Mark Zaid, an attorney representing the anonymous whistleblower, whose complaint sparked an impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump, in 2017 posted a series of tweets announcing his plan to take down the 45th president, straightforwardly calling it a “coup”.
“#coup has started. First of many steps. #rebellion. #impeachment will follow ultimately", Zaid tweeted in January 2017.
The tweet was accompanied by a screenshot of a White House press release announcing that Trump had fired Attorney General Sally Yates for “refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States".
He repeated the cryptic message in a response to the @POTUS Twitter account.
“#coup has started. As one falls, two more will take their place. #rebellion #impeachment", he tweeted, apparently referring to administration officials who fail to work in compliance with Trump's policies.
In June, Zaid tweeted fantasies of stories to be told about the Trump impeachment, 45 years from 2017.
"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 tweeted.
Zaid’s tweets add fuel to the fire of Republican criticism of the impeachment inquiry, who say the whistleblower’s complaint is tainted with partisanship.
“The whistleblower’s lawyer gave away the game", Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh commented, according to 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".
Zaid has appeared to be casting for whistleblowers on his Twitter account since the day Trump took office, Fox News says. He publicly called on CIA employees to come to him to “legally challenge” the president and on celebrities to promote his law firm.
In October, Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson told lawmakers that the whistleblower had a “professional relationship with one of the 2020 candidates", according to a Washington Examiner report.
While Zaid denied that the whistleblower “worked for or advised the political candidate, campaign or party", he left open the possibility that the “relationship” took place before the unnamed official began their run for the presidency.
The impeachment inquiry alleges that Trump withdrew military funding to Ukraine in a bid to force Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to conduct an investigation into gas company Burisma Holdings, in which presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter had a seat on the Board. The July phone call, in which Trump asked for a “favour” does not mention funding and House Democrats are attempting to draw a direct line between the two events to back their claim of a “quid pro quo", or political extortion.
On Wednesday, Democrats announced that three current and former US State Department officials will testify live in televised hearings taking place next Wednesday and Friday – a move that closely resembles what took place during US President Richard Nixon’s notorious Watergate scandal, The Hill reported.