Attorneys: Trump’s Woodward Admissions ‘Clearly Impeachable’

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Attorneys: Trump's Woodward Admissions 'Clearly Impeachable'

president Donald Trump admitted downplaying the severity of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) threat in conversations with the famous Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, in a series of tapes released on CNN Show on Wednesday. The interviews, recorded in Woodward's new book Rage, reveal that Trump said one thing privately and another publicly about the virus. It wasn't long before legal commentators labeled this evidence "a clearly criminal offense".

According to the tapes, Trump told Woodward in early February that COVID-19 was "deadly stuff", adding that it was "more deadly than even your exhausting flow". Trump repeated that comparison on the same call, telling Woodward that the coronavirus was spreading faster and could potentially be five times more "deadly" than seasonal flu.

This is the tape: 🔊pic.twitter.com/ozX8O8fVKm

– Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) September 9, 2020

But a month later, hoping to prevent the nation from shutting down to contain the spread of the disease, Trump painted the threat in a very different light with the same comparison.

“Last year 37,000 Americans died from the flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is switched off, life and the economy go on. There are currently 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus with 22 deaths. Think about it! “The President tweeted on March 9th.

Last year 37,000 Americans died from the flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is switched off, life and the economy go on. There are currently 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus with 22 deaths. Think about it!

– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2020

Ten days later, on March 19, Trump told Woodward that COVID-19 affects not only the elderly but "also young people, many young people". During the same conversation, the president also admitted that he had underestimated the risks of alleviating public fear of the pandemic.

"I always wanted to downplay it," Trump said, despite declaring a national emergency six days earlier. "I still like to downplay it because I don't want to panic."

Los Angeles Times law columnist and UCLA law professor Harry LitmanTrump's former attorney and assistant assistant attorney general said Trump's behavior was "clearly a criminal offense".

"Do you remember the high crimes and misdemeanor debate?" Litman wrote. “This is clearly a criminal offense, if not a crime. The POTUS lied to the American people for political purposes, and tens of thousands of deaths easily occurred. How bad and harmful can a violation of public duty be? "

Do you remember the high crimes and misdemeanor debate? This is clearly a criminal offense, if not a crime. The POTUS lied to the American people for political purposes, and tens of thousands of deaths easily occurred. How worse and more harmful can a breach of public duty be? https://t.co/riuM9xKJt9

– Harry Litman (@harrylitman) September 9, 2020

Litman later added that the President's conduct was "a clearly criminal act / violation of public confidence with dire fatal consequences".

National Security Attorney in Washington, DC Brad Moss Similarly, the tapes said "should (Trump's) presidency end" and added, "If not, God will help us."

This should end his presidency. If not, God will help us. https://t.co/YvbC4gtpQq

– Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) September 9, 2020

Former federal prosecutor and senior Mueller team lieutenant Andrew Weissmann joined the chorus of criticism. He said Trump's words were an admission of the endangerment for US citizens.

“Will that break through? If there are explicit tapes, will Trump still falsely claim, as he did with the Access Hollywood tape, that it is not his voice? Since these statements endangered American life, they certainly cannot be attributed to the "locker room hoax," he tweeted.

Will that break through? If there are explicit tapes, will Trump still falsely claim, as he did with the Access Hollywood tape, that it is not his voice? Since these statements endangered American life, they certainly cannot be attributed to the "locker room joke". https://t.co/ZnsdngBm5E

– Andrew Weissmann (@AWeissmann_) September 9, 2020

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Who is also a lawyer, has even classified Trump's behavior as "ruthless murder" – which is legally too extreme.

"After reading more excerpts from the Woodward book that (President Trump) is on tape, I have come to the conclusion that this is not just a breach of duty on the part of POTUS. Trump has repeatedly lied to and led the American people to avoidable deaths, "wrote Lieu." This is ruthless murder.

After reading more excerpts from the Woodward book that @realDonaldTrump is on tape, I've come to the conclusion that this isn't just a breach of duty by @POTUS. Trump has lied to the American people repeatedly, and that has resulted in preventable deaths.

This is ruthless murder. # TrumpKnew https://t.co/c7SziWD3CK

– Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 9, 2020

(Image via Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

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