Second whistleblower comes forward in Trump-Ukraine scandal
A second whistleblower has come forward with information about President Donald Trump’s call with the president of Ukraine, according to attorneys representing that whistleblower and the intelligence official whose earlier complaint set off a series of events culminating in an impeachment inquiry.
"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," attorney Andrew Bakaj told NBC News.
The July 25 phone call led a U.S. intelligence official to file a whistleblower complaint that set off a cascade of fast-moving events, ultimately leading to an impeachment inquiry into the president.
Trump has publicly maintained that the call was "absolutely perfect" and "totally appropriate."
A description of the call made public by the White House showed Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to look into why Ukraine's top prosecutor had apparently ended an investigation into a Ukrainian gas company that once employed former Vice President Joe Biden's son as a board member.
Text messages given to Congress Thursday and released by House Democrats suggest the call was part of a broader effort from Trump and his administration to pressure Ukraine.
The texts show U.S. ambassadors working to persuade Ukraine to publicly commit to investigating Trump’s political opponents and explicitly linking the inquiry to whether Ukraine’s president would be granted an official White House visit.
The messages offer the fullest picture to date of how top diplomats and Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani sought to advance Trump’s goal of getting the Ukrainians to investigate both meddling in the 2016 election and Hunter Biden.
The new details on how Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine unfolded came as the president publicly called for another foreign country — China — to probe one of his top political opponents.
Trump lashed out at the second whistleblower on Saturday amid a day-long effort at defending himself on Twitter.
"The first so-called second hand information 'Whistleblower' got my phone conversation almost completely wrong, so now word is they are going to the bench and another 'Whistleblower' is coming in from the Deep State, also with second hand info," Trump tweeted. "Meet with Shifty. Keep them coming!"