A second whistleblower with direct knowledge of Donald Trump’s plot to put pressure on Ukraine to investigate his political rival is now coming forward in what political experts call a potentially devastating development for the president.
As ABC News reported, the lawyer who represents the initial whistleblower who came forward with a complaint against Trump said he is now representing a second person who has even more direct knowledge of Trump’s actions. The initial complaint said that Trump took a series of actions meant to pressure Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, for what are reported to be baseless allegations of corruption in Hunter’s business dealings.
The report from ABC News noted that this second whistleblower could deal a significant blow to Trump’s defense that his contact with Ukraine, including a July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president, was totally proper.
“The existence of a second whistleblower — particularly one who can speak directly about events involving the president related to conversations involving Ukraine — could undercut Trump’s repeated insistence that the original complaint, released on Sept. 26, was ‘totally inaccurate,’ ” the report claimed.
A summary of the phone call released by the White House appeared to corroborate the account of the first whistleblower, showing Trump pressuring the Ukrainian president to have his country investigate the Bidens. Text messages from top diplomats released by Congress this week also appeared to show that Trump was withholding military aid to Ukraine on the condition that the investigation be launched.
Trump’s opponents have seized on the revelation, painting the second whistleblower as a devastating development for a president who attacked the first whitleblower as fake because the person had only secondhand knowledge of many of the events.
BREAKING: Second whistleblower comes forward regarding the Trump-Ukraine scandal. This is terrible news for Trump to receive as he leaves for the golf course, which he spent four hours at yesterday. He then loafed around, proving once again he’s lazy and absolutely useless.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) October 6, 2019
CNN’s Jake Tapper reported on Twitter that the second whistleblower has already spoken to the intelligence community inspector general and can confirm details shared by the initial whistleblower, giving firsthand knowledge of the events described. Reports have noted that because this person has already spoken to the inspector general and shared details, they are entitled to the protections offered to whistleblowers even if they do not file a formal complaint.
Trump has offered a series of defenses as he faces an impeachment inquiry, at times attacking the whistleblower and then attacking House Intelligence Committee Chariman Adam Schiff. In a more recent development, Trump has reportedly blamed Energy Secretary Rick Perry, saying that he did not want to call the Ukrainian president and that it was at Perry’s insistence that he made the call.