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]