A second whistleblower in the impeachment inquiry against US President Trump has come forward.
Also described as an intelligence official, this whistleblower has more “first-hand knowledge” about the events than the first whistle-blower,” and has spoken with the inspector general.
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RT reports: Attorney Mark Zaid told ABC News that he is now representing the second whistleblower, who had already been interviewed by Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson.
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Earlier, the New York Times reported that a second person may come forward and testify about the case, but it was not immediately clear whether Zaid’s new client is the same person.
Trump stands accused of leveraging his presidential authority to seek compromising material against his likely rival in the next presidential election, Joe Biden. In a phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump asked him to cooperate with a future US investigation into Ukraine’s involvement in the 2016 election. The two presidents also discussed a possible inquiry into Biden’s son, Hunter, and whether his high-paid job at a Ukrainian gas firm had anything to do with Biden pressuring Kiev into sacking a top prosecutor amid an investigation into that firm.
The Democrats have claimed that this amounted to breaking US election law and are looking for more evidence to support the accusation, which Trump himself vocally denies and calls an attempted coup against him. Trump defenders say the Congress testimony of Kurt Volker, Washington’s former special envoy to Ukraine, totally derails the narrative.
The July 25 conversation with Zelensky was brought up by the first whistleblower on August 12, and a complaint – based on what the whistleblower, reportedly a CIA agent, heard from other officials – was filed and is now being probed.
However, the White House has since released a detailed memo of the phone call, while messages shared by several US officials, including Volker, have been released by Democratic lawmakers.
None of these contained any dramatic revelations, but the two camps have completely opposing views as to whether they constitute a smoking gun that will finally cost Trump his job or a partisan-flavored nothingburger.