Thu, 21 Nov 2019

Second Whistleblower Comes Forward in Trump-Ukraine Scandal

Voice of America
07 Oct 2019, 04:05 GMT+10

Masood Farivar and Steve Herman contributed to this report.

A second U.S. intelligence official has approached the intelligence community's watchdog with "first-hand information" that backs the original whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine, a lawyer representing the two said on Sunday.

Mark Zaid, who represents both whistleblowers, said the second whistleblower came forward after the intelligence community's inspector general began investigating in August whether the complaint was credible and of "urgent concern." The complaint has sparked an impeachment inquiry into Trump.

"It's not a new approach," Zaid told VOA. "It was part of the ICIG's urgent concern investigation."

In addition, Zaid said, a number of other whistleblowers have come forward in connection with the August complaint, as the inspector general, Michael Atkinson, testified before the House Intelligence Community last week.

The first whistleblower filed a complaint regarding a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which Trump asked for help investigating a Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden along with Biden's son, Hunter.

Trump tweeted Saturday, "The first so-called second hand information "Whistleblower" got my phone conversation almost completely wrong, so now word is they are going to the bench and another "Whistleblower" is coming in from the Deep State, also with second hand info. Meet with Shifty. Keep them coming!"

Trump has insisted that no pressure was exerted during the July 25 call with Ukraine's president. He has repeatedly termed the call with Zelenskiy as "perfect," while attacking his critics as "traitors" and alleging a "coup" is in the works to remove him from office

The president, however, told reporters on Thursday he would like both Ukraine and China to investigate ties between their countries and Biden's son.

Some members of Trump's own Republican Party criticized Trump over comment. Those included U.S. Senators Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse and Susan Collins.

The president lashed out at Romney on Saturday and Sunday, tweeting "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!"

The first whistleblower complaint prompted House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump, saying that his actions threatened national security.

The complaint alleges Trump used "the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 election," and that Attorney General Bill Barr and Trump's personal attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, also appear to be involved in the effort.

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