'The Spies and Treason, We Used to Handle It a Little Differently' Trump Told Supporters
President Donald Trump is facing blowback after suggesting the intelligence official who filed a formal whistleblower complaint against him should be executed for the capital crime of high treason. Some legal experts are calling his comments "obstruction of justice," and witness intimidation, while warning against retaliation.
“I want to know who’s the person, who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information?" Trump asked at a private fundraising event Thursday. "Because that’s close to a spy,” he said, according to the L.A. Times.
“You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”
In a further attempt to discredit the unnamed whistleblower, Trump added, “Basically, that person never saw the report, never saw the call, he never saw the call — heard something and decided that he or she, or whoever the hell they saw — they’re almost a spy.”
And the president took a disturbing swing at the media as well.
“You know, these animals in the press,” Trump said. “They’re animals, some of the worst human beings you’ll ever meet.”
One supporter present shouted, “Fake news!” led the president to repeatedly call members of the press "scum."
“They’re scum,” Trump said. “Many of them are scum, and then you have some good reporters, but not many of them, I’ll be honest with you.”
Legal experts expressed concern and dismay.
George Conway, a prom inent conservative attorney who has successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, deemed the president's remarks "obstruction of justice."
Threatening actual and potential witnesses, of course, constitutes obstruction of justice. https://t.co/cgOPxOXOCl— George Conway (@George Conway) 1569517795.0
Former Obama Associate White House Counsel:
The President just implied that numerous public servants and high ranking officials who he deems as disloyal to his… https://t.co/AqQNkOicbx— Ian Bassin (@Ian Bassin) 1569520062.0
National security lawyer:
Someone explain the extortion and intimidating a witness laws to this guy https://t.co/aFD3nN6SBk— Bradley P. Moss (@Bradley P. Moss) 1569519823.0
Professor, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia:
Mr. President the people who spoke to the whistleblower are not spies. They are members of your national security t… https://t.co/bE6sxYk4Gw— Michael McFaul (@Michael McFaul) 1569518410.0
Journalist, founder of ThinkProgress and Popular.info:
You could interpret this as Trump only saying we should murder the whistleblowers sources. Either way, it’s depraved.— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum) 1569518872.0