“What is your message to the White House in terms of cooperation”, CBS’s Scott Pelley asked Nancy Pelosi, for an interview that aired on Sunday evening.
“Speak the truth. Honor your oath of office”, the Speaker said.
“Don’t make this any worse than it already is”, she warned.
Suffice to say Donald Trump is a man who specializes in making bad situations worse, a talent that was on full display over the weekend.
On Sunday, after his surrogates including Stephen Miller, Jim Jordan and, of course, Rudy Giuliani, were summarily embarrassed on national television during a series of interviews, Trump reiterated threats of violence against the whistle-blower, who the president continues to depict as a “spy”.
“I want to meet not only my accuser, who presented SECOND & THIRD HAND INFORMATION, but also the person who illegally gave this information, which was largely incorrect, to the ‘Whistleblower'”, a furious Trump seethed. “Was this person SPYING on the US President?”, he asked. “Big Consequences!”
That comes after Trump’s highly unfortunate remarks to staff from the US Mission to the United Nations last week. “I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistle-blower the information because that’s close to a spy”, the president said, on Thursday, after the complaint at the heart of the impeachment inquiry was made public.
“You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right?”, he asked, an apparent allusion to executing US government officials.
Those comments were cited in a letter from the whistle-blower’s counsel to acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire. CBS published the letter on Sunday. It indicates the whistle-blower (said to be a CIA official) is under federal protection, because he or she fears for their safety.
“The fact that the President’s statement was directed ‘to the person that gave the whistle-blower the information’ does nothing to assuage our concerns for our client’s safety”, the letter, embedded in full below, reads.
You’re reminded that Trump has threatened to kill people before. Recall the following soundbites, for instance, which find Trump explicitly talking about executions of spies and deserters.
Trump also demanded that Adam Schiff be put on trial for treason.
“His lies were made in perhaps the most blatant and sinister manner ever seen in the great Chamber”, the president said of the House intelligence chair. “I want Schiff questioned at the highest level for Fraud & Treason”.
Schiff was also on 60 Minutes Sunday. Asked by Pelley whether the House intelligence committee “already has an agreement with the whistle-blower that he will testify”, Schiff said yes.
As for Trump’s Sunday evening threats – which he’ll almost surely reiterate throughout the week, probably in even more bombastic terms – Schiff, along with other House Democrats, said they “condemn the President’s attacks”.
“We invite our Republican counterparts to do the same because Congress must do all it can to protect this whistle-blower, and all whistle-blowers”, the lawmakers went on to say, in a statement. “Threats of violence from the leader of our country have a chilling effect on the entire whistle-blower process, with grave consequences for our democracy and national security”.
Later, Trump appeared to suggest that there would be a civil war if he’s impeached.