A second intelligence official with “firsthand knowledge” of President Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden came forward after Trump repeatedly complained that the whistleblower who triggered the House impeachment inquiry relied on “secondhand” information.
A whistleblower complaint filed by a CIA officer earlier this year revealed that Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden and help discredit the Russia probe and later restricted access to records of the call. The White House released a partial transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky confirming the whistleblower’s account. That did not stop Trump from trying to discredit the whistleblower and demand he be publicly identified.
Trump’s complaints, which came after the White House released a transcript confirming the whistleblower complaint, also came after the intelligence community inspector general, the director of national intelligence, and the CIA’s top lawyer reviewed the complaint, found it “credible,” and submitted criminal referrals to the Justice Department suggesting all three Trump-appointed officials believed the president may have committed a crime.
Now, a second whistleblower:
Lawyers representing the initial whistleblower told The New York Times that they are now representing a second intelligence official with “firsthand knowledge” of the details revealed in the initial whistleblower complaint.
The second official has been interviewed by the intelligence community’s inspector general and is now protected from retaliation as a whistleblower, the attorneys said.
The New York Times previously reported that the official has “more direct information” about the events than the first whistleblower.
Trump lashes out:
Trump alleged that the new whistleblower was a “deep state” plant that is out to get him.
“Democrat lawyer is same for both Whistleblowers?” he tweeted. “All support Obama and Crooked Hillary. Witch Hunt!”
The attorneys for both whistleblowers told The Time they hoped the first-hand account would stop Trump from demanding to unmask the first whistleblower.
“Our hope is that the focus will appropriately shift to the substance and merits of the allegations rather than the individual whistle-blowers, each of whom has a legal right to remain anonymous,” attorney Mark Zaid told the outlet.
“What’s happening is that people around the president, professionals, who are in the Oval Office, who are in the Situation Room, are watching what is happening and are finally saying, ‘My God, this cannot happen anymore,’ and they are coming forward,” Democratic Rep. Jim Hines, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, told CBS News.