President Donald Trump has hinted that the whistleblower whose complaint led Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry should be executed for treason, just like “in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason.”
The US president demanded to know the identity of the whistleblower – who he likened to a spy – before delivering the loaded remark: “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right?”
President Trump also lashed out at staff who alleged the White House “locked down” details of his phone call with the Ukrainian president – likening them to spies and suggesting they may face serious punishment.
The president was speaking after Congress released parts of a whistleblower’s report, in which an anonymous intelligence agent raised fears that the president was abusing his power by pressing for foreign interference in the 2020 election.
The report claims that White House aides were ordered to “lock down” evidence of a phone call in which Mr Trump pressed the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, the frontrunner to be the Democratic candidate next year.
Despite the serious accusations, the author of the report admits they did not witness most of the claims personally but relied on “information” from “multiple” government officials.
President Trump later told reporters that he wanted to find a way to stop the impeachment process “maybe legally, through the courts”.
The president also reportedly made a series of comments about the White House staff who leaked information to the whistleblower, at a private meeting.
According to the New York Times, Trump said that anyone who leaked information was “close to a spy”.
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