Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld ― who’s waging an uphill battle against Donald Trump for the Republican nomination ― says it’s clear the president committed treason by allegedly seeking election assistance from Ukraine.
During a Monday appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Weld said the potential case against Trump couldn’t be more obvious amid reports that he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to help attorney Rudy Giuliani with a probe of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son.
“That’s not just undermining democratic institutions,” Weld said. “That is treason. It’s treason, pure and simple, and the penalty for treason under the U.S. code is death.”
“The penalty on the Constitution is removal from office, and that might look like a pretty good alternative to the president if he could work out a plea deal,” he added.
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) September 23, 2019
On Sunday, Trump appeared to confirm that Biden came up during his July discussion with Zelensky, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, with largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place and largely the fact that we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine,” Trump told reporters, according to a pool report.
However, according to the Journal, Trump asked Zelensky about eight times to partner with Giuliani to investigate Hunter Biden, hoping that it would hinder the elder Biden’s campaign.
Trump has since defended his call to Zelensky as wholly appropriate as a growing chorus of top Democrats demands the release to Congress of a whistleblower complaint flagging the communication, as is usually required by law.
Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire has still not turned the complaint over to lawmakers.
In a letter Monday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) requested that the report be subpoenaed and that a transcript of Trump’s call be released.
“This is a whistleblower complaint that has been labeled ‘urgent’ and ‘credible’ not by Democrats, but by a senior-level Trump appointee,” he said, referring to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson’s assessment. “It is the Senate’s duty to take this national security matter seriously and to take action now.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) ― the lead Democrat on the Judiciary Committee ― have made similar remarks.