A second whistleblower said to have direct information of President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine that have become the center of an impeachment inquiry has come forward, an attorney said Sunday morning.
“I can confirm that my firm and my team represent multiple whistleblowers in connection to the underlying August 12, 2019, disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General,” said attorney Andrew Bakaj, the lead attorney for the first whistleblower. “No further comment at this time.”
According to a first whistleblower complaint made public last month, Trump abused “his office for personal gain” by asking the president of Ukraine during a phone call to investigate a political rival, leaving them “deeply disturbed.” The whistleblower said in the complaint that they were not a “direct witness” to these events, but said they found the events credible because “multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another.”
Trump has rejected allegations that he did anything improper on the phone call, calling it “perfect,” and criticizing the first whistleblower for not having first-hand information. The second whistleblower, however, is said to have direct knowledge about the president’s dealings with Ukraine, according to attorney Mark Zaid.
The news comes after text messages released late Thursday by House Democrats revealed top US diplomats to Ukraine discussing a quid pro quo at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into Trump: that aid to the country — in the form of either military funding or the president’s support — would be withheld until it did the bidding of the president’s personal political interests.
The exchanges lay out groundwork for a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and support the heart of a whistleblower’s narrative that Trump “abused his office for personal gain.”
In a July 25 phone call, the US president asked his Ukrainian counterpart to help dig up dirt on former vice president Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election. During the call, Trump also made vague references to CrowdStrike, the company hired to investigate the hack of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election, and former special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump also wanted Ukraine to investigate the work Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, did for Burisma, a Ukrainian company.
Senior White House officials were then directed by White House lawyers to “lock down” records of the call between the two leaders, the first whistleblower said. Specifically, the officials were tasked with removing the electronic transcript from the computer system in which transcripts are typically stored and upload it to a separate system used to handle classified information.
President Trump said publicly Thursday that he still wants Ukraine to conduct an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden.
“I would think that if they were honest about it, they would start a major investigation into the Bidens,” he told reporters outside the White House, adding, “they should investigate the Bidens.”