President Donald Trump late Friday afternoon and evening ended the week by firing three administration and White House officials, he blames for his impeachment in a campaign of retribution that some experts are calling illegal.
Trump not only had Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman transferred out of the White House, he had him fired from his National Security Post and escorted out of the building. Vindman’s twin brother, who also works on the NSC, was summarily fired and escorted out as well, as The New York Times reports.
If that weren’t enough Trump then turned around and had his Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, fired as well.
Both Vindman and Sondland had testified before Congress, proving the whistleblower’s claims that the president engaged in disturbing behavior by extorting Ukraine. The General Accounting Office substantiated that claim, stating that Trump’s withholding of hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid was illegal.
The hashtag #FridayNightMasacre is trending on Twitter right now.
CNN Legal Analyst and former federal and state prosecutor Elie Honig says Trump’s actions today are “criminal.”
I’m sounding this bell now. It is disgraceful and criminal to demote / fire witnesses – as we are seeing with Vindman, his brother, Sondland.
But this could get even worse – including bogus criminal charges against perceived Trump enemies in FBI and elsewhere. Watch for this.
— Elie Honig (@eliehonig) February 8, 2020
Calling it a “Friday Night Massacre,” professor of international relations and visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University, journalist, and CEO of The Rothkopf Group, David Rothkopf also says Trump’s actions today are criminal.
Friday night massacre. Don’t lose sight of the fact that this wave of retribution is a crime. https://t.co/u8DhWRUCJb
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) February 7, 2020
MSNBC Political Analyst and Senior Director of Progressive Programming for SiriusXM Radio, Zerlina Maxwell suggested the same label:
Friday night massacre? https://t.co/0mCHObkCuv
— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) February 7, 2020
So did resistance organization Indivisible’s Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director Ezra Levin:
— Ezra Levin (@ezralevin) February 7, 2020
As did CNN’s Keith Boykin:
The Friday Night Massacre continues.
First Vindman. Now Sondland. Who’s next? https://t.co/9q4ZonG1lV
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) February 7, 2020
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LISTEN: Trump Suggests Whistleblower Should Face Capital Punishment Execution
Speaking Thursday in a meeting with administration staff President Donald Trump suggested a whistleblower who filed a complaint against him committed treason and should face capital punishment execution.
The Los Angeles Times first reported Trump’s disturbing remarks, and just published an audio clip.
“I want to know who’s the person, who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information?” Trump asked at the private event. “Because that’s close to a spy.”
“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.”
A laugh from a Trump supporter can be heard in the background.
Legal experts have said Trump’s remarks amount to obstruction of justice and witness intimidation.
The whistleblower’s official complaint has been declassified and can be read here. A so-called “transcript,” really notes from White House aides summarizing the call between Trump and the Ukraine President, can be read here.
Robert Mueller Just Got a New Boss – Who Has Already Said the Russia Probe ‘Is Going Too Far’
President Donald Trump has just fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Rather than naming Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to the position of Attorney General or Acting Attorney General, Trump has picked a conservative attorney identified by the Federalist Society – the same group that picks Trump’s judicial nominees – who thinks Special Counsel Robert Mueller has gone too far.
Since the Special Counsel must report to the Attorney General, unless the AG has recused himself from the investigation, Rod Rosenstein has just been stripped of supervision of Robert Mueller and the Russia probe.
Trump has just named Matthew Whitaker as his Acting Attorney General.
Which means Robert Mueller just got a new boss.
In August of 2017, Whitaker wrote a CNN op-ed titled, “Mueller’s investigation of Trump is going too far.”
My opinion piece today “Mueller’s Investigation of Trump is going too far” https://t.co/Q0IXwg06BW
— Matt Whitaker 🇺🇸 (@MattWhitaker46) August 6, 2017
“Mueller’s investigators could be looking into financial records relating to the Trump Organization that are unrelated to the 2016 election,” Whitaker wrote.
He adds, “investigating Donald Trump’s finances or his family’s finances falls completely outside of the realm of his 2016 campaign and allegations that the campaign coordinated with the Russian government or anyone else. That goes beyond the scope of the appointment of the special counsel.”
Whether or not that’s true, it doesn’t matter.
District Attorneys, prosecutors of all stripes and at all levels go where the evidence takes them, and a crime is a crime.
The Special Counsel who investigated Bill and Hillary Clinton did so under the guise of “Whitewater,” a supposed stock scam, which by the way was not. But that investigation ultimately led to Clinton’s impeachment.
To be clear, Trump is actively working to neuter the Mueller investigation. And Republicans are looking the other way.
Khashoggi’s Body Parts Found: Report
The 15-man hit team that is believed to have entered the Saudi consulate the same day Khashoggi did apparently didn’t bother to go far to dispose of Khashoggi’s body parts.
“Khashoggi’s remains were discovered in the garden of the Saudi consul general’s home,” a source told Sky News.
“Sources have told Sky News the writer had been ‘cut up’ and his face ‘disfigured.'”
News reports have said Khashoggi was brutally tortured, including having his fingers cut off and his body dismembered for seven minutes while he was still alive.
Turkey’s President Erdogan on Tuesday called Khashoggi’s murder “savage” and premeditated.
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