On CNN Thursday night, GOP lobbyist and American Conservative Union director Matt Schlapp tried to explain away the whistleblower complaint against Trump’s promises to Ukrainian officials as a “political fight” against Trump. CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin was having none of it.
“Matt, do you agree that under the law or believe that under the law, the [Director of National Intelligence] is required to forward any complaint?” asked anchor Anderson Cooper.
“No, no,” said Schlapp. “These whistleblower statutes are intended to empower employees of these IC agencies and other agencies in government. To be able to find a way to have legal protection when they see wrongdoing within the agency. It would be a bastardization of Article II of the Constitution if whistleblower statutes were somehow expanded so that people and agencies could make political fights against the president of the United States, especially in his role as commander-in-chief, Anderson. He has very wide authority, really, unchecked authority to talk to world leaders about anything he deems appropriate as he is representing the United States of America.”
“So it will be a big mistake to assume that somehow whistleblower statutes are needed in agencies as a way to somehow limit the president’s power as our commander-in-chief,” said Schlapp, adding, “if this were able to go forward, any staffer in an agency could constantly hobble a Democratic elected president.”
“That’s not true,” said Toobin.
“It is true,” shot back Schlapp.
“The issue is not a political dispute,” said Toobin.
“How do you know, Jeffrey?” demanded Schlapp. “We don’t know.”
“Because the inspector general said it’s not,” said Toobin.
“You have to be able to see the underlying charge before you can on national television—” said Schlapp.
“Well, he said that,” said Toobin. “The inspector general has seen the specifics, and the inspector general said it’s not a political disagreement. He said it’s a — covered by the statute. It is something about misconduct.”
“He has said nothing,” said Schlapp.
“Of course he has,” said Toobin.
“He gave a confidential briefing to members of Congress,” said Schlapp. “He has not said anything publicly to characterize what’s in this—”
“Yes, he has,” said Toobin. “It’s in the letter.”
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The president also said that the fighting going on right now between the Kurds and the Turkish military was not America's problem, despite the fact that he dispatched both Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Ankara with the goal of negotiating a ceasefire.
Here’s the connection between Trump’s Ukraine scandal and convict Paul Manafort’s multitude of crimes: CNN’s Avlon
CNN's John Avlon on Wednesday explained how the current Ukraine scandal engulfing the Trump White House actually started last decade, when former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort started working as a lobbyist in the former Soviet republic.
Looking at all the information we know about Trump's efforts to push Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, Avlon summed up how many events over the past several years have finally come to a head.
CNN buried in scorn for asking final debate question on Ellen DeGeneres and George W. Bush’s friendship
Viewers lambasted CNN on Tuesday for using its time with Democratic presidential candidates to bring up Ellen DeGeneres' friendship with former President George W. Bush, who is considered to be a war criminal by some Democratic voters.
CNN asked about the friendship at Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate, where moderator Anderson Cooper put the question to the entire field of candidates -- even though no questions had been asked about climate change or China.
Watch the video and read some of the Twitter responses below.