Lawyer: 2nd Trump whistleblower spoke to inspector general

Covering Washington

President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during the Young Black Leadership Summit at the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A second whistleblower has spoken to the intelligence community’s internal watchdog and has information that backs the original whistleblower’s complaint about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, according to the lawyer for the two.

Lawyer Mark Zaid told The Associated Press in a text message Sunday that the second whistleblower, who also works in intelligence, hasn’t filed a complaint with the inspector general but does have “firsthand knowledge that supported” the original whistleblower.

The original whistleblower filed a formal complaint with the inspector general on Aug. 12 that triggered the impeachment inquiry being led by House Democrats. The complaint alleged Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country” in the 2020 election.

Trump and his supporters have rejected the accusations that he did anything improper. But the White House has struggled to come up with a unified response. No administration officials were scheduled to appear on the Sunday news shows; several congressional Republicans who were interviewed came to the president’s defense.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, one of Trump’s most vocal defenders, sharply criticized the way House Democrats are handling the impeachment inquiry.

A Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Florida Rep. Val Demings, said she believes the original whistleblower is a “patriot” who stepped forward to report wrongdoing despite the potential career risk.

“The reporting that a second whistleblower has come forward or is about to come forward, I believe again would be someone who sees wrongdoing, hears wrongdoing and wants to do something about it,” Demings said.

The latest development in the politically explosive inquiry comes after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the State Department intends to follow the law as House Democrats press their demands for information from the administration.

Pompeo said the department sent a letter to Congress on Friday night as its initial response to the document request and added, “We’ll obviously do all the things that we’re required to do by law.” He is allowing allowed Democrats to interview a series of department witnesses this coming week. Among them is Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, another key figure in the probe.

The administration has struggled to come up with a unified response to the quickly progressing investigation. Democrats have warned that defying their demands will in itself be considered “evidence of obstruction” and a potentially impeachable offense.

Demings was on “Fox News Sunday” and Jordan appeared on “This Week” on ABC.

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Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.

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