Republican Rep. Chris Stewart (Utah), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, on Sunday dismissed the potential implications of a second whistleblower coming forward with allegations related to President Trump‘s dealings with Ukraine.
Asked on “Fox News Sunday” whether he was concerned about the development, the congressman replied, “Well, actually, not at all.”
“One of our concerns has always been there hasn’t been firsthand knowledge of this. The first whistleblower, virtually everything he accused was second and thirdhand knowledge,” Stewart said, before arguing that a new whistleblower would only confirm what the public already knows about Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Why should I care at all what his perspective, or is opinion or judgment, of this transcript is? You and I can read it,” Stewart added, referring to a publicly disclosed White House memorandum of the leaders’ conversation.
Rep Chris Stewart joined FOX News Sunday exclusively– a Republican on the Intelligence Committee. He responds to reports of another whistle blower coming forward. #FNS #FoxNews pic.twitter.com/d7ykJZHKCd
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) October 6, 2019
Fox News host Chris Wallace responded by noting that the original whistleblower complaint included broad accusations about Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine into investigating 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, over unfounded allegations of corruption.
“It wasn’t just this phone call. There was a whole campaign before the phone call and, even more intensely, after the phone call involving the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to link support for the Ukrainian regime, even military aid, to an investigation of Joe Biden,” Wallace said.
Stewart pushed back, asserting that the White House’s rough transcript showed no evidence of Trump linking an investigation of the Bidens to Ukraine’s military aid.
“He doesn’t ever offer a quid pro quo. He talks about one thing: ‘We want to investigate corruption,’ and I think that’s a reasonable thing to ask,” he said.
The dismissive comments from Stewart came the same morning an attorney representing the original whistleblower confirmed that another unidentified intelligence official had spoken with Michael Atkinson, the head of the intelligence community’s internal watchdog office.
Mark Zaid, who is representing the second whistleblower, told ABC News that the official had firsthand knowledge of some of the allegations included in the original complaint, which contributed to the House launching a formal impeachment inquiry into the president.
The complaint, which was declassified last month, accuses Trump of “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign government in the 2020 U.S. election.”
A White House memo of Trump’s call with Zelensky confirmed several key components of the complaint, including the details of the president’s July 25 phone conversation with the Ukrainian leader. During the call, Trump asked for a “favor” after Zelensky brought up U.S. military assistance.
Trump also encouraged the Ukrainian leader to work with Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr to investigate the Biden family.
Trump has repeatedly lambasted the whistleblower’s credibility, and he has gone so far as to suggest that they are a “spy.” He’s also denied accusations of wrongdoing, arguing that his phone call with Zelensky was “perfect.”
“The first so-called second hand information ‘Whistleblower’ got my phone conversation almost completely wrong, so now word is they are going to the bench and another ‘Whistleblower’ is coming in from the Deep State,” Trump tweeted on Saturday.