Over the past three months, Donald Trump has suggested, among other things, that Adam Schiff be “arrested for treason“, that whistle-blower protections be cast aside and that “spies” within his administration should be executed like “in the old days”.
And that’s just what he’s said in public, in front of people with working eyes and ears. One can only imagine what the president says behind closed doors, although given this White House’s reputation for leaking like a sieve, it’s possible most of what there is to know has found its way to the press.
For instance, on Tuesday afternoon, the New York Times said Trump has repeatedly suggested he’d like to fire intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson.
You remember Mike, right? Atkinson was the man who originally deemed the whistle-blower complaint an “urgent concern” and ultimately reported it to Congress, after forwarding it to acting DNI Joseph Maguire, who waited longer than he should have under the law to transmit it to Capitol Hill.
As you can imagine, that decision isn’t something Trump is particularly pleased with in retrospect seeing as how it’s a big reason why he’s almost guaranteed to be impeached (if not convicted and removed).
Amusingly, the Times says Trump just can’t figure out why Atkinson felt like he needed to share the complaint with lawmakers. (Hint: It’s because the complaint detailed possibly impeachable conduct and appeared to suggest that US foreign policy towards Ukraine was beholden to a shadow campaign run by Rudy Giuliani and a cast of unscrupulous characters). One source says the president believes Atkinson is “disloyal”, despite Trump having appointed him.
Clearly, the optics around firing the inspector general would be disastrous. “People close to the president believe the political consequences of firing Mr. Atkinson could be devastating”, the Times notes.
Over the weekend, during one of his signature Saturday Twitter tirades, Trump “recommended” that Atkinson be hauled in to testify, along with “Nervous Nancy”, “Shifty Schiff”, “Sleepy Joe” and the whistle-blowers, who are either protected by law or subject to fire and brimstone, depending on whether you believe America is still a democracy or not.
“I recommend that Nervous Nancy Pelosi (who backed up Schiff’s lie), Shifty Adam Schiff, Sleepy Joe Biden, the Whistleblower (who miraculously disappeared after I released the transcript of the call), the 2nd Whistleblower (who also disappeared), & the I.G., be part of the list!”, Trump shrieked, to his 65 million followers.
On Monday, Trump claimed to have “signed the Whistleblower Protection Act!”. He was quoting a tweet from the White House which listed the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, which the president signed into law in 2017.
To think I signed the Whistleblower Protection Act! https://t.co/OSmPPcRs7x
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2019
That has absolutely nothing to do with the Whistleblower Protection Act, which was passed by Congress in 1989, when Trump was in the middle of losing a billion dollars on bad business deals.