By Chuck Ross
A second intelligence official is reportedly considering whether to file a whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump over his handling of Ukraine-related issues.
The official has more direct knowledge of the events described in a CIA analyst’s complaint filed with the intelligence community inspector general (ICIG) on Aug. 12, The New York Times reported Friday.
The complaint centered on a July 25 phone call that Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The second official is also considering whether to testify to Congress about the complaint, according to The Times, which cited two anonymous sources briefed on the matter. The ICIG interviewed the official as part of an investigation into the CIA analyst’s Aug. 12 complaint, one person said. Michael Atkinson, the ICIG, reportedly interviewed witnesses as part of the investigation into that complaint and found it to be “urgent” and “credible.”
The initial whistleblower said that multiple White House officials raised concerns to him about Trump’s remarks on the phone call with Zelensky. Trump and his allies have tried to pick apart the whistleblower’s allegations because he acknowledged he was not an eyewitness to the events in the complaint. (RELATED: Read The Trump Whistleblower Complaint)
Instead, the CIA analyst relayed information picked up from multiple White House officials who he said were concerned over Trump’s remarks in the phone call with Zelensky and other actions related to Ukraine.
A second whistleblower complaint could bolster those initial allegations, which Democrats have already used to open an impeachment inquiry against Trump. But an additional whistleblower is also likely to fuel Trump allies’ criticism that the complaints are part of an orchestrated attack on the president.
A transcript of the July 25 phone call showed that Trump asked Zelensky for a “favor” in investigating activities in Ukraine surrounding the 2016 U.S. election. Trump also raised allegations that Joe Biden intervened as vice president to help quash an investigation of a Ukrainian company affiliated with his son, Hunter Biden.
The CIA whistleblower alleged that Trump may have offered a quid pro quo to Zelensky in exchange for military aid or a face-to-face White House meeting.
Trump did not explicitly threaten to withhold anything from Zelensky or Ukraine, and he has denied allegations of a quid pro quo. But text messages released Thursday suggest that diplomats in the State Department believed Trump wanted Zelensky to publicly commit to the investigations in exchange for a White House meeting.
One of the diplomats, Bill Taylor, the charge d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, speculated that Trump was withholding military aid from Ukraine until Zelensky played ball on the investigations. But Kurt Volker, who served as special envoy to Ukraine until his resignation on Sept. 27, told lawmakers Thursday that he did not believe that Trump involved military aid in a quid pro quo.
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