AP Fact Checks Trump About Whistleblower's Lawyer
WHITE HOUSE: "Before there was a whistleblower, there was the whistleblower's attorney_tweeting about overthrowing the government because he didn't like the election results." — tweet Thursday.
TRUMP: "Coup has started, whistleblower's attorney said in 2017. Do you know when that was? That was a long time ago. It's all a hoax. They say January 2017 a coup has started, and the impeachment will follow ultimately. It's all — it's all a hoax." — Louisiana rally on Wednesday.
THE FACTS: Trump and his team can't be faulted for believing that Mark Zaid, one of the whistleblower's attorneys, has it out for the president.
That does not mean Zaid can be dismissed as a Democratic partisan.
The longtime Washington lawyer has represented people in both parties, causes dear to each side and a line of whistleblowers.
That tweet was in response to news that Trump had fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she refused to enforce a ban on travel for people living in several predominantly Muslim countries.
Some of Zaid's legal work over the years has involved issues close to Trump, such as his challenge of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.
Zaid represented a veterans' group in a lawsuit against the State Department that sought records of Clinton's response to the Benghazi, Libya, attacks as secretary of state. The suit targeted Clinton's reliance on the private server for government communication, saying "it may have been a deliberate attempt to shield communications from capture by governmental systems and the public's eye."
He also represented CIA contractors who were in Benghazi on the night of the attacks.
Zaid served as an attorney for the late Republican Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina and The Daily Caller, a conservative publication, in public records suits against the federal government.
Zaid now says his reference to a "coup" referred to those working in the Trump administration who were standing up to the president to help enforce the rule of law.