It is now confirmed: A second intelligence official has given the inspector general firsthand information about what took place in the phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s leader. The attorney who is part of the team representing the first whistleblower told ABC News Sunday that they are now representing a second whistleblower.
The attorney, Mark Zaid, said that his client has spoken with the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson. Zaid said that this second whistleblower “made a protected disclosure” and is thus fully protected by the law that prevents whistleblowers from being fired in retaliation for speaking up. And while the second whistleblower has talked to the inspector general, the person has yet to speak with the House committees carrying out the impeachment inquiry.
The confirmation came shortly after the New York Times reported on the existence of a second whistleblower who was weighing whether to come forward with information. Zaid says he does not know whether his client is the person mentioned in the Times story. “I can confirm that my firm and my team represent multiple whistleblowers in connection to the underlying August 12, 2019, disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General,” wrote attorney Andrew Bakaj, who is one of Zaid’s colleagues representing the first whistleblower. The Times writes that the new whistleblower “matches the description of the official the Times reported on last week.”
The confirmation that the second whistleblower has firsthand information about at least some of the allegations outlined in the first whistleblower complaint is particularly significant because it gets to the heart of one of the main criticism Trump and his allies have made against the initial report that relied on secondhand information. Following the Times report, Trump took to Twitter to criticize the second whistleblower, leveling the same accusation that the person doesn’t have firsthand knowledge of the events. “Another ‘Whistleblower’ is coming in from the Deep State, also with second hand info,” Trump tweeted. “Keep them coming!”
Support our independent journalism
Readers like you make our work possible. Help us continue to provide the reporting, commentary and criticism you won’t find anywhere else.Join Slate Plus