In the aftermath of the release of a memo detailing President Donald Trump’s phone conversation with the President of Ukraine and Thursday morning’s release of the whistleblower complaint about the administration’s actions regarding the call, experts in the legal community have said that an abuse of power occurred. The whistleblower complaint specifically alleged that there was an effort by the White House to “lock down” initial records of Trump’s communication, which many believe to be evidence of a coverup.
Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard Law School, said Thursday that the whistleblower complaint and call memo were “devastating” to the White House and Attorney General William Barr.
“The massive White House coverup of Trump’s abuse of power vis-a-vis Ukraine & Biden, including evidence concealment, is now clearly documented,” Tribe wrote Thursday. “Bill Barr is up to his eyebrows in the criminal conspiracy. He’s Trump’s John Mitchell. Mitchell ended up in prison. It’s all unraveling.”
Mitchell was the Attorney General under President Richard Nixon and chairman of Nixon’s 1972 presidential campaign who served 19 months in prison after he was found guilty on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury relating to Watergate.
Tribe wrote Wednesday that he doesn’t need to see anything more to know that President Trump has committed a “multitude of high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), during a Thursday morning press conference, also characterized the administration’s actions as evincing a coverup.
“The complaint states that the White House tried to lock-down all records of the call, especially the word-for-word transcript, that gave the Whistleblower reason to believe that the White House understood the gravity of what transpired in that call,” she said.
“The complaint reports repeated abuse of an electronics records system designed to store classified sensitive national security information, which the White House used to hide information of a political nature,” Pelosi continued. “This is a coverup. This is a coverup.”
Lawyer, former FBI special agent, and CNN legal analyst Asha Rangappa commented Thursday that the information now publicly available clearly illustrates the White House’s nefarious strategy.
“The plan was clear when they learned of whistleblower complaint. 1) Argue that the complaint did not fall under jurisdiction of ODNI (and therefore ICIG) so cannot go to Congress; 2) ground legal reasoning in statutory and agency function reasoning, rather than Art. II, to avoid possible standing issues [with regard to] Congress,” Rangappa wrote about the foundation of the alleged coverup scheme.
She said the next step was to “tell [the Inspector General that the] proper channel is to submit criminal referral to DOJ; 4) have criminal referrals blocked via Barr.”
“Voila! Complaint (they think) never sees light of day and no one is the wiser,” Rangappa added. “This whole bureaucratic shenanigan is just another layer of the cover up and should be investigated as well — Barr and Steve Engel (OLC) should testify.”
[image via MSNBC screengrab]