President Donald Trump's allies on Sunday offered up a collective shrug in response to news of a second whistleblower coming forward about his July phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
"It does not matter," Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, told "Fox News Sunday."
"This person is going to come forward and say, yep the president had this phone call," Stewart, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said. "And yep, that's the transcript. Why should I care at all what his opinion and judgment of this transcript is? You and I can read it."
The July phone call, during which Trump asked Zelenskiy to "look into" former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, and the administrations' subsequent response were the subject of a whistleblower complaint filed in August with the intelligence community's inspector general. Attorneys representing the whistleblower said on Sunday that they had taken on a second whistleblower who had firsthand knowledge of the issue. House Democrats last month launched a formal impeachment inquiry amid reports of the first whistleblower complaint.
"It doesn’t matter how many people decide to call themselves whistleblowers about the same telephone call— a call the President already made public— it doesn’t change the fact that he has done nothing wrong," said White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.
The president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani offered a similar sentiment on Twitter earlier on Sunday. The former New York City mayor has himself become embroiled in the scandal over his months-long effort to have Ukrainian officials investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and son Hunter.
SURPRISE Democrat lawyer has other secret sources. Swamp Media will corruptly fail to point out it means nothing, now that conversation is public. No money, no quid pro quo unlike Biden helping son make millions from Ukrainian crook. ORCHESTRATED DEM CAMPAIGN LIKE KAVANAUGH
And on CBS's "Face the Nation," Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said, "we all are sort of first-hand sources now that we've all seen the transcript."
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Blunt, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that, "it's a different situation when the president actually says ... 'that's what I said and here's why I said it," adding that Trump "thinks he was on solid ground."
Trump, for his part, has said the call was "absolutely perfect" and "totally appropriate." He lashed out at the second whistleblower on Saturday.
"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, also with second hand info," Trump tweeted. "Meet with Shifty. Keep them coming!"
“You've got a president that is acting like a global gangster" who is "trying to get dirt on his political opponent," Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. and a 2020 presidential candidate, told CNN's "State of the Union. "I consider that a violation of our laws."
Speaking with NBC's "Meet the Press," Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said Republicans were going to "wild lengths" to avoid criticism from Trump.
"They shouldn’t be fearful of this president," he said. "If they vote to get rid of him, there’s nothing he can do to hurt them."
The president and his top allies have zeroed in on Biden's 2016 call, backed by much of the international community, to remove then-Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who had been widely accused of not doing enough to crack down on corruption. Shokin had been investigating Burisma, the scandal-plagued energy company affiliated with Biden's son Hunter. But earlier this year, Bloomberg News, citing documents and an interview with a former Ukrainian official, reported that investigation had been dormant for more than a year by the time Shokin was fired. In addition, former Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko has told news outlets he found no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden and his son.
The president last week began ramping up his push to include Hunter Biden's Chinese dealings— even publicly calling for China to investigate the Bidens.
"China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine," Trump told reporters outside the White House.