Give Mark Zaid credit for understanding the rules of trollery these days, especially Rule #1 from Galaxy Quest: Never give up, never surrender! After tweets from two years ago surfaced in which the attorney now representing the Ukraine-Gate whistleblower promised to “get rid of” Donald Trump through a “coup,” Zaid isn’t backing down a bit — although he is explaining, which might violate Trollery Rule #17 or so. Zaid stands behind the sentiment to this day, he told Fox News — as long as it’s understood as a completely legal coup:
Mark Zaid, the attorney for the Ukraine call whistleblower, on Thursday defended a series of tweets from 2017 in which he predicted a “coup” against President Trump and promised to “get rid of him” — saying in a statement the tweets referred to “a completely lawful process.”
Shortly after the publication of a Fox News article Wednesday highlighting the stream of anti-Trump tweets, Trump himself lambasted Zaid during a rally in Louisiana, calling the attorney “disgraceful.”
After tweeting lightheartedly about the controversy Wednesday night, Zaid sent Fox News a formal statement Thursday in which he said the social media posts were written with the belief that Trump would likely be “stepping over the line” at some point during his presidency.
“Those tweets were reflective and repeated the sentiments of millions of people,” Zaid said. “I was referring to a completely lawful process of what President Trump would likely face as a result of stepping over the line, and that particularly whatever would happen would come about as a result of lawyers. The coup comment referred to those working inside the Administration who were already, just a week into office, standing up to him to enforce recognized rules of law.“
Meh. The outrage over this dippy tweet as evidence of a conspiracy is vastly overblown, but as I wrote earlier today, it does go a long way towards credibility on Zaid’s part. Needless to say — and presumably needless to explain to an attorney — there’s a big difference between a coup and an impeachment. Let’s start with the original tweet in question, which came ten days after Trump’s inauguration:
— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) January 31, 2017
Coups and rebellions replace one form of government with another. Impeachment is a constitutional process within our form of government for dealing with criminal behavior by the chief executive. Using the latter illegitimately might be described as a coup, which is what Zaid’s suggestion implies — #resistance by illegitimate means, no matter what Zaid claims now. Any attorney who confuses the two might not be the best resource for legal assistance, although he or she might be outstanding for PR purposes, especially on social media.
Note too the grounds on which Zaid raised the #coup #rebellion flag. Outside of a Google/Bing/Yahoo search, how many even recall the Yates-Botente story? That too was a flash in the pan, so insubstantial in the end that it had no lasting impact at all. The other tweets dug out of Zaid’s timeline are less oriented to actual current events but still totally #resistance-y. It’s the kind of nonsense one would see on any given progressive activist’s Twitter account, and just as meaningful.
Or at least until now, when Zaid is now representing Adam Schiff’s whistleblower. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy sees this as proof of a “coordinated, premeditated plot”:
The lawyer behind the so-called whistleblower has been calling for a “coup” against the President of the United States since January 2017.
We should take him at his word that this is a coordinated, premeditated plot to overturn the election.https://t.co/RejktfqU4s
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) November 7, 2019
Perhaps, but there’s a simpler explanation too. If you were playing footsie with Democrats to craft a whistleblower complaint like this, you’d be smart to find legal counsel. Wouldn’t you choose the most #resistance-y attorney in the whistleblower-protection market? Zaid, Bradley Moss, and Andrew Bakaj are the most well-known in that field, and they all work together at the same firm (Zaid and Moss are founding partners). It may well be a coordinated plot, but possibly not one involving Zaid; if one exists, McCarthy should look more at the House Intel majority staff for those origins.
At any rate, Zaid has tweeted out dumb things on Twitter, and he’s going to stand by them … while kinda-sorta cleaning them up at the same time. Tweet in haste, repent at leisure. That’s Trollery Rule #2, which almost always follows Trollery Rule #1 in the education curve.