Impeachment Inquiry: 2nd Whistleblower Comes Forward

Oct 6, 2019
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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to begin this hour looking ahead to what will be a busy week in Washington. In a minute, we'll have a preview of the upcoming Supreme Court term. But first, we're going to focus on the House impeachment inquiry. Here's House Democratic Caucus chairman Hakeem Jeffries speaking today on ABC's "This Week."

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HAKEEM JEFFRIES: We're just going to follow the facts. We're going to apply the law. We're going to be guided by the Constitution. And we're going to see where that leads in order to present the truth to the American people.

MARTIN: And now a second whistleblower is stepping forward with information about President Trump's conduct. Here to tell us more is NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales.

Claudia, thanks so much for joining us.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

MARTIN: So tell us about this new whistleblower. What does it mean for the overall investigation?

GRISALES: Yes. This second whistleblower is also speaking out about that July call between Trump and the Ukrainian president. And the same attorney is representing both whistleblowers. This attorney, Mark Zaid, said this new whistleblower has, quote, "firsthand knowledge of the July call."

MARTIN: So there were these unexpected developments, like this new whistleblower. But even apart from that, last week's congressional hearings brought forth a lot of significant information and evidence. So what's ahead for the impeachment probe this week?

GRISALES: Right. So Congress is on the last of a two-week recess this week. But that doesn't mean this probe is slowing down - just the opposite. Last week, the House intelligence committee held closed-door meetings with the former special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, and the inspector general of the intelligence community. Volker testified last week that there were text messages between himself and other diplomatic officials, and those showed efforts to work with Trump's demands from the Ukrainian president. And one of those officials on the text string is millionaire and Trump donor Gordon Sondland, the European Union ambassador, who's expected to testify behind closed doors this week.

MARTIN: How are Republicans responding to these new developments?

GRISALES: Well, they are on this congressional recess. However, a large share of his key allies have defended the president. Here's Ohio representative Jim Jordan on ABC's "This Week" saying Trump's China comments were misunderstood.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THIS WEEK")

JIM JORDAN: I don't think it's going to happen. That's why - I mean, it's just I just don't think that's what the president was really saying.

GRISALES: But while some Republicans are on the defense for the president, there are some cracks. Just in recent days, Senators Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine have all said that Trump's China comments have crossed the line.

MARTIN: What about the documents that the House subpoenaed last week?

GRISALES: Yes. So Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was facing a Friday deadline to turn over documents. However, he said this weekend that he has sent a letter of response to the intel committee, and they would be following the law in terms of responding to these requirements. So it sounds like the secretary still has time to respond. However, any kind of delay or situations where they're not responding to these requests, whether it's the White House or Pompeo - they say those actions could be considered obstruction of the investigation.

MARTIN: That was NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales.

Claudia, thanks so much for talking with us.

GRISALES: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.