President Donald Trump took to Twitter Thursday night and amplified the notion that there was an attempted coup on his presidency.
This notion came from Harvard legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, who suggested the idea during a visit with Tucker Carlson, which was just another example of Fox News personalities floating the idea that there was a “Deep State” led coup.
President Trump shared the transcript of Dershowitz:
“Trying to use the 25th Amendment to try and circumvent the Election is a despicable act of unconstitutional power grabbing…which happens in third world countries. You have to obey the law. This is an attack on our system & Constitution.” Alan Dershowitz. @TuckerCarlson
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2019
The president of the United States suggesting that there was an attempted coup by the Department of Justice — if even by proxy as is in this case — is an incredible accusation. And yet, this tweet was largely received with the very apathy and numbness that so pervades the current politico-media landscape.
Some context and background to all of this coup talk.
According to CBS News’ Scott Pelley, in the days that followed the firing of James Comey, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s reportedly engaged in serious discussions with other DOJ senior officials about invoking the 25th amendment. This news was revealed during a CBS Morning panel discussion in which Pelley shared details of an interview set to air this coming Sunday.
We know how the 25th amendment discussions went, however. There was no effort to remove President Trump from office because he was unfit, or in this instance, compromised by Russian operatives that were the root concern, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller was named to lead an investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
But almost immediately after Pelley reported this news, the suggestion that there was an attempted coup was floated by numerous personalities on Fox News. Watch a quick montage of this attempted coup idea being floated:
There are numerous other examples, particularly the second segment of Hannity, and the notion that the 25th amendment was being discussed is — by any measure — huge news.
But the discussion of constitutional options and an actual effort to enact the 25th amendment are two very different things.
We also know that, at that time, the FBI investigation was well aware of the curious relationship that the Trump campaign had with various Russian officials at the time, which puts the 25th amendment discussion in greater relief.
More importantly, the days that followed Comey’s dismissal included other jaw-dropping actions by President Trump.
The day after Comey was fired (May 1oth), Trump hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Ambassador Sergey Kyslyak in a private oval office meeting (May 11th.) In that meeting, Trump is understood to have shared highly classified intelligence during a meeting with the Russian operatives.
On the next day (May 12th), Trump then told NBC’s Lester Holt that he fired Comey because “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.”
So it stands to reason that the FBI was somewhat reeling as a result of this whirlwind of news of this strange behavior.
Department of Justice leadership is charged with assessing all options at their behest, so it is not unreasonable for a discussion to have occurred about all constitutional options.
It is unreasonable, however, to suggest there was an attempted coup.
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