Attorneys for the CIA whistleblower who brought forward a second-hand claim about President Donald Trump and his dealings with Ukrainian leaders now say they are representing “multiple” people with knowledge of the events that led up to a Congressional impeachment inquiry leveled against Trump last week.
ABC News reports that lawyer Mark Zaid, who represents the first whistleblower, told host George Stephanopolous that the “second person — also described as an intelligence official — has first-hand knowledge of some of the allegations outlined in the original complaint and has been interviewed by the head of the intelligence community’s internal watchdog office.”
If this whistleblower is a primary source and does have first-hand knowledge of a phone call between Trump and the president of Ukraine where the pair discussed former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, it could change the landscape of the impeachment inquiry completely, though precious few details about the second whistleblower are currently available aside from attorney statements.
A second attorney, Andrew Bakaj, who is also involved in representing the first whistleblower, confirmed to NBC News that there are actually “multiple” individuals who claim knowledge of Trump’s dealings.
“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,” Bakaj told the network Sunday morning. He reiterated his statement in a Tweet.
The second (or, potentially third or fourth) whistleblower has not yet communicated with Congress, Zaid told ABC. A New York Times report from Friday, which suggested the existence of a second whistleblower in the intelligence community, noted that that whistleblower was still “weighing” whether to come forward with his or her allegations. It is not clear, as ABC News confirms, that the New York Times whistleblower and Zaid’s second whistleblower are the same person.
The complaint (or potential series of complaints) stems from a July 25th phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, where Trump supposedly asked Zelenskiy to cooperate in a probe into whether Biden improperly communicated with Ukrainian prosecutors, asking them to avoid prosecuting a Ukrainian gas company with ties to his son, Hunter, ostensibly in return for favors or an increase in aid. Just days before the call, the White House had cut off a source of aid to the eastern European nation, but had not announced the change.
That phone call led to a whistleblower complaint, but the whistleblower did not have first-hand knowledge of the interaction, further documents revealed this week, putting his or her claims about the President’s impropriety into question.
A transcript, released by the White House, of the phone call showed no “quid-pro-quo,” and no inked deal between the two leaders. The White House — and Trump himself — has denied any wrongdoing. Ukrainian officials say they did not feel pressured to turn over information about Hunter Biden or Joe Biden. Text messages revealed during Congressional testimony last week show offers of a D.C. summit, possibly in return for an investigation into Hunter and Joe Biden, but no investigation was ever announced and no summit took place.
Democrats, seemingly desperate for an impeachment inquiry, seized on the claims and have opened an official investigation into the President’s actions on the matter. They cite Federal Election Committee rules barring candidates from soliciting monetary or in-kind donations from foreign nationals as the root of their concerns.