Intelligence Community Watchdog Interviews Second Whistleblower
Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson interviewed a second whistleblower with alleged knowledge about the call between President Donald Trump and the leader of Ukraine.
Democrats have led an impeachment inquiry over the call.
The first whistleblower’s attorney, Mark Zaid, confirmed on Oct. 6 that he’s also representing the second whistleblower. Like the first whistleblower, the second one is also a member of the intelligence community. According to Zaid, the anonymous official has firsthand knowledge of some of the events described by the first whistleblower. Both “made a protected disclosure under the law and cannot be retaliated against,” the attorney wrote on Twitter.
Zaid didn’t clarify whether the second whistleblower has filed a formal complaint, revealing only that he or she has spoken with Atkinson. Zaid didn’t reply to a request from The Epoch Times for clarification.
The first whistleblower suggested, in a seven-page complaint, that Trump used his office for personal gain by pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a potential election opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump said he had “a perfect call” with Zelensky and denies any wrongdoing.
The whistleblower alleges that Trump’s request to Zelensky amounted to a violation of campaign finance law. The Justice Department reviewed the complaint and determined no further action was necessary.
The White House also released a transcript of the call on Sept. 25, debunking several widely circulated media claims about the content of the call, including allegations that Trump repeatedly pressured Zelensky to investigate Biden.
Several factual contradictions were apparent between the complaint and the transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky. Among other inaccuracies, the whistleblower incorrectly stated the number of investigations the two presidents discussed. In addition to the contradictions, the vast majority of the complaint consisted of secondhand information.
The whistleblower’s credibility also took a hit when Atkinson told lawmakers behind closed doors that the whistleblower failed to inform the inspector general’s office that he or she had already spoken to Democratic staff on the House Intelligence Committee. The second whistleblower hasn’t communicated with Congress, according to his attorney.
In testimony to Congress on Oct. 3, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker challenged another claim in the whistleblower’s complaint. Volker told lawmakers that he was unaware that Biden’s name came up in the July 25 call between Trump and the Ukrainian leader. Contrary to the whistleblower’s claim, he didn’t help the Ukrainians “‘navigate’ the demands” Trump made on the call. Volker added that Biden’s name never came up in his communications relating to Ukraine, which he provided to Congress.
In a Twitter message on Oct. 5, Trump suggested that Democrats are using the second whistleblower to patch up the issues surrounding the first anonymous complainant.
“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!” Trump wrote.
“Shifty” is the president’s nickname for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
Schiff misled the public about his office’s communications with the first whistleblower. His office confirmed on Oct. 2 having communicated with the first whistleblower before he or she filed the complaint. Schiff also drew criticism when he fabricated portions of the Trump–Zelensky transcript during his committee’s hearing featuring Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire. Schiff later claimed that he fabricated it “at least, part, in parody.”
The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.