Trump calls impeachment inquiry a “coup” that will trigger civil war
Trump listening to a discussion about Venezuela at the UN last week. He was not happy about his administration's failure to trigger regime change in that country earlier this year. | Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump, after predicting his impeachment would trigger civil war, stepped up his vitriol yesterday by characterizing the impeachment inquiry as a “coup” and by warning his die-hard right-wing followers in one of almost 50 tweets that Democrats were “coming for” their liberty, their homes, and their guns.

The escalating rhetoric from the White House was accompanied by revelations from border and Homeland Security officials that in closed meetings Trump had urged them to shoot asylum seekers at the border and that when they told him it would be illegal he urged them to at least “shoot them in the legs to slow them down.” The president then promised the border officials that if they got into legal trouble for following those orders he would pardon them.

“This is a totally lawless president,” said Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris on national television when she heard about the remarks. “He is out of control.”

In a tweet on Tuesday, Trump said he had come to the conclusion that the inquiry is not really an impeachment, “it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People.”

The coup assertions are absurd because the process for impeachment is a legal constitutional one and in this case, if Trump were removed from office Vice President Pence would replace him, continuing the same conservative and right-wing policies emanating from the White House now.

Thus far neither Trump nor any of his Republican defenders have tried to defend any of Trump’s specific actions. For the most part, they have been either attacking his political opponents or, in the case of some, trying to claim that impeachment is motivated by opposition to the administration’s allegedly lofty goals.

Trump himself claims in some of his tweets that the impeachment drive is aimed at overturning his goals of protecting gun ownership, building a border wall and preserving freedom of religion.

After initially denying that he knew anything about Trump’s phone conversation with Ukrainian President Zelensky, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo backed down yesterday and admitted he was on the call. He has been resisting demands that he and others in the State Department send in depositions regarding use by Trump of the department to further his own personal or political aims.

Particularly worrisome to Pompeo is that House and Senate staff are scheduled to meet today with his department’s inspector general who came forward and said he had urgent material to show the lawmakers.

Several important State Department employees are ignoring Pompeo’s push for them to stay away from Congress. The former envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker is meeting behind closed doors with Congress on Thursday.

Volker resigned last week after a whistleblower complaint detailed Trump’s illegal interactions with the Ukrainian president.

Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch will appear Oct. 11.

Associated Press contributed to this article.


CONTRIBUTOR

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.

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