Mark Zaid, an attorney representing the whistleblower whose report is at the center of the Democrats' impeachment probe against President Donald Trump, is under fire for several tweets calling for a "coup" against the president, but dismissed the growing controversy as "partisan deflection."
"This is nothing more than the continuing partisan deflection to desperately avoid discussing the substance of my client's whistleblower complaint," Zaid told Law and Crime, after Fox News revealed in an exclusive Wednesday night that he'd posted several tweets — one just days after Trump's inauguration — saying the "coup" had started.
"In the time since that tweet was posted, which was referring to lawyers serving as the force of good to prevent this president from doing harm to our democracy, I've probably represented more Republicans, including White House officials, than Democrats," Zaid said Wednesday.
In another tweet, Zaid said "we will get rid of him." He explained to Law and Crime that he had "referred to any lawful methods that exist, whether impeachment, if justified, or voting him out. My views are in sync with the majority of the country. In fact, there are tweets I made that speak out against impeachment."
In the first tweet, dated Jan. 30, 2017, in response to a CNN story about the firing of Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Zaid said a "coup has started" and that "impeachment will follow ultimately."
Then in July 2017, Zaid predicted CNN would pay a role in Trump "not finishing out his full term as president." He said later that month, "we will get rid of him, and this country is strong enough to survive even him and his supporters."
Zaid also posed several other posts related to impeachment, saying that the "coup" would occur in "many steps."
"45 years from now we might be recalling stories regarding the impeachment of @realDonaldTrump. I'll be old, but will be worth the wait," Zaid wrote in June 2017.
"Johnson (1868), Nixon (1973), Clinton (1998) impeachment hearings," he said in a May 2017 post. "Next up @realDonaldTrump (2017)."
"The whistleblower's lawyer gave away the game," the Trump campaign's communications director Tim Murtaugh told Fox News. "It was always the Democrats' plan to stage a coup and impeach President Trump and all they ever needed was the right scheme. They whiffed on Mueller so now they've settled on the perfectly fine Ukraine phone call. This proves this was orchestrated from the beginning."
Trump Wednesday night quoted extensively from the Fox News report. "Democrats must be accountable for their hoaxes and their crimes," Trump said, holding a printout of the Fox News piece.
"I don't know if you saw, I'm just coming off the plane, and they hand me — look at this character. They just hand me this story, 'Coup has started, whistleblower attorney said in 2017.'"
Trump added: "That was a long time ago. It's all a hoax. They say, January 2017 — a 'coup has started,' and the 'impeachment will follow ultimately.' It's all a hoax. It's a scam. And, you know who helps them? These people back here — the media."
Fox News' Sean Hannity Wednesday night railed against the "corrupt" whistleblower and Zaid, calling on Congress to put them both on the stand.
Zaid also said in a podcast last year that he is "not a Trump fan" and that he goes "out of my way on Twitter to say '#Resistance.' It's not a resistance against the GOP or a Republican — I don't think [Trump] is a Republican, quite frankly."
He noted he's sued every president since 1993, regardless of their party affiliation, and that he was looking for plaintiffs to sue the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C.
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