Pentagon Papers whistleblower: Trump is a ‘domestic enemy of the Constitution'

Pentagon Papers whistleblower: Trump is a ‘domestic enemy of the Constitution'
Image via Screengrab.

The word “whistleblower” is all too familiar to 88-year-old Daniel Ellsberg: it was Ellsberg who, in 1971, released the Pentagon Papers — a Pentagon study of U.S. government decisions made during the Vietnam War. And Ellsberg was highly critical of President Donald Trump when he appeared on MSNBC’s “The Beat” on Tuesday and discussed the Ukraine scandal and House impeachment inquiry against the president.

Ellsberg told host Ari Melber that Trump has shown himself to be a “domestic enemy of the Constitution,” asserting that Trump has encouraged violence against the Ukraine whistleblower who made a formal complaint about Trump’s July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. A partial transcript shows that during that conversation, Trump tried to pressure Zelensky into digging up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden — an act that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi considers an impeachable offense.

Ellsberg said of Trump’s whistleblower-related comments, “He is calling for (a) physical attack, I would say. I think that’s an impeachable offense or a criminal offense in itself.” And Ellsberg told Melber he wanted to “congratulate” the whistleblower “on the success they have had so far in getting that information out and on the courage that she showed or he showed in taking this on.”

The former defense analyst stressed that Democrats must do everything possible to protect the whistleblower.

“Even following the rules, to challenge a president for wrongdoing is not safe — either physically or legally,” Ellsberg told Melber. “And I hope that the Democrats in Congress in the House will take every precaution to keep her identity or his identity secret from the president.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.