Second Person Blows Whistle, Legal Team Says.
By Annie Karni and Nicholas Fandos
WASHINGTON — An intelligence official with “first-hand knowledge” has provided information related to President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine
and is now protected from retaliation as a whistle-blower,
lawyers representing the official said on Sunday, confirming that a second individual has come forward in the matter.
Much is unknown about the official, who has been interviewed by the intelligence community’s inspector general but has not filed a formal complaint.
But the individual has hired the same legal team as the first whistle-blower.
That, and the claim of “first-hand knowledge,”
suggests testimony that might bolster the impeachment case against Mr. Trump and further undermine one of his main defense claims:
that the accusations against him are based on inaccurate, secondhand information.
The New York Times reported on Friday that an intelligence official
who has more direct knowledge of Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine than the first whistle-blower,
and who had grown alarmed by the president’s behavior, was weighing whether to come forward.
The second official was among those interviewed by the intelligence community inspector general
to corroborate the allegations of the original whistle-blower, one of the people briefed on the matter said.
For Democratic lawmakers seeking to build their case for impeachment,
the new whistle-blower could serve as an important witness for both validating what they know and potentially providing new leads for investigators.
Representative Adam B. Schiff, the California Democrat who is leading the House’s impeachment inquiry,
urged other potential whistle-blowers to come forward on Sunday night.
“We thank them for their courage,” he said.
“We thank them for their patriotism. And we hope others will follow their courageous example.”
One member of the legal team confirmed on Twitter that the firm was now representing “multiple whistleblowers” but declined to say how many.
The inspector general has said that to corroborate the first whistle-blower’s complaint,
he interviewed multiple people who would be afforded protections,
and it was unclear if the lawyer could be referring to those people or other people.