Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives began their response to public impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump in unceremonious fashion–by attempting to smear one of the attorneys representing the intelligence community whistleblower.
New York City-based attorney and Twitter personality Luppe B. Luppen (@nycsouthpaw) noted the disingenuous use of a years-old tweet by Mark Zaid, who is working on the intelligence community whistleblower case, along with the Compass Rose Legal Group.
“They airbrushed out the embedded Jake Tapper tweet about Sally Yates’s firing that Zaid was commenting on,” Luppen noted on Wednesday morning. “Just members of Congress presenting a private citizen in a false light to pillory him at some of the most closely watched hearings in recent history.”
They airbrushed out the embedded Jake Tapper tweet about Sally Yates’ firing that Zaid was commenting on. Just members of Congress presenting a private citizen in a false light to pillory him at some of the most closely watched hearings in recent history. https://t.co/9IgphZQ2eH
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) November 13, 2019
Highlighted for the public and press is a January 2017 tweet from Zaid which is actually commentary on Trump’s controversial ouster of then-acting attorney general Yates over her refusal to enforce the administration’s Muslim-majority-country-focused travel ban.
“#coup has started. First of many steps. #rebellion. #impeachment will follow ultimately,” Zaid tweeted in response to the firing of Yates.
— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) January 31, 2017
What’s lacking, however, is any indication that Zaid is referring to the Yates matter. Instead, the tweet highlighted by House Republicans–standing alone–appears to suggest that Zaid was telegraphing his intent to launch a takeover of the U.S. government.
The New Republic‘s Matt Ford also noted the cherry-picking at work.
“When you include the embedded tweet that the House GOP placard conveniently left out, this tweet reads like it’s accusing Trump of a coup, not calling for one,” he tweeted Wednesday morning.
Law&Crime previously reported on the selective quotation and use of subterfuge by Trump’s political allies to put forward the impression that Zaid was publicly announcing his own coup d’etat against the 45th president via Twitter.
Zaid spoke with Law&Crime about that original tweet. He said:
In the time since that tweet was posted, which was referring to lawyers serving as the force of good to prevent this president from doing harm to our democracy, I’ve probably represented more Republicans, including White House officials, than Democrats. This is nothing more than the continuing partisan deflection to desperately avoid discussing the substance of my client’s whistleblower complaint.
The lack of context here has already proven damaging.
In response to the initial smear campaign, which was later joined by Trump himself, Zaid and at least one other attorney at his law firm have received numerous death threats.
“[Donald Trump], thank you so much for the specific commentary about my firm last night. I woke up to a ton of hate mail and death threats,” national security attorney Bradley P. Moss tweeted. “And I’m not even on this case.”
[images via Mark Wilson/Getty Images, Twitter screengrab]