President Donald Trump said earlier Thursday to a “crowd of staff from the United States Mission to the United Nations” that he wanted to know who the Ukraine whistleblower’s source or sources were “because that’s close to a spy.” Trump then remarked that back in the “old days” spies and traitors were treated “a little differently.” In those days, we were “smart,” Trump said.
While some perceived this as a threat to the whistleblower, others noted that he was actually talking about the whistleblower’s source(s), namely White House officials who actually heard the Trump-Volodymyr Zelensky phone call. Either way, Trump’s words were immediately interpreted as witness tampering and/or obstruction of justice, as those White House sources may very well be asked down the line to testify in some form or fashion. Where have we seen this story before?
The response was fast and furious, many of it coming from familiar Trump nemeses.
Current events bring back my first impressions of this President. pic.twitter.com/AwFGPAdbjO
— James Comey (@Comey) September 26, 2019
The President’s suggestion that those involved in the whisteblower complaint should be dealt with as "we used to do" for "spies and treason" is a reprehensible invitation to violence against witnesses in our investigation.
All Americans must denounce such witness intimidation. https://t.co/cTQQXdbGsa
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) September 26, 2019
The president suggesting the whistleblower should be harmed.
Remarkable but not new languag: this echoes his comments at rallies when he’d pine for treatment from the “old days” when a protestor would interrupt himhttps://t.co/ro6iirHZVq
— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) September 26, 2019
Openly threatening the whistleblower as Trump just did is witness tampering and obstruction of justice. Not even a close call.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 26, 2019
Someone explain the extortion and intimidating a witness laws to this guy https://t.co/aFD3nN6SBk
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) September 26, 2019
Obstruction in plain sight. Again.
— Mimi Rocah (@Mimirocah1) September 26, 2019
Trump’s Thursday comments, per the New York Times:
I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistle-blower the information because that’s close to a spy. 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.
Well, as observers noted, treason is punishable by death. If you read Law&Crime, you would know that because Bill Weld, just three days ago on TV, accused Trump of committing a crime punishable by death, namely treason.
[Image via Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images]