Trump Criticizes Democrats as Whistleblower Complaint Is Released to the Public

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
September 26, 2019 Updated: September 26, 2019

President Donald Trump took to social media to criticize Democrats minutes after the whistleblower complaint that sparked a controversy in the Capitol was released to the public on early Thursday, Sept. 26.


Trump spent the morning retweeting posts, articles, and press conferences that slammed House Democrats’ move to launch an impeachment inquiry against the president while stating that it was “THE GREATEST SCAM IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN POLITICS!”

In an earlier post, Trump predicted that the stock marks would crash if the Democrats went ahead with impeaching him.

“If they actually did this the markets would crash. Do you think it was luck that got us to the best Stock Market and Economy in our history. It wasn’t!” he wrote.

The whistleblower complaint, which was delivered to Congress yesterday, was made public on Thursday morning. The handling of the complaint sparked controversy in Washington after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) failed to comply with demands from the House Intelligence committee to hand over the complaint to Congress.

The DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel released an opinion (pdf) on Wednesday that found that Joseph Maguire, acting director of national intelligence (DNI), did not have to send the complaint to Congress. Moreover, the inspector general also found “some indicia of an arguable political bias on the part of the Complainant in favor of a rival political candidate.”

Maguire is testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning, where lawmakers are pressing him about the identity of the whistleblower and the handling of the complaint.

During the hearing, Maguire told ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) that he has not investigated the truthfulness of the complaint and he called the case “unique and unprecedented.

According to the redacted complaint, the so-called whistleblower filed it after receiving information the person thought showed that Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country.”

The whistleblower said they’ve spoken to more than six U.S. officials who have conveyed information supporting the claim, and they specifically mentioned the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call was released to the public on Wednesday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump on Tuesday—hours before the transcript was made public—over media reports about the whistleblower complaint and Trump-Zelensky call.

She alleged that Trump’s presidency “revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) slammed Pelosi at a press conference on Wednesday, questioning her ability to remain in the House as the speaker.

“Yesterday was a dark day for America,” McCarthy told reporters. “It was a dark day for the rule of law that the speaker of the House would claim that a president violated the law without ever having any information to judge it on.”

“She put this country in harm’s way when it comes to national security and our view around the world,” McCarthy said. “At the exact same time, the leader of our country is sitting in the U.N. meeting with other world leaders—a challenge with Iran, a challenge with China, and others. And she stands before that she’s going to do a press conference all day long to say what’s going to happen with impeachment.”

“And she claims that he violated the law with no proof, with no information, simply the fact that she did not like the outcome of the [2016] election. That questions her ability to even be speaker in my eyes,” he added.

Under the constitution, a president can be impeached for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

According to Professor Robert G. Natelson, who heads the Independence Institute’s Constitutional Studies Center and a law professor for 25 years, “high crimes” is defined as felonies, while “high misdemeanors” is a term that has been the subject of controversy. He says that based on its historical definition, dating back to the 13th century in the British Parliament, it would mean a “breach of fiduciary duty” or “breach of trust.” The Independence Institute is a Colorado-based think tank that provides research to influence law and public policy.

“That is to say, disloyalty, negligence, and neglect, dishonesty, financial self-dealing, or failure to provide adequate financial records,” Natelson told Epoch Times. “These are similar to the fiduciary standards applied to private trustees.”

Natelson, whose research on the Constitution has been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, said that he does not think Trump’s conversation with Zelensky would violate the constitution.

“I do not see how a request from one head of state to another to investigate corruption charges constitutes a felony or a breach of fiduciary duty,” Natelson said. “In fact, it is a norm of international diplomacy that heads of state or government help each other politically. Each head of state knows that the interest of his own country is tied up to a certain extent with the interests of other heads of state with whom they want good relations.”

Moreover, Natelson said he did not think Pelosi had acted appropriately when she launched the impeachment inquiry before she had read the transcript of the phone call.

“There are political pressures within her own party that probably induced her to act as she did, but her decision was improper and I doubt that it was politically wise,” he said.

Natelson, who also has experience in practical politics, said through that experience he had learned to “never let your hatred or disdain for a political opponent to get the best of you.”

“It causes you to underestimate the opponent and overestimate the persuasiveness of your own case. And for those and other reasons, allowing your hatred or disdain to get the better of you causes you to make political mistakes,” he said.

Epoch Times reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.