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.”
‘They offered him no humanity’: Floyd family attorney rips Minneapolis for adding ‘insult to injury’
On Friday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," Ben Crump, the attorney for the family of George Floyd, expressed his outrage at how local officials are handling the case — and demanded harsher prosecution of the officers responsible.
"The family does not trust the Minneapolis Police Department or anybody affiliated with the Minneapolis Police Department, Anderson," said Crump. "Remember the first report that came out, they gave so much false information in that report, talking about George was resisting. George was threatening, saying that he died of a medical condition. Never once mentioning the fact that this officer had his knee on his neck, not just for one minute, two minutes, three minutes, four minutes, five minutes, six minutes, seven minutes but for eight minutes ... people need to understand, the last eight minutes of his life he was struggling to breathe, telling them I couldn't breathe, and they offered him no humanity."
WATCH: Protester scales Secret Service building to spray-paint profane anti-Trump message
On Friday, protests around the country continued against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
As CNN covered shots of protests in Washington, D.C., one demonstrator could clearly be seen scaling a Secret Service building, before taking out a can of spray paint and writing "F**K TRUMP" on the edifice.
Some commenters on social media noticed, and tweeted their support for the protester.
CNN’s Jim Acosta walks through all the times Trump has ‘thrown gasoline’ on racial tension
On CNN Friday, following President Donald Trump's abrupt exit from a press conference following a racially charged tweet, chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta broke down President Donald Trump's history of stoking racial tensions during moments of crisis.
"He is trying to clean up this tweet that he posted last night," said Acosta. "First, just what the president said a few moments ago. He said the looters in Minneapolis should not be able to drown out the voice of so many peaceful protesters. That, obviously, is a very mild version of what he was trying to say or he claims he was trying to say last night when he tweeted, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." That obviously is an expression steeped in all kinds of ugliness. The Miami Police chief back in 1967, when there was unrest in that city, used that expression. George Wallace, the segregationist, used words like that in 1968."