The lead attorney representing a US intelligence official who came forward with a complaint against US President Donald Trump, Andrew Bakaj, said his firm is now representing “multiple whistle-blowers” in connection with the matter, a new twist in the impeachment inquiry of the president.
Bakaj’s comment followed a report by ABC News on Sunday that a second individual has come forward with details about Trump’s efforts to convince the Ukrainian government to dig up damaging information about a political rival, former US vice president Joe Biden.
“My firm and my team represent multiple whistle-blowers in connection to the underlying August 12, 2019, disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General,” Bakaj, of the law firm Compass Rose Legal Group, wrote on Twitter.
Mark Zaid, another attorney with Compass Rose, confirmed the report of the second whistle-blower, who he said has “first-hand knowledge” of the matters at hand and cannot be retaliated against.
The second whistle-blower has not yet communicated with the congressional committees conducting an impeachment investigation into Trump, ABC News reported.
“It doesn’t matter how many people decide to call themselves whistle-blowers about the same telephone call — a call the president already made public — it doesn’t change the fact that he has done nothing wrong,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said.
US House of Representatives impeachment investigators have subpoenaed the White House for documents on efforts by Trump and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to pressure Ukraine into opening a probe of the Bidens.
Trump claims that Biden improperly helped his son Hunter profit from business deals in Ukraine and China.
The allegations related to Ukraine have been discredited, and those related to China are not supported by publicly known details.
Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign has dismissed the allegations as without merit.
US Senator Lindsey Graham, the Republican chairman of the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary, said the whistle-blowers should be interviewed in public and under oath, suggesting that he would subpoena them if necessary.
One of Trump’s staunchest Republican allies, US Representative Jim Jordan, on Sunday declined to defend Trump’s suggestion, made to reporters outside the White House, that China investigate the Bidens.
The president was not being serious, Jordan said.
“I don’t think he really meant go investigate” and nobody “really believes that the president of the United States thinks China’s going to investigate,” Jordan said. “I think he’s getting the press all spun up on all of this.”
Biden pushed back late on Saturday in a Washington Post opinion piece.
Biden said Trump is pushing “debunked conspiracy theories and smears against me and my family.”
“I will put the integrity of my whole career in public service to this nation up against Trump’s lack of integrity any day of the week,” Biden wrote. “It all comes down to the abuse of power. That is the defining characteristic of the Trump presidency.”
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