President Trump is not happy about the contents of the whistle-blower complaint released to the public Thursday morning. He’s so mad, in fact, that he fantasized about a few rather extreme punishments for the people responsible.
The report includes several damning revelations, including details of how Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate a political rival, how the White House sought to cover up Trump’s July 25th call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and how Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr became entangled in the efforts.
The whistle-blower writes he or she did not have first-hand knowledge of Trump’s communication with Ukraine. But the whistle-blower says in the four months prior to the complaint’s filing, “more than half a dozen U.S. officials” informed him or her about facts related to Trump’s efforts to solicit election interference from Ukraine.
“I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistle-blower the information because that’s close to a spy,” Trump told staff at the United States Mission to the United Nations, according to The New York Times. “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”
The “old days” to which Trump is referring are the 1950s, when Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were famously executed for conspiring to give American atomic secrets to Russia during World War II.
Trump has on numerous occasions accused intelligence officials of treason, mostly in regard to the Mueller investigation. In May, NBC’s Peter Alexander pointed out the potential penalty for treason in asking the president about some of his accusations. “Sir, the Constitution says treason is punishable by death,” Alexander said. “You’ve accused your adversaries of treason. Who specifically are you accusing of treason?”
After Alexander mentioned that treason was punishable by death, Trump nodded in agreement before listing former FBI Director James Comey, former acting FBI Director Peter McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
REPORTER: Sir, the constitution says treason is punishable by death. You've accused your adversaries of treason. Who specifically are you accusing of treason?
TRUMP: A number of people. If you look at Comey, McCabe, if you look at Strzok, his lover Lisa Page… 😳 pic.twitter.com/6louyWsqaa
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 23, 2019
None of this seems great.