Commentary: Impeachment cloud continues to darken daily for President Trump
Editor's Note: This is the second of two contrasting opinion pieces we are presenting today on the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
President Trump’s legal troubles are growing faster than the number of whistleblowers who are coming forward to testify before Congress.
The attorney representing the first whistleblower, who broke the story about Trump’s efforts to persuade the president of Ukraine to dig up dirt on his likely opponent in the 2020 presidential election, says that others are waiting to testify.
“I can confirm that my firm and my team represent multiple whistleblowers in connection to the underlying Aug. 12 disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General,” the whistleblower’s lawyer, Andrew Bakaj, tweeted Sunday.
Mark Zaid, another member of the whistleblower’s legal team, confirmed they represent a second whistleblower, who also works in the intelligence community.
“The second individual has spoken to the inspector general of the intelligence community” but has not filed a complaint, the Washington Post quoted Zaid. He “doesn’t need to,” Zaid said, because he has “firsthand knowledge that supported the first whistleblower.”
This newest development was first reported Sunday by ABC News.
As is his habit, Trump has dismissed the whistleblowers’ testimony without citing a single piece of evidence to the contrary.
“Democrat lawyer is same for both whistleblowers? All support Obama and Crooked Hillary. Witch Hunt!” Trump tweeted.
But the facts of the matter recited by the first whistleblower and the accompanying transcripts and testimony over the last two weeks, even in the president’s own statements, “bolster the facts outlined in the extraordinary abuse-of-power complaint,” the Post reported.
The transcript of the July 25 telephone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accurately matches the first whistleblower’s charges.
Trump asked Zelensky in the phone call to “do us a favor” by digging up the details that led to a high-paying job for former Vice President Joe Biden’s son on the board of a major Ukrainian energy company.
“I will have Mr. Giuliani [Trump’s personal attorney] give you a call, and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call, and we will get to the bottom of it,” Trump told Zelensky in the White House account of their conversation. “I’m sure you will figure it out.”
Why did Trump want Zelensky to dig up dirt on Biden and his son? To use it in his upcoming 2020 campaign, if Biden becomes the Democratic presidential nominate.
To date, nothing has been proven to show that Hunter Biden or his father did anything wrong, but that’s not going keep Trump from leveling corruption charges in the midst of his campaign if it will help him win re-election.
Trump came into office in the midst of a huge scandal: that Russia interfered in the election by conducting a high-level cyberwar campaign that helped him win the presidency. Trump called the scandal a hoax and “fake news” and denies he had anything to do with it.
But our intelligence community says it was real and had an impact on our last election, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s persistent denials.
At their face-to-face meeting in Helsinki in 2018, Trump said he asked Putin if Russia played a role in the attack on our elections, and the former KGB agent said it did not. Trump said he believed him.
Now Trump has asked the president of Ukraine to do him “a favor” by launching an investigation into the leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.
That has spawned a full impeachment inquiry in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on the basis of a rough transcript of what he asked the Ukrainian president to do for him. Trump insists he did nothing wrong, but a Washington Post-George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government poll found this week that by a margin of 58% to 38%, “Americans say the House was correct to open the inquiry.”
Moreover, “a clear majority of Americans say Trump’s request to investigate Biden and his son was inappropriate (62% to 32% who thought it was not).”
Let the House impeachment inquiry proceed.
Donald Lambro has been covering Washington politics for more than 50 years as a reporter, editor and commentator.