Depending on where you sit, there’s new evidence in what some see as an orchestrated campaign against President Trump. It is found in a social media tweet from 2017.
In that January 2017 tweet, Mark Zaid, an attorney now representing an alleged “whistleblower” in the Trump impeachment effort, wrote a “coup has started” and “impeachment will follow ultimately.”
A few months later, still in 2017, Zaid tweeted more. “I predict @CNN will play a key role in @realDonaldTrump not finishing out his full term as president” and “We will get rid of him, and this country is strong enough to survive even him and his supporters.”
Zaid has been arguing that the alleged whistleblower’s identity should be kept secret. There are questions surrounding how that person’s information surfaced, and the extent of the cooperation or collusion (depending on your view) between him and Democrats in Congress.
Zaid has stated, in his own defense, that his mention of a “coup” simply referred to what he saw as a lawful attempt by attorneys to remove an unlawful president from office.
Other tweets from Zaid, as reported by Fox News, include “‘as one falls, two more will take their place,’ apparently referring to Trump administration employees who defy the White House. Zaid promised that the ‘coup’ would occur in ‘many steps’.”
RealClearInvestigations and other outlets have identified the alleged whistleblower as a CIA analyst with ties to other prominent Trump adversaries. However, the person has not stepped forward publicly, and Democrats have not asked him to appear to testify in public or behind closed doors.
Part of the information the alleged whistleblower provided anonymously to the Intelligence Community Inspector General claimed President Trump had improperly demanded a “quid pro quo” from Ukraine’s new president in a phone call.
Quids pro quo for foreign policy aid are routine; in fact that’s the general purpose of forcing aid…to encourage or force other countries to behave a certain way.
But the whistleblower alleged Trump withheld military aid in order for Ukraine to provide “political dirt” on Democrat Joe Biden, who is running against Trump for president.
After this account was leaked to the public, President Trump released the transcript of the actual call. There was no mention of a quid pro quo or political dirt. And there has been no indication that any dirt or information was ever provided by Ukraine to Trump. The President of Ukraine himself told reporters he felt no pressure.
President Trump has addressed the alleged whistleblower’s allegations by saying he–Trump–was lawfully seeking Ukraine’s cooperation in U.S. efforts to uncover corruption and interference in the 2016 U.S. elections as it relates to Ukraine and possibly Democrats.
Trump defenders suggest the impeachment effort has been drummed up because Trump was getting too close to potentially uncovering serious wrongdoing involving key U.S. figures.
There has been extensive reporting alleging that Ukraine conspired with the Democratic National Committee to help Hillary Clinton win against Trump.
A Politico investigation concluded in 2017:
Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found. A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation. The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in the race, helping to force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia. But they were far less concerted or centrally directed than Russia’s alleged hacking and dissemination of Democratic emails.Politico, January 11, 2017
Still, Trump critics insist the pressure the president exerted on Ukraine, and the desire to receive dirt on Biden for 2020, was implicit.
The same month of Zaid’s 2017 “coup” tweet, Sen. Charles Schumer, a leader in the Democrat party, issued a public warning to Trump that if he took on the intelligence community, it has “six ways from Sunday” to “get back at you”. MSNBC Host Rachel Maddow asked Schumer, “What would the intelligence community do?” Schumer answered, “I don’t know,” but went on to say the intel community was very upset with Trump.
On Aug. 15, 2016, after FBI counterespionage chief Peter Strzok and his FBI girlfriend Lisa Page met with Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Strzok texted Page that they couldn’t take the risk of Trump getting elected without having “an insurance policy” in place.
Another figure, Benjamin Wittes, chose the same phrase. In October 2016, in his Lawfare blog, Wittes wrote: “What if Trump wins? We need an insurance policy against the unthinkable: Donald Trump’s actually winning the Presidency.”
Wittes has acknowledged being a good friend of fired FBI Director James Comey. Wittes spoke to a New York Times reporter about Comey’s interactions with President Trump, right after Robert Mueller‘s appointment as special counsel.
In a 2016 blog post, Wittes wrote that his vision of an “insurance policy” against Trump would rely on a “Coalition of All Democratic Forces” to challenge and obstruct Trump, using the courts as a “tool” and Congress as “a partner or tool.” He even mentioned impeachment — two weeks before Trump was elected.
Read more: What would the intelligence community’s “insurance policy” against Trump look like? Click the link below.