Another Whistleblower Comes Forward on Ukraine [UPDATED]

Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais (AP)

Update, Sunday, 10:30 am: Attorney Mark Zaid, who represents the whistleblower who prompted an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, said he is now representing a second whistleblower with similar allegations.

Zaid told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that the second person is an intelligence officer and has firsthand information relevant to the case against Trump, but has not yet spoken to Congress.

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This person has been interviewed by Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson, and is protected under federal whistleblower laws. Zaid did not know if this second whistleblower is the same person mentioned in the New York Times report below.

Trump already has shown how he plans to respond to a second whistleblower complaint:

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President Donald Trump already is busted in the Ukraine scandal, having openly implicated himself several times, along with his personal lawyer, the vice president, the secretary of state, the attorney general, and other U.S. officials.

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But with many Republicans revealing that no amount of crime or corruption is enough to convince them to abandon Trump, even presidential confessions sometimes aren’t enough to impeach, it would seem.

Nevertheless, the case for impeachment is moving forward. And now, The New York Times is reporting that a second member of the intelligence community is considering filing a whistleblower complaint and testifying before Congress about the Trump administration’s efforts to strong-arm the Ukrainian government into investigating Trump political rival Joe Biden, along with other 2016 election conspiracy theories.

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According to the Times, this particular intelligence official has “more direct information about the events than the first whistle-blower.” An early line of attack by Republicans following the first whistleblower complaint was the claim that the official who had come forward, a CIA officer, had relied only on secondhand and thirdhand information. Despite the first whistleblower’s complaint being extremely accurate—as evidenced by records released by the White House—Republicans have attempted to discredit the report and smear the whistleblower by saying it was “hearsay.”

“It’s somebody who talked to somebody else who said they were there and this is what happened. So I think that undermines it,” Republican Sen. John Cornyn said in late September, according to Politico.

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If the Times report comes to fruition, it would help put the kibosh on at least that part of Republican talking points. The second possible whistleblower is an official who was interviewed by Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, and who corroborated allegations contained in the initial whistleblower complaint.

“…[T]estimony from someone with more direct knowledge of Mr. Trump’s efforts to use American foreign policy for potential political gain would most likely undermine conservatives’ attacks on the C.I.A. officer’s credibility,” the Times wrote.

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Of course, this shouldn’t even be needed, given the text messages that were turned over to Congress this week by former Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, who also testified for hours to lawmakers. Those texts were damning enough, showing a concerted effort by U.S. officials led by Trump to extort Ukrainian officials into doing Trump’s political bidding. Nevertheless, when it comes to whistleblowers, the more the merrier, as they have turned out to be some of the strongest weapons Democrats have in making their argument for impeachment against a president who so far has seemed untouchable.

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