When Donald Trump feels threatened, he attacks. And if he doesn’t have anything real to attack about, he just makes shit up.
Last Thursday, Trump compared the whistleblower and anyone in the White House who might have given information to that person to spies and that what they had done was treason, and suggested that they be punished the old fashioned way (by which he means executed).
However, whistleblowers are protected by law, so there is no way this is treason. But that doesn’t stop Trump from making threats that endanger the whistleblower’s safety.
Next, Trump demanded that he be able to meet the whistleblower in person, tweeting “Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called ‘Whistleblower,’ represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way.” Trump (and other Republicans) have also complained that the complaint contained only second-hand information, so it is “fake news”. First of all, the White House has verified every major point in the whistleblower’s complaint, so Trump is lying (big surprise!).
Second of all, an impeachment is specifically not a criminal investigation. The Constitution says “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” This right only applies to criminal prosecutions, not civil cases or other proceedings. But if Trump wants to admit that what he is accused of is a crime, so be it.
Not satisfied with threatening the whistleblower and other potential witnesses, Trump then threatened … everybody. He tweeted the following quote from an evangelical pastor (and contributor to Fox News):
If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” Pastor Robert Jeffress, @FoxNews
I believe he got it backwards. The thing from which we may never recover is if we don’t remove the President from office as soon as possible.
Worst of all, the president of the US proposed that Adam Schiff should be arrested for treason. At a congressional hearing last week, Schiff paraphrased the phone call between Trump and the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. The point was to make it clear how Zelensky would naturally have interpreted the conversation. Schiff even specifically said “In not so many words, this is the essence of what the President communicates.”
Trump responded with an angry tweet:
Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people. It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?
Schiff never pretended that he was speaking Trump’s exact words. He specifically said that this was the essence of what Trump was communicating to Zelensky. Let’s put what Trump said (according to the transcript memo provided by the White house) side-by-side with what Schiff said in his version:
|“I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are.”||“We have been very good to your country, very good. No other country has done as much as we have.”|
|“I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine.”||“But you know what? I don’t see much reciprocity here.”|
|“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.”||“I have a favor I want from you though.”|
|“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great.”||“I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent. Lots of it. … I’m going to put you in touch with people, not just any people, I am going to put you in touch with the attorney general, my attorney general Bill Barr.”|
|“I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call, and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it.”||“I’m going to put you in touch with Rudy. You are going to love him. Trust me. You know what I’m asking. So I’m only going to say this a few more times. In a few more ways.”|
Remember that Trump said that Schiff’s version “bore NO relationship to what I said on the call.” In fact, Schiff didn’t need to embellish that much to make his point — which was that Donald Trump acts like a mobster. And two Ukrainians — who are both named in the whistleblower report — verified that Rudy Giuliani made it very clear to them that he wanted Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son. There is no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Joe or Hunter Biden.
Furthermore, even if Schiff had completely misquoted Trump, that is not treason. If it was, Trump would likely have been convicted of treason long ago for all the nasty (and false) things he has said about lots of people. In fact, what Schiff did isn’t even slander, because the Constitution specifically exempts things that congresspeople say in Congress.
Bottom line? Just in the way that Trump is acting now proves that he is dangerously unfit to be president, and should be removed from office. He is abusing the presidency for craven political purposes. And this is on top of how he has sold out our country for his own gain over and over again.