By Robert A. Vella
Topics for this Sunday include a second whistleblower in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, congressional Republicans cowering from moral outrage over their leader’s corruption and from fear that he will retaliate against them, and the suspicious murder of a witness in the criminal trial which convicted a white Dallas police officer of killing an innocent black man in his own home.
The second whistleblower
Mark Zaid, the attorney representing the whistleblower who sounded the alarm on President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and triggered an impeachment inquiry, tells ABC News that he is now representing a second whistleblower who has spoken with the inspector general.
Zaid tells ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that the second person — also described as an intelligence official — has first-hand knowledge of some of the allegations outlined in the original complaint and has been interviewed by the head of the intelligence community’s internal watchdog office, Michael Atkinson.
The existence of a second whistleblower — particularly one who can speak directly about events involving the president related to conversations involving Ukraine — could undercut Trump’s repeated insistence that the original complaint, released on Sept. 26, was “totally inaccurate.”
The cowering GOP
A torrent of impeachment developments has triggered a reckoning in the Republican Party, paralyzing many of its officeholders as they weigh their political futures, legacies and, ultimately, their allegiance to a president who has held them captive.
President Trump’s moves to pressure a foreign power to target a domestic political rival have driven his party into a bunker, with lawmakers bracing for an extended battle led by a general whose orders are often confusing and contradictory.
“Nobody wants to be the zebra that strays from the pack and gets gobbled up by the lion,” a former senior administration official said in assessing the current consensus among Senate Republicans. “They have to hold hands and jump simultaneously … Then Trump is immediately no longer president and the power he can exert over them and the punishment he can inflict is, in the snap of a finger, almost completely erased.”
The suspicious murder of a witness
A man who was a key witness in the murder trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was fatally shot Friday in the parking lot of his apartment complex, according to attorney Lee Merritt.
Joshua Brown was a neighbor of shooting victim Botham Jean, who was sitting in his apartment in September 2018 when Guyger walked inside and shot him to death.
Witnesses told police they heard several gunshots and saw a silver four-dour sedan speed out of the parking lot, police said.
Brown had no identification on him, so police couldn’t identify him until the medical examiner made a positive ID and notified the next of kin.
There is no suspect information at this time, police said.
But Jean’s family pushed back on this attempt, early and often. As Jean’s mother and sister said in multiple interviews, Guyger, then a Dallas police officer, had intruded into Jean’s home while the young man was minding his own business, eating ice cream.
Family members and friends emphasized his faith, praised his work ethic — he was a certified public accountant who worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers — and his easy demeanor and his meticulous habits. They also lambasted the speed and energy involved in publicly disclosing the small amount of marijuana found in Jean’s home after the shooting.
They said the police were attempting to write the sequel to a now well-known franchise: In cases involving police and unarmed black men, the dead victims are usually portrayed as suspect or inherently criminal characters, people bound for an early demise.