Former senior Trump-Russia prosector Andrew Weissmann says Democrats should mimic Italian politics for the way to “get rid of” President Trump, whom he called a “demigod” and “amoral.”
Conservatives say Mr. Weissmann’s advice on MSNBC reveals what his goal was all along as a senior prosecutor on the staff of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Mr. Weissmann, a Democratic Party donor and one of 18 Mueller prosecutors, also lamented he could never get Mr. Trump to sit down for an interview where a slip up could have resulted in federal perjury charges.
Mr. Weissmann made the pro-removal remarks on Thursday after Mr. Trump held a Senate acquittal celebration at the White House. The president lashed out at FBI chieftains, such as former agent Peter Strzok, for investigating an election conspiracy he said agents knew didn’t happen.
He also ridiculed the Democrats for buying a dossier based on Kremlin sources that was essentially a hoax, but used by the FBI to target Trump associates.
The final Mueller report, which Mr. Weissmann helped write, said the FBI didn’t establish a Trump-Russia conspiracy.
Previously on MSNBC, Mr. Weissmann said Mr. Trump talks on an open phone line so Russian President Vladimir Putin can listen in.
Mr. Weissmann said on Thursday that the way Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, like Mr. Trump a populist conservative, was ousted is a model for Democrats. Also like Mr. Trump, Mr. Berlusconi is a billionaire. Critics claimed he used government policy to help his companies. He was convicted of tax fraud after serving longer than any post-World War II prime minister.
“There was something very interesting when the Italians were trying to get rid of Berlusconi and they had very very similar demigod who also was amoral,” Mr. Weissmann said. “And one of the ways they did it was you don’t just talk about his personal failings. You go to the facts. You talk about why his policies are wrong. I think that’s what the Democrats have to point out. All of this is just adjectives. There’s actually a complete dearth of the president’s saying what actually is wrong with these people. What have they actually said that’s incorrect.”
Then Mr. Weissmann lamented that Mr. Trump never sat down for an interview that could have led to federal charges. Mr. Trump answered Mr. Mueller’s written questions and made every White House official available for questioning.
“It is noticeable that as the president mouths off today about this but where was he in the House. Where was he in the Senate?” Mr. Weissmann said. “He never submitted to an interview. He never testified under oath. It’s true. The same happened in the Mueller case.”
“There is a classic reason. There is legal jeopardy that attaches if you sit for an interview or if you say something under oath to federal prosecutors or to the House, to the Senate.”
“So if you notice the president is happy to talk today about ‘oh this evil and these people are corrupt.’ But when it came time for him to put up or shut up, which is are you willing to actually say this under oath or even in an interview, he is completely silent.”
Republican National Committee spokesperson Elizabeth Harrington, who posted the video on Twitter, said Mr. Weissmann revealed his true goal: he hoped for a perjury trap
“Whether he realizes it or not, Andrew Weissmann just admitted what we always knew,” she said. “The purpose of the Mueller investigation was ‘trying to get rid of’ President Trump and laying a perjury trap. The President didn’t fall for it, and the truth WON.”
• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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