‘The Spies and Treason, We Used to Handle It a Little Differently’ Trump Told Supporters
President Donald Trump is facing blowback after suggesting the intelligence official who filed a formal whistleblower complaint against him should be executed for the capital crime of high treason. Some legal experts are calling his comments “obstruction of justice,” and witness intimidation, while warning against retaliation.
“I want to know who’s the person, who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information?” Trump asked at a private fundraising event Thursday. “Because that’s close to a spy,” he said, according to the L.A. Times.
“You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”
In a further attempt to discredit the unnamed whistleblower, Trump added, “Basically, that person never saw the report, never saw the call, he never saw the call — heard something and decided that he or she, or whoever the hell they saw — they’re almost a spy.”
And the president took a disturbing swing at the media as well.
“You know, these animals in the press,” Trump said. “They’re animals, some of the worst human beings you’ll ever meet.”
One supporter present shouted, “Fake news!” led the president to repeatedly call members of the press “scum.”
“They’re scum,” Trump said. “Many of them are scum, and then you have some good reporters, but not many of them, I’ll be honest with you.”
Legal experts expressed concern and dismay.
George Conway, a prominent conservative attorney who has successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, deemed the president’s remarks “obstruction of justice.”
Threatening actual and potential witnesses, of course, constitutes obstruction of justice. https://t.co/cgOPxOXOCl
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) September 26, 2019
Former Obama Associate White House Counsel:
The President just implied that numerous public servants and high ranking officials who he deems as disloyal to his personal interests perhaps should be executed. If these Senators don’t speak up soon and publicly, we will be in an even darker place as a country and world. https://t.co/xmO07AflFK
— Ian Bassin (@ianbassin) September 26, 2019
National security lawyer:
Someone explain the extortion and intimidating a witness laws to this guy https://t.co/aFD3nN6SBk
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) September 26, 2019
Professor, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia:
Mr. President the people who spoke to the whistleblower are not spies. They are members of your national security team. But they took an oath of office to defend the United States of America, not you.
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) September 26, 2019
Journalist, founder of ThinkProgress and Popular.info:
You could interpret this as Trump only saying we should murder the whistleblowers sources. Either way, it’s depraved.
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 26, 2019
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‘Ultimate Hypocrisy: Morning Joe Panel Rains Holy Hell on Trump’s ‘Unpatriotic’ Behavior During National Anthem (Video)
MSNBC’s Al Sharpton led an panel that decimated President Donald Trump’s “unpatriotic” behavior during the Sunday Super Bowl performance of the national anthem (video below).
“Kaepernick did not mock the national anthem,” Sharpton noted, saying Trump’s fidgeting and waving his arms in the air as if it was playing just for him to conduct, was “a mockery.”
“I think it was unpatriotic for the President of the United States to act like this was some composition that he could exploit,” Sharpton told the “Morning Joe” panel Tuesday morning, adding that it “shows the ultimate hypocrisy.”
“It’s disgraceful,” Mika Brzezinski added. “Any Republican Senators who need any more evidence about this president needs to look at this video.”
“Unfit,” Joe Scarborough added.
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) February 4, 2020
Trump indeed was caught on camera during a Mar-a-Lago Super Bowl party, which cost taxpayers $3.4 million. The national anthem video was posted to the Instagram account of a real estate agent for a Russian-American firm. That agent is reportedly known to regularly spend time at Mar-a-Lago and other Trump properties, as the Miami Herald reported.
House Republicans Have a Plan to Defend Trump During Impeachment Hearings – It’s All About His ‘State of Mind’
Rather than act as impartial investigators, dedicated to ascertaining the facts of the President’s actions, and whether or not those actions were legal, or are impeachable, House Republicans will stick to a plan that focuses on his “state of mind” and other intangible arguments.
“Confronted with a mountain of damaging facts heading into tomorrow’s opening of the public phase of impeachment, House Republicans plan to argue that ‘the President’s state of mind’ was exculpatory,” Axios reports, noting it has obtained an 18-page GOP memo that was sent out to House Intelligence Committee members Monday night.
“To appropriately understand the events in question — and most importantly, assess the President’s state of mind during his interaction with [Ukrainian] President Zelensky — context is necessary,” the memo reads. “The evidence gathered does not establish an impeachable offense,” it insists, wrongly.
Also wrong, or immaterial, are these four critical points the memo directs Republicans to make during the hearings.
“The July 25 call summary — the best evidence of the conversation — shows no conditionality or evidence of pressure.” (False.)
“President Zelensky and President Trump have both said there was no pressure on the call.” (True, but immaterial.)
“The Ukrainian government was not aware of a hold on U.S. security assistance at the time of the July 25 call.” (False.)
“President Trump met with President Zelensky and U.S. security assistance flowed to Ukraine in September 2019 — both of which occurred without Ukraine investigating President Trump’s political rivals.” (Immaterial. Doesn’t matter. Attempts to commit crimes are still crimes.)
You can read the full memo here.
The impeachment inquiry hearings with live, televised witness testimony, begin Wednesday.
Whistleblower’s Attorney Warns Trump to ‘Cease and Desist’ Attacks or Face ‘Legal and Ethical Peril’
A lawyer representing the anonymous whistleblower who exposed the Ukraine extortion scandal on Thursday sent the White House Counsel a letter urging him to warn President Donald Trump to “cease and desist” his attacks against his client, and asking him to remind the president he will be in “legal and ethical peril” should the whistleblower or his family be harmed.
“I am writing out of deep concern that your client, the President of the United States, is engaging in rhetoric and activity that places my client, the Intelligence Community Whistleblower, and their family in physical danger,’ the letter, published by CNN, reads. “I am writing to respectfully request that you counsel your client on the legal and ethical peril in which he is placing himself should anyone be physically harmed as a result of his, or his surrogates’, behavior.”
The attorney, Andrew Bakaj, reminded White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, that President Trump has repeatedly attacked the whistleblower, even at one point likening him to a “spy,” and saying, publicly: “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”
President Trump said that whoever provided the whistleblower with information about his call with the Ukrainian president is “close to a spy,” adding that in the old days spies were dealt with differently https://t.co/0JhESEurca pic.twitter.com/Gn4qSDuml6
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) September 27, 2019
Bakaj continued: “In the ‘old days,’ spies were summarily executed.”
“Respectfully, your client’s rhetoric and behavior fall well beneath the dignity of the office,” Bakaj added.
“These are not words of an individual with a firm grasp of the significance of the office which he occupies, nor a fundamental understanding of the significance of each word he articulates by virtue of occupying that office,” Bakaj also told Cipollone.
Bakaj also warned Cipollone of the likely violations of federal law Trump may have engaged in.
“In light of this, it is reasonable to submit that your client’s activity constitutes a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512, Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant. Furthermore, because my client is a lawful whistleblower and a prospective congressional witness, any threats to influence, obstruct, or impede my client’s cooperation is a violation of 18 U.SC. § 1505, Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees. Finally, reprisal against my client for cooperating with a congressional inquiry would be a violation of 18 U.SC. § 1513, Retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant.”
“Let me be clear: should any harm befall any suspected named whistleblower or their family, the blame will rest squarely with your client.”
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