On Tuesday’s edition of CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” anchor Chris Cuomo pushed back on GOP lobbyist and American Conservative Union director Matt Schlapp for saying President Donald Trump has the right to fire Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson for transmitting the whistleblower complaint.
“Why would it be okay for the president to go after the inspector general for dealing with the whistleblower?” said Cuomo.
“Because he serves at the pleasure of the president. The president can get rid of them at any time,” said Schlapp. “At the State Department during Obama’s presidency, during the whole time Hillary was at the State Department, he didn’t bother to pick an IG.”
“Does the reason why you get rid of somebody, if it’s because he’s seen as disloyal for finding the whistleblower credible, does that color your determination?” said Cuomo.
“No, the president has the right to remove you for whatever reason you want,” insisted Schlapp. “It’s the reason the president may publish the transcript so every American can read what went down in that conversation. He’s going to release the first conversation he had with the president of Ukraine later this week.”
“But you don’t believe that Mr. Atkinson mishandled the whistleblower situation, do you?” Cuomo shot back.
“I think he did what Rod Rosenstein did,” replied Schlapp. “He took the easy path.”
“What would have been the hard path?” asked Cuomo.
“For those who have read the transcript with a fair mind, it is not as some people made it out to be, including the whistleblower,” said Schlapp.
“To be clear and fair to Mr. Atkinson, that’s not his job,” pointed out Cuomo. “His job is to assess the credible, see if he can corroborate it and if so give it to the DOJ. It is their job and they passed on this. Imagine this, my brother. Imagine if they hadn’t and they had investigated this claim, we may not be here right now.”
“The whistleblower, by all accounts of what we’ve been able to put together, has all been corroborated already,” added Cuomo. “That’s why I don’t understand this push about making the whistleblower a bogeyman and making the person who assessed his credibility a bogeyman. I don’t get the tactic.”
McConnell’s impeachment collusion admission handed the Democrats a powerful new weapon to damage the president
Mitch McConnell's admission on Fox News that he is working behind the scenes with the White House to stack the Senate impeachment trial gives Democrats a potent weapon against the GOP, wrote Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman in the Washington Post.
"If Democrats play their procedural cards right, they can pressure Republicans to allow for a much fairer and more open trial that could actually produce new revelations — and if they refuse, extract a political price for it," they wrote.
Trump adviser admits president ‘will come out of this impeachment process unhinged’: report
CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta learned from a top adviser to President Donald Trump that he will likely come out of the impeachment completely "unhinged."
"I think it's starting to sink in that he's about to be impeached," Acosta told CNN's John Berman Friday evening. "Impeachment is coming. He was asked about these issues earlier today. He was asked about the prospect of a Senate trial that comes after he's impeached in the House. There's been a debate going on back and forth between the White House and Republicans up on Capitol Hill about whether or not a Senate trial is a good idea. I will tell you, I talked to a source familiar with discussions going on inside the White House who said the president is starting to listen to the counsel coming from his attorneys saying a shorter trial would be better. It would obviously remove the possibility there would be unforeseen bombshells emerging and you heard the president sounding open to that idea."
It’s hard to argue Trump was innocent when Rudy Giuliani is in Ukraine to keep it going: Former US Attorney
Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara explained Friday that it's difficult for President Donald Trump to claim he is innocent of attempting to bribe Ukraine when his own lawyer just returned from trying to dig up more dirt on the son of his opponent.
"Isn't this what got the president in trouble in the first place?" CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Bharara.
"Yes, it actually is," Bharara said simply. "I don't know exactly what's going on here. I think Rudy Giuliani wants to be close to the president and help the president and argue on behalf of the president. There are a lot of implications that Rudy Giuliani is doing going on forays back to Ukraine, which some people would call the scene of the crime. It causes more scrutiny to be brought upon him. We've seen reported he's under investigation himself, and I think it raises eyebrows in the political sphere. But I think something important about it relates to impeachment."