2nd whistleblower has 'firsthand knowledge' on allegations against Trump

George Stephanopoulos, Jonathan Karl and Pierre Thomas discuss the impeachment inquiry, and Kate Shaw and Barbara Comstock discuss what comes next.
8:06 | 10/06/19

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Transcript for 2nd whistleblower has 'firsthand knowledge' on allegations against Trump
Good morning. Welcome to "This week," a week of head-snapping developments. The first key witness testimony to congress. The first release of text messages from administration officials confirming the pressure campaign on Ukraine outlined in the original whistle-blower complaint. That public request from president trump calling on China to investigate Joe Biden. Late Friday the first subpoenas to the white house, plus a new request for documents from vice president pence. This morning more breaking news. ABC news has learned that the legal team representing the first whistle-blower is now representing a second whistle-blower. Attorney mark Zade said he is a member of the intelligence community with firsthand information on some of the allegations at issue. The second whistle-blower has been interviewed by the inspector general and his attorneys say they have the full protection of the whistle-blower law because they provided information directly to the inspector general. The second whistle-blower has not communicated directly with the congressional committees conducting the investigation. I want to dig into this with Jon Karl and Pierre Thomas. Pierre, several other officials could claim whistle-blower protections? George, this is critical. We know from the whistle-blower's initial complaint there were six other people he was gathering information from. You have the potential that those people could be witnesses coming before congress. George, what is key, these are people that can corroborate the whistle-blower's account and add layers of additional detail. And some first-hand information according to mark Zade. Jon Karl, president trump was tweeting about the possibility of a second whistle-blower last night. He was. We reached out with this latest news, the official comment from the white house is no comment. Late last night the president tweeted about reports there might be a second whistle-blower. Saying the first so-called secondhand whistle-blower got my phone conversation almost completely wrong. Now they're going to the bench and another whistle-blower is coming in from deep state, also with second-hand info. Meet with shifty. Keep them coming. A couple quick fact checks. As you just reported, we are told the second whistle-blower had first-hand information, not second-hand information. The second thing is the first whistle-blower's complaint turned out to be quite consistent with what we know about the call based on the transcript, reconstructed transcript, released by the white house. Jon, the president may have been responding to "The New York Times" report about the possibility of a second whistle-blower that came out Friday. Mark Zade told me he doesn't even know if his client is the whistle-blower referred to in the "New York Times." Meantime the white house is seeming to defy the subpoena from congress. Absolutely, George. What I am told by senior officials is the white house has no intention of cooperating with the congressional committees on this unless Nancy Pelosi first holds a vote opening an impeachment inquiry. Here's the way one white house official told me -- put it to you don't get to have impeachment by holding a press conference. We're not going to participate in a show trial. What officials are saying is without a formal vote by the house, the white house is deprived of certain rights they would have in an impeachment process including the right to have white house counsel present at all depositions by congressional committee. The speaker has resisted that vote. What do we expect on capitol hill, Pierre? Gordon sondland, the ambassador to the European union, is expected to be deposed on capitol hill. The ambassador to the Ukraine who was fired in the midst of this, she's expected to testify. A key week on capitol hill. Pierre, Jon, thanks. Let's bring in our legal experts Barbara comestock and Kate Shaw who served as legal counsel in the Obama white house now a professor of constitutional law. Kate, when I was speaking with Nancy Pelosi she said a resolution is not necessary. There has been a resolution for every other presidential impeachment. I think speaker Pelosi is correct a resolution is not required. It isn't required by the constitution or the house rulings. You're right it's historical practice. Even if there's no requirement, there are a couple advantages to the house doing a resolution. One, it calls the white house's bluff on the document disputes. The white house says we're not going to do anything until you do a resolution. You take that offer off the table if you do the resolution. The house's position would be strengthened if they embark on the same kind of resolution that's pre-dated other presidential impeachment processes. It does, as we said, give the white house some protections. Yes. During the Clinton impeachment, chairman Henry Hyde went back and looked at what chairman Rodino did during the Nixon impeachment and virtually replicated it. We need to have that resolution on the house floor. We need to do that so the public thinks it's fair. With some of the things that Adam Schiff, like the parody, that undermined his credibility, as well as lying about the whistle-blower. They need to get this back on track and have those rights and have that vote in the house. Meantime house speaker Pelosi said she wants a streamline process. Is the president courting new articles of impeachment with this call to China and Ukraine to investigate the Bidens? They can include anything in their impeachment. So, yes. The kinds of things he's criticizing Mitt Romney as saying -- tucker Carlson has said the same thing. I think we need to get back to focusing on what are the issues here. We'll hear from first-hand witnesses. That's important. The whistle-blower and other whistle-blowers that may come forward will have information. What the impeachment committee can do, once they have that vote, is hear firsthand from people involved directly in these things. Kate, what does this committee need to do to build their case? Do they need to establish a direct quid pro quo between the president and the Ukrainian president? President trump would like this debate to be framed in those terms. He hopes the answer is no smoking gun evidence will emerge to establish a quid pro quo. I would say a couple things. One, this fundamentally misunderstands the nature of impeachment. Impeachment is not only ordinary criminal offenses. Some things that aren't crimes could be impeachable. I think impeachment is about abuse of authority, political misconduct. The house would be well-served in focusing on that as opposed to getting caught up in debates about quid pro quo. All that said, if they want to build an article around a quid pro quo, they have a lot of evidence that supports that case just from the call transcript, the whistle-blower complaint and the additional text messages we've seen emerge. They've said that any form of noncooperation by the white house is an obstruction article. They did that during the Nixon impeachment. The quid pro quo is very difficult to prove. That's where Adam Schiff has raised the bar and put expectations out there. That's why we need to hear directly by first-hand witnesses. This needs to be taken seriously. I wanted to quote Barbara Jordan. She said we're trying to be big because the task before us is big. Both sides need to take this very seriously and have a process, have rights for the minority, have rights for the president's counsel and take this in a serious manner.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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