An attorney for the whistleblower who triggered impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump declared a coup d’état soon after his inauguration.
Mark Zaid repeatedly tweeted in January 2017, days after Trump took, that a “#coup has started.” He predicted the ouster would have “many steps,” adding the hashtags “#rebellion” and “#impeachment.”
— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) January 31, 2017
The tweets came in response to news that Trump had fired then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates for insubordination.
Lest anyone doubt how he felt about the coup he foresaw, Zaid in subsequent months frequently called to “Get rid of Trump.” In May and June 2017, he looked forward to Trump’s impeachment being in the history books.
The following month, Zaid said of Trump’s presidency, “It’s very scary.”
“We will get rid of him, and this country is strong enough to survive even him and his supporters,” he said. “We have to.”
Zaid also predicted CNN would “play a key role” in Trump “not finishing out his full term as president.”
Like Zaid, Bakaj specializes is representing whistleblowers. He interned for Sen. Chuck Schumer and then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, both Democrats representing New York, and later served as a CIA officer.
According to the Federalist, Bakaj was initially assisted on the whistleblower’s case by attorney Charles McCullough, a former intelligence community inspector general who reported to then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
After leaving office in 2017, Clapper took a job at CNN and became an outspoken Trump critic.
Trump fires back at Mark Zaid
At his 2020 reelection rally in Louisiana on Wednesday, Trump read Zaid’s tweets to the crowd and called the lawyer a “sleazeball.”
“It’s all a hoax. It’s a scam. And you know who helps them? These people right back here, the media,” Trump said to roars of approval. “Can you believe this? And this was done a long time ago!”
The whistleblower, who is reportedly a CIA officer detailed to the White House, on Aug. 12 filed a complaint over Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. According to a rough transcript of the call released by the White House, Trump asked his counterpart to investigate claims of Democratic corruption.
In September, House Democrats opened an impeachment inquiry into the Republican president. saying his dealing with Ukraine were illegal and jeopardized national security.
However, Trump has referred to the call as “perfect” and denied any wrongdoing. He has accused Democrats of trying to undemocratically remove him from office.
In response to mounting pressure for the whistleblower to be identified, Zaid said Sunday that his client would answer written questions from House Republicans. But Trump and the Republicans immediately rejected the offer.
“Written answers will not provide a sufficient opportunity to probe all the relevant facts and cross-examine the so-called whistleblower,” said Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a ranking member of the Oversight Committee. “You don’t get to ignite an impeachment effort and never account for your actions and role in orchestrating it.”
Democrats this week began the public phase of the impeachment inquiry after holding closed-door meetings with witnesses, after which testimony has been selectively leaked. On Tuesday, they announced they would hold public hearings starting next week.