In Summary
  • The existence of a whistleblower claiming first-hand knowledge would make it harder for the president and his supporters to dismiss the original complaint as hearsay, as they have repeatedly done.
  • Trump sharply rejects allegations he linked military aid for Ukraine to any effort to find dirt on the Bidens.
  • The impeachment saga began after the original whistleblower -- an intelligence official -- filed a formal complaint to the intelligence community inspector general about Trump's alleged pressuring of Zelensky.

Washington,

A second whistleblower has come forward, this one with first-hand information about events that triggered an impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump for alleged abuse of power, the informant's lawyer said Sunday.

"I can confirm this report of a second #whistleblower being represented by our legal team," Mark Zaid said on Twitter. "They also made a protected disclosure under the law and cannot be retaliated against. This WBer has first-hand knowledge."

Zaid's co-counsel, Andrew Bakaj, said earlier that his firm and team "represent multiple whistleblowers" in the case accusing Trump of using the powers of his office to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

With the crisis seeming to deepen by the day, it was unclear whether Bakaj was using "multiple" to refer to more than two whistleblowers. Typically, several officials would listen in on a call between the president and a foreign leader.

The existence of a whistleblower claiming first-hand knowledge would make it harder for the president and his supporters to dismiss the original complaint as hearsay, as they have repeatedly done.

TRUMP'S REACTION

Trump pushed back at the allegations in tweets Sunday, but did not mention the second whistleblower.

He repeated his assertions that Hunter Biden had been "handed $100,000 a month (Plus,Plus) from a Ukrainian based company, even though he had no experience in energy...and separately got 1.5 Billion Dollars from China despite no experience and for no apparent reason."

Media reports have said Hunter Biden was paid up to $50,000 a month as a member of the board of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma.

Trump tweeted that "as president I have an obligation to end CORRUPTION, even if that means requesting the help of a foreign country or countries. It is done all the time."

In a back-and-forth on Twitter, Biden soon responded: "In my experience, asking a foreign government to manufacture lies about your domestic political opponent is not 'done all the time.'"

BIDEN'S RESPONSE

Trump also said that Biden, for months the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, should "hang it up."

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