Ex-State Dept. official who leaked Pentagon Papers: Trump is an 'enemy of the Constitution'

Ex-State Dept. official who leaked Pentagon Papers: Trump is an 'enemy of the Constitution'
Cmichel67/Wikimedia Commons; U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr/Wikimedia Commons

A former U.S. Defense and State Department official is speaking out and urging progressives to vote for Democratic presidential Joe Biden due to President Donald Trump's threat to the Constitution.

Daniel Ellsberg published an op-ed in the Detroit Metro Times asking the American public to back Biden in the upcoming presidential election. Ellsberg, who identifies as a progressive voter who initially supported Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) presidential campaign, admitted that Biden was not his first candidate of choice.

While Ellsberg expressed concern about Trump's repeated dismissals of climate change warnings, he also stressed how important it is to combat the growing threat to the United States' democracy.

"More urgently, we're facing an authoritarian threat to our democratic system of a kind we've never seen before," Ellsberg said. "Right now he is even casting unwarranted doubt on the validity of mail-in ballots, and in other ways as well putting in question for the first time in our history whether he would peacefully leave office after a full-accounting of votes cast by Election Day gave the majority in the Electoral College to his opponent."

He later added, "I now see Donald J. Trump as a domestic enemy of the Constitution, in the sense of that oath. As president he has assaulted not only the First Amendment but also virtually every other aspect and institution of our country that preserves us as a republic.

Ellsberg acknowledged the fact that many voters have reservations about a Biden presidency but he also emphasized the importance of defeating Trump, describing it as America "[dodging] a bullet."

"The election now underway must remove Donald Trump from the presidency," Ellsberg said. "Whatever reservations you might have about Joe Biden, the fact remains that his victory over Trump would mean that our country will have dodged a bullet — preventing the destruction of our Constitution as a functional document and averting irreversible damage to human civilization in the next four years."

Ellsberg faced a highly publicized political controversy over his release of the "Pentagon Papers" in 1971, a top-secret Pentagon study detailing the federal government's decision-making during the Vietnam War. He was charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 but all charges against him were later dropped as a result of governmental misconduct and illegal practices for evidence-gathering.

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