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    Choice of Whistleblower’s Attorney Makes Impeachment Inquiry More Political & Polarised - Prof

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    Anti-Donald Trump tweets posted by the Ukraine scandal whistleblower’s lawyer back in 2017 have resurfaced. Mark Zaid, an attorney representing the alleged CIA whistleblower, whose complaint triggered the impeachment probe against the US president, wrote on Twitter on 17 January that a “coup has started” and an “impeachment will follow ultimately”.

    But the tweets didn’t stop there.

    In June 2017, Zaid wrote: “45 years from now we might be recalling stories regarding the impeachment of @realDonaldTrump. I’ll be old, but will be worth the wait”.

    He later tweeted in July 2017: “Since Jan 20th, I would much rather be in Canada. What a great country! We'll be great again when @realDonaldTrump leaves”.

    Later that month he “predicted” that “@CNN will play a key role in @realDonaldTrump not finishing out his full term as president”.

    ​Trump reacted to the unearthed tweets by calling for an immediate end to the “Impeachment Hoax”.

    Meena Bose, the director of Hofstra University's Kalikow Centre for the Study of the American Presidency and a professor of political science, noted that while Zaid’s tweets clearly indicate that he’s been critical of Trump from the start of his presidency, the comments are not part of the impeachment inquiry.

    “The 2017 tweets from attorney Mark Zaid for the whistleblower in the impeachment inquiry make clear that Zaid has been highly critical of the Trump presidency from the outset… They do not affect the procedures that follow from a whistleblower complaint, nor should they distract from the US House of Representatives’ inquiry process”, Bose said.

    Laura Wilson, a political science professor at the University of Indianapolis, had a similar stance, saying that it’s no surprise that the whistleblower is represented by someone who would support their case.

    “A lawyer's bias can be influential in the relationship between him/her and his client and certainly, if Zaid is so vehemently against the president, he would likely welcome this opportunity for challenge, but the criticism can't simply be personal or else there would be no merit in court”, Wilson explained.

    But at the same time, she noted that picking an anti-Trump lawyer will make the inquiry even more “political and polarised”.

    “Republicans will view this as an inherent, predetermined bias while Democrats will argue that the whistleblower's identity and integrity must be maintained at all costs”, Wilson stressed.

    Matthew Wilson, associate professor of political science at Southern Methodist Universit, for his part, suggested that one important defence for Trump in the ongoing impeachment inquiry is "his claim that his accusers have been gunning for him since the beginning of his presidency, irrespective of anything that he may actually have done".

    "The Democrats seek to present to the public the idea that they have been forced, after a careful, sober examination of the president's outrageous misconduct, to reluctantly seek his removal from office. If key players, like Zaid, have been intensely and publicly hostile to the president for years, it undermines this narrative. It allows Trump to more credibly advance the 'witch hunt' narrative, in which he claims that the whole Ukraine affair is simply the latest in a long line of excuses that his opponents have seized upon to launch a de facto coup against him".

    Democrats launched a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump on 24 September following allegations from an alleged intelligence community whistleblower that Trump had asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President, now a Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden and his son Hunter during a phone conversation that took place in July.

    Trump has called the impeachment inquiry a witch hunt, also tweeting on Thursday that he would not get a lawyer or due process:

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Tags:
    Whistleblower, probe, inquiry, impeachment, Donald Trump, Ukraine, United States
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