Despite Second Whistleblower, Republicans Remain Silent

As Donald Trump continues to try to undercut the credibility of the whistleblower who has been the catalyst of an impeachment inquiry against Trump, a second whistleblower has come forward. This second whistleblower reportedly has first-hand information that corroborates the initial whistleblower’s complaint.

Both whistleblowers’ complaints center on a phone call Donald Trump had with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy on July 25, during which Trump pressed Zelenskiy to conduct an investigation into political opponent Joe Biden, and Biden’s son, Hunter.

The goal of the subsequent impeachment inquiry is to investigate “the extent to which President Trump jeopardized national security by pressing Ukraine to interfere with our 2020 election and by withholding military assistance provided by Congress to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression, as well as any efforts to cover up these matters,” according to a letter signed by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), Oversight Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) and Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.).

It is known that, shortly before his call with Zelenskiy, Trump told Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff, to hold back almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine.

Though the transcript of the call, as well as a set of text exchanges between several U.S. diplomats support the veracity of the whistleblowers’ complaints, Donald Trump (as well as most GOP lawmakers on his behalf, at this point) denies any wrongdoing.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted, ”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… Meet with Shifty. Keep them coming!”

(“Shifty” refers to House representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif), who is House Intelligence Committee Chairman.)

Trump has been accused of not only of jeopardizing U.S. national security, but also of undermining the integrity of U.S. elections, violating campaign finance laws by soliciting foreign help, and obstruction of justice (by resisting congressional subpoenas).

Despite the fact that legal scholars, government officials, and many Republicans believe Trump has committed impeachable offenses, all Republican lawmakers but a handful, to date, have either remained silent or continued to excuse Trump. Those who have spoken out against Trump include Utah Senator Mitt Romney, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, and Texas Rep. Will Hurd are the exception.

Even Vice President Mike Pence, who in the past has held himself up as an emblem of integrity, is willing to overlook Trump’s lack of integrity, and even defend it: “I think the American people have a right to know if the vice president of the United States (referring to Biden) or his family profited from this position as vice president in the last administration.”

In a Washington Post op-ed, Max Boot writes, “Most Republicans… have too much self-respect to openly defend Trump — and too little courage to openly condemn him. So, for the most part, they fall silent. Or they assail Trump’s accusers rather than Trump.”

Trump continues along his usual M.O.: Commit wrongdoing; lie about having committed the wrongdoing; get caught in the lie and insist that the lie is the truth; get challenged some more about the lie, and publicly undercut the challengers. Finally, own up to the wrongdoing but insist that in this case, it wasn’t wrongdoing, then brazenly do it again.

Last week, Trump stood on the South Lawn of the White House and openly invited not only Ukraine, but also China, to investigate the Bidens. It seems Trump was correct when he said, in 2016, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” Or, it seems, the souls of Republican lawmakers.

With two whistleblowers (and possibly more), a transcript of Trump’s phone call with Zelenskiy, and a stack of damning texts, where are the Republican lawmakers who claim to be such patriots?

Second whistleblower comes forward to support impeachment inquiry
CBS Evening News | 2019-10-06]

NYT reports there is a second whistleblower with ‘more direct information’ | Fox News [2019-10-5]

Do Trump’s Tweets Indicate Impeachment Fear?

During Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation, the word “impeachment” was frequently tossed about in association with Donald Trump. In Trump’s most recent scandal, involving evidence that Trump may have used the powers of his office to get information from a foreign head of state about a political opponent, “impeachment” is no longer just a murmur.

Over the weekend, Trump sent out no less than 80 tweets to express his disdain for what he calls “another witch hunt,” as Democrats moved to go forward with an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s phone calls with the new president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Though Trump publicly tries to maintain a demeanor that alternates between indifference and scorn, the frequency and outrageousness of his recent tweets seem to indicate otherwise. Trump frequently tweets out preposterous pronouncements, but his tweeting over the weekend seems to have reached a new magnitude of extreme and threatening overtone.

“If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal,'” Trump tweeted, quoting Pastor Robert Jeffress.

Republican House member Adam Kinzinger  (Illinois) responded, “I have visited nations ravaged by civil war.@realDonaldTrump. I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President. This is beyond repugnant.”

Trump attacked Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee via Twitter, claiming that Schiff had misrepresented Trump’s phone call with Zelenskiy, and suggesting Schiff be arrested for treason.

In response, Republican strategist Mike Murphy tweeted, ”Out. Of. Control. Treason? A POTUS saying this? #UnfitAndUnstable.”

Michael Steele, a former Republican National Committee chairman, said about Trump’s manic tweeting, “That’s the president wetting his pants a little bit. This has him nervous. There’s real concern here. The flashing tweets that keep jumping out is his way of trying to get control of something that he’s losing a grip on.”

Trump sent menacing-sounding tweets regarding the whistleblower whose complaint opened this investigation, as well. “…In addition, I want to meet not only my accuser, who presented SECOND & THIRD HAND INFORMATION, but also the person who illegally gave this information, which was largely incorrect, to the ‘Whistleblower.’ Was this person SPYING on the U.S. President? Big Consequences!”

Trump’s tweets, along with his comments last week that the whistleblower was something “close to a spy,” and that in the old days, spies were dealt with differently, prompted three house members to respond: “…Threats of violence from the leader of our country have a chilling effect on the entire whistleblower process, with grave consequences for our democracy and national security.”

Over the weekend, lawyers for the whistleblower expressed concerns for their client’s safety, asking that leaders “condemn any intimidation against our client and others.”

It’s a little surreal that a U.S. president would say something that reasonable people would interpret as a potential threat to the safety of one of his constituents. 

It’s not improbable that Trump’s growing nervousness about an impeachment inquiry, coupled with his lack of impulse control, could cause him, in the weeks ahead, to build a stack of menacing or power-abusing tweets that in themselves could be grounds for an impeachment inquiry.

President Donald Trump fights back amid US impeachment inquiry |
Al-Jazeera [2019-09-30]

Pelosi says impeachment inquiry is worth losing the House in 2020 |
Fox News [2019-09-29]