WASHINGTON (CBS) — The attorneys representing the whistleblower who filed a complaint about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine said they are representing “multiple whistleblowers” in connection to the case, including one with “first hand knowledge” of events.
“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,” attorney Andrew Bakaj tweeted Sunday. “No further comment at this time.”
Mark Zaid, another member of the first whistleblower’s legal team, also said the team is representing a second official with first-hand knowledge of events, as first reported by ABC News. The original whistleblower had not heard or seen a transcript of the phone call between Mr. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the center of the August 12 complaint.
“I can confirm this report of a second #whistleblower being represented by our legal team,” Zaid tweeted. “They also made a protected disclosure under the law and cannot be retaliated against. This WBer has first hand knowledge.”
President Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow told CBS News that the latest whistleblower in the Ukraine call controversy does not change the president’s legal strategy going forward.
“We already released the transcript of the call. So this person has an opinion that they don’t like what the President said?” Sekulow told CBS.
He went on to say that he believes the fact that the second whistleblower is represented by the same law firm as the original whistleblower helps the president’s political strategy because it “shows this firm is in the business of attacking the President.”
Meanwhile, if the House does move to impeach President Trump, it would be up to the Republican-controlled Senate to hold his trial.
Just a handful of Republicans have raised concerns over the president’s contacts with foreign leaders but there does not seem to be a unified defense of the president. Privately, some Republicans say it just isn’t worth it to take him on, even if they disapprove of his actions, reports CBS News’ Nancy Cordes.
One reason why? The president hits back, and his approval rating within the Republican Party is strong. The latest Gallup Poll — which was taken as reports of the president’s call to Ukraine unfolded — came in at 87%.
Maine Senator Susan Collins is one of the few Republicans willing to call the president out, also telling the Bangor Daily News, “I thought the president made a big mistake by asking China to get involved in investigating a political opponent.”
Nebraska Republican Ben Sasse responded “Americans don’t look to Chinese commies for truth” and Utah’s Mitt Romney called the president’s plea “wrong and appalling.”
Still, most Republicans have downplayed Mr. Trump’s actions or stayed silent, but defending him has gotten more difficult.”I doubt if the China comment was serious, to tell you the truth,” Republican Sen. Roy Blunt said on “Face the Nation” this Sunday.
Asked if he doesn’t take the president at his word, Blunt said, “The president was–no, the president loves to go out on the — on the White House driveway. I haven’t talked to him about this. I don’t know what the president was thinking. But I know he loves to bait the press.”