0348 GMT October 22, 2019
Mark Zaid confirmed in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” that the second official, also from the US intelligence community, has been interviewed by the inspector general. Zaid represents the first whistleblower who filed a complaint involving a July 25 phone call Trump held with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which he asked him to investigate a Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, Reuters reported.
The existence of the second whistleblower followed stirrings of discontent within Trump’s own Republican Party after he called on China on Friday to investigate Biden’s son, who had business dealings in China.
Republican US Senators Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse and Susan Collins all have expressed concerns about Trump reaching out to foreign countries to help him in his 2020 reelection bid.
The telephone call and the whistleblower complaint prompted House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch impeachment proceedings on Sept. 24 against Trump, saying his actions jeopardized US election integrity and threatened national security.
Trump told House Republicans Friday that he was urged by Energy Secretary Rick Perry to make the midsummer phone call to Ukraine’s president, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.
Trump suggested it was a call he didn't even want to make, the sources said.
The news was first reported by Axios.
Department of Energy Press Secretary Shaylyn Hynes told NBC News late Saturday that “Secretary Perry absolutely supported and encouraged the president to speak to the new president of Ukraine to discuss matters related to their energy security and economic development."
"He continues to believe that there is significant need for improved regional energy security — which additional options for natural gas supply will provide — and this is exactly why he is heading to Lithuania tonight to meet with nearly two dozen European energy leaders (including Ukraine) on these issues.”
Perry is reportedly set to resign from his position as energy secretary in November.
The July 25 phone call led a US intelligence official to file a whistleblower complaint that set off a cascade of fast-moving events, ultimately leading to an impeachment inquiry into the president.
Trump has publicly maintained that the call was "absolutely perfect" and "totally appropriate."