jews in a shul in the USA.

    • You are not talking cohrenetley. Whats your point re reelections? Are you worried that someone bad for jews will be elected if we somehow give trump a free ride? Are you saying if we remove Trump then the nazis will go away vs keep him? Are you so certain it won’t anger and embolden the crazy’s even more?

      It wouldn’t be OK for the POTUS to shoot people but its OK for him to get dirt on opponents who are sneaky and the americans deserve to know. And esp if it comes from a nothing nonsense country like Ukraine. The only thing Ukriane is on the map for is Uman rosh hashana. Its a big fat joke and insignificant. And we oughto know about Biden and his ethic board work arounds.

      • What is so hard to understand? If we allow Trump to stay after Breaking the Law and asking a foreign Power to investigate a US Citizen who was never charged in the USA with any crime in return for US taxpayers money,. the Next Potus (Liberal or white supermacist/nazi) in 13 month will do the same. If we impeach him it will be a lesson to all next POTUS ( Liberal Democrat or Nazi Republican) not even to try it. We Yiden will be safe.

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