The tweets below from President Donald Trump are troubling in so many ways.
Trump begins his attacks with something he has made a regular feature of his tweets lately, no doubt both in preparation for the 2020 election season and in an effort to discredit the hurricane of scandals currently encircling him. He links “Radical Left Democrats” (who, like everyone else, he must give a childish nickname or else it just would not feel like a Trump tweet) with the “Fake News Media,” going as far as calling them partners acting against him. Is he talking about “collusion” there, because maybe he should not be bringing that back up while the ink is still drying on the Mueller Report?
No matter what your party registration, or whether you support his presidency, Donald Trump needs to grow the hell up. Most Americans would not tolerate their elementary school child calling other kids on the playground names all day long. It should not be tolerated when the President of the United States does it either. And for those of you reading this who are staunch defenders of the 2nd Amendment, how is it that you will not permit even the slightest discussion of any restrictions on 2nd Amendment rights while at the same time you sit silently while the President of the United States tramples our 1st Amendment rights daily by threatening and seeking to restrict the free press?
And no, Mr. President, no one is saying you had a “dicey” conversation. The whistleblower is accusing you of, at minimum, committing election fraud and a violation of your oath of office by coercing a foreign government to intervene in our 2020 election. In effect, the whistleblower alleges he/she heard you make an arrangement with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to meddle in our next election (on your behalf), the same deal as you were accused of making with Russian President Vladimir Putin to meddle in the last one. At worst, the whistleblower is accusing you of treason.
If the White House still held daily press briefings (which they have not for most of 2019), it would be interesting to watch White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham try to explain a few things:
Like how Trump could possibly know the whistleblower was someone “highly partisan” if he did not know specifically who the whistleblower was?
Or maybe how Trump knows exactly which conversation with which world leader led to the whistleblower’s complaint, which he clearly does as he references the phine call, the subject matters discussed, and the people potentially listening in. Unless he got those details from the Washington Post story which he previously decried as “Fake News?’
These tweets today mean that acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire not only discussed the procedural issues related to the delivery of the complaint to Congress with Attorney General William Barr (something NOT within the legal process for handling such a complaint), one of them absolutely discussed the content of the whistleblower complaint with President Donald Trump, the subject of the complaint.
It is a violation of the Whistleblower Protection Act (and a federal offense) if an agency or its authorities take (or threaten to take) retaliatory personnel action against any employee or applicant because of disclosure of information by that employee or applicant.
Does the President of the United States attacking the whistleblower on Twitter rise to the level of retaliatory action? Perhaps. Better yet, what if the whistleblower is John Bolton, who Trump fired around the time the complaint was made? Then the case for retaliation is iron-clad.
How about witness intimidation?
Inspector General Michael Atkinson, the internal reviewer of whistleblower complaints when they pertain to the intelligence community, wrote that he believes the complaint is both “urgent” and “relates to one of the most important and significant of the (Director of National Intelligence)’s responsibilities to the American people.” It is a criminal offence to “perform an act which is intended to and does intimidate a person who the offender knows or believes to be involved with a criminal case with the intention of disturbing the proceedings.” The Attorney General and the Departemnt of Justice are stonewalling the delivery of hte complaint to Congress. The only workaround to break the impasse is for the whisltleblower to circumvent the Director of Intelligence (after giving him proper notice) and to deliver the comlaint personally to the House Intelligence Committee. If Trump knows who the whistleblower is, and knows that the only way this complaint likely becomes public is if the whistleblower themself is willing to go public, is the constant stream of atatcks not intended to intimidate that whistleblower from coming forward?
Edward Snowden is exiled to Russia. Reality Winner is in prison. The last decade has not been kind to whistleblowers. Do Trump’s public attacks on the whistleblower rise to the level of witness tampering? Again, perhaps, but the White House Counsel should be demanding he stop before “perhaps” becomes “absolutely.”
Or maybe, obstruction of justice, another charge like election fraud and treason Trump was accused of related to the 2016 election and which he might face again for actions in the 2020 race?
President Richard Nixon once tried to argue, “Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” But it was, and his crimes forced his resignation.
Put yourself in the whistleblower’s position?
You work in an office. You overhear your boss on the telephone with the boss of one of your competitors. He is making threats and promises that will greatly enrich him personally, but which could ruin the company. You make a confidential complaint to your Human Resources manager. He/she finds it troubling and takes it to the company’s internal counsel for advice on how to proceed. The internal counsel then goes to your boss and tells them every detail of the complaint YOU made against them, including your name. Your boss (and any employees loyal to your boss) then spend the next few days destroying your reputation and credibility with coworkers, clients, and customers.
Folks, THAT is what Donald Trump and his team have done this week.
Congress, the White House, and a massive team of lawyers will argue for months (maybe years) over whether what Donald Trump did last month in whatever conversation with whichever world leader was illegal, and summarily, whether what William Barr and Donald Trump did this week in stonewalling a valid whistleblower complaint (and attacking the whistleblower) was illegal.
But as citizens of the United States of America, we know what Donald Trump did is not right. It is not fair. It is not acceptable, and it should not be tolerated.
Being president is a privilege, one we the American people bestow on someone we trust to lead us.
It is a pact.
The Constitution of the United States is the contract of employment.
The terms are clear.
But when we, as citizens, offer someone the presidency, we don’t just make him/her sign that employment contract on the bottom line.
We demand an oath.
And we demand that oath be taken publicly, with one hand raised and the other on a holy book.
Every day of his presidency, Donald Trump violates that oath of office, breaks that promise he made to ALL Americans, regardless of who we voted for.
What would your employer do if you violated the terms of your employment contract every day?
Donald J. Trump is OUR employee.
We, the citizens of the United States, hire him to do a job and were clear on the terms of that employment.
Mr. President…we are going to have to let you go.
Or are you more comfortable with, “You’re fired!”