The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry
On NBC’s "Meet the Press" this morning, Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, got into a dispute with Chuck Todd, saying he was “sympathetic” with what President Donald Trump has “gone through.”
Johnson tried to pivot the interview onto questions Todd should ask former CIA director John Brennan, a later guest, about texts Peter Strzok, the fired former FBI agent, sent to Lisa Page, a former FBI lawyer.
“Who leaked? You know I have my third letter into the Inspector General of the Intelligence community asking to just confirm are you investigating those leaks that Peter Strzok talked about in that text with Lisa Page?” Johnson said.
Todd pushed back against what he called a “Fox News conspiracy” and tried to bring the topic back to Ukraine.
“Please answer the question that I asked you instead of trying to make Donald Trump feel better here,” Todd said.
Johnson said the president “vehemently, angrily denied it” and said “I’d never do that,” when Johnson asked Trump about the implication that Ukraine’s military aid was linked to an investigation into Hunter Biden. There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by former Vice President Joe Biden or his son Hunter.
Some background: Strzok claims his termination in August 2018 came because of political pressure on the FBI from Trump after he criticized the President and made political comments in text messages in 2016.
In summer 2017, former special counsel Robert Mueller removed Strzok from his team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election after an internal investigation first revealed texts with former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom Strzok had an extramarital affair, that could be read as exhibiting political bias.
Former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh, a longshot candidate for the Republican nomination for president, on Sunday called President Trump a "traitor" for asking Ukraine and China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, despite their being no evidence of wrongdoing.
Walsh argued that Trump should be impeached for asking other countries to "interfere in our election."
"There's enough we know now to vote to impeach this President. He stood on the White House lawn this week, Jake, and told two additional foreign governments to interfere in our election. That alone is impeachable. This is a strong term I'm going to use. But I'm going to say it on purpose: Donald Trump is a traitor," Walsh, who represented Illinois, told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."
Some context: The strong comments from the former Republican congressman come as Trump faces a widening impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives. Most current congressional Republicans have remained silent and declined to speak out in opposition to the President's comments last week that he wants both Ukraine and China to investigate the Bidens. Walsh had previously said he supports Trump's impeachment and said again on Sunday that congressional Republicans should also "get behind" it.
House Democrats are pressing forward with the impeachment inquiry centered on Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and on Friday issued a subpoena to the White House and a documents request to Vice President Mike Pence.
The lawyer for the first intelligence whistleblower who came forward with accusations concerning President Donald Trump and his interactions with Ukraine said Sunday he is representing a second whistleblower regarding the President's actions.
Attorney Mark Zaid confirms to CNN he and the other lawyers are now representing this second person who works in the intelligence community.
Zaid tells CNN the second person has not filed a new complaint with the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community but emphasizes anyone who speaks to the inspector watchdog is considered to have made a protected disclosure and is a whistleblower under law.
“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,” a different lawyer, Andrew Bakaj also on the team, tweeted.
Bakaj would not provide further details to CNN about how many people he and his colleagues are representing regarding this matter. Bakaj said right now there is just one complaint filed with the Inspector General and that is including information from both persons.
Zaid told CNN that the second whistleblower is from the intelligence community and has spoken to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community. This individual has first hand knowledge that supports issues raised by the whistleblower, Zaid said.
ABC first reported Zaid’s representation.
The New York Times reported there was a potential second person considering coming forward with information about Ukraine. Zaid said he didn’t know if this new whistleblower is the same person or not.
News continues to trickle out regarding the investigation into President Trump and the Ukraine controversy. A subpoena was issued to the White House for information Friday.
If you're just tuning in, here are three other key developments:
- Deadline missed: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the State Department missing a Friday deadline set by the House to turn over documents requested under a congressional subpoena. Yesterday Pompeo said his office "sent a letter last night to Congress which is our initial response to the document request" and that they will "obviously do all the things we are required to do by law."
- Another whistleblower emerges: A second intelligence official with concerns and more direct knowledge regarding President Trump's dealings with Ukraine is considering filing a whistleblower complaint, The New York Times reported late Friday.
- Kurt Volker did not resign: A spokesperson for Arizona State University told CNN that the former US special envoy to Ukraine is still the executive director of the McCain Institute. CNN reported earlier that Volker was planning to resign, according to a source familiar with the matter. Volker appeared before three congressional committees behind closed doors last week. He told House investigators that he urged Ukraine's leadership not to interfere in US politics after Trump's July call, according to two sources familiar with the testimony.