Mark Zaid, one of the attorneys representing the whistleblower at the center of the Democrats’ ongoing impeachment inquiry, tweeted conspicuously in January 2017 that a “coup has started” and that “impeachment will follow ultimately.”
Then, in July 2017, Zaid remarked, “I predict @CNN will play a key role in @realDonaldTrump not finishing out his full term as president.” Also that month, Zaid tweeted, “We will get rid of him, and this country is strong enough to survive even him and his supporters.”
Amid a slew of impeachment-related posts, Zaid assured his Twitter followers that “as one falls, two more will take their place,” apparently referring to Trump administration employees who defy the White House.
The tweets, which came shortly after President Trump fired then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates for failing to defend federal laws in court, are likely to fuel Republican concerns that the anonymous whistleblower’s complaint is tainted with partisanship.
“The whistleblower’s lawyer gave away the game,” the Trump campaign’s communications director, Tim Murtaugh. told 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.”
Trump has repeatedly accused Democrats and partisans in the intelligence community of effectively plotting a coup against him, through selective leaks and lengthy investigations.
“45 years from now we might be recalling stories regarding the impeachment of @realDonaldTrump. I’ll be old, but will be worth the wait,” Zaid wrote in June 2017.
He emphasized his interest in impeachment in a variety of other posts.
“Johnson (1868), Nixon (1973), Clinton (1998) impeachment hearings. Next up @realDonaldTrump (2017),” he said in May.
Fox News has previously reported on social media posts by Zaid that highlighted what appeared to be open animus toward the president.
Although Zaid described Democratic House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., as a “mature professional,” and circulated articles that touted the reliability of the largely discredited Steele dossier used by the FBI to surveil a former member of Trump’s campaign, Zaid has repeatedly unloaded on the president in no uncertain terms.
“I’m not a Trump fan,” Zaid said on a podcast last year. “I go out of my way on Twitter to say ‘#Resistance.’ It’s not a resistance against the GOP or a Republican — I don’t think [Trump] is a Republican, quite frankly.” (Zaid also boasted that he has sued “every” president since 1993, and pursues “them all,” regardless of party affiliation.)
Also in the podcast, Zaid acknowledged that he had been fishing for plaintiffs to launch a lawsuit concerning the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., alleging unfair competition by the president and his associates.
“The unfair competition becomes, when Donald Trump became president, he has exploited his use of the presidency, of the Oval Office. … to send business to the hotel. … We identified this as a cause of action, and we were looking for a plaintiff, and we finally found this one restaurant that was willing,” Zaid admitted. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit last year.
Zaid also had something of an open casting call for whistleblowers on Twitter as Trump took office, writing that CIA employees should “come to” his law firm “to lawfully challenge” the new president.
Zaid publicly requested that celebrities Debra Messing, Nancy Sinatra, Cher and Rob Reiner help promote his whistleblower law firm.
“@cher please check out our new whistleblower page,” Zaid wrote in one tweet, which garnered no response from the famed singer.
In February, Zaid escalated his pitch to Reiner, asserting that “we have a chance to depose” Trump in court. At one point last year, Zaid even pitched his services to Michael Avenatti, after the now-embattled attorney mentioned that he was “now representing whistleblowers within ICE.”
Another of the whistleblower’s attorneys, Andrew Bakaj, tweeted in August 2017 that Trump should be removed under the 25th Amendment, which applies to incapacitated presidents.
The posts have surfaced as Republicans demand that the anonymous whistleblower come forward and testify. On Sunday, House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, rejected an offer from Zaid for the whistleblower to anonymously provide written answers to GOP questions.
“Written answers will not provide a sufficient opportunity to probe all the relevant facts and cross-examine the so-called whistleblower,” Jordan said. “You don’t get to ignite an impeachment effort and never account for your actions and role in orchestrating it.”
Zaid acknowledged in a statement in October that his client “has come into contact with presidential candidates from both parties” — but insisted that the contact involved the politicians’ roles as “elected officials – not as candidates.”
His abrupt disclosure came shortly after The Washington Examiner reported that Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson told lawmakers the whistleblower worked “or had some type of professional relationship” with one of the Democratic presidential candidates, citing three sources familiar with Atkinson’s interview with lawmakers on Friday.
Zaid and the other whistleblower attorneys did assert that the whistleblower “has never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign or party” — leaving open the possibility that the whistleblower did advise a current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate prior to his or her run for office.
“The whistleblower is not the story,” the attorneys said. “To date, virtually every substantive allegation has been confirmed by other sources. For that reason, the identity of the whistleblower is irrelevant.”
But Republicans have challenged that claim, noting that various statements in the whistleblower claim have seemingly proved inaccurate. For example, the whistleblower complaint stated that Trump made a “specific request that the Ukrainian leader locate and turn over servers used by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and examined by the U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike” — a request that does not appear in the declassified transcript of the call released by the Trump administration. Trump mentioned CrowdStrike, but did not demand the server.