Vietnam whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, whose leaking of government documents in the 1970s helped to publicly shift public opinion on the Vietnam War and led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling, has declared that President Donald Trump is becoming an "enemy" of the U.S. Constitution.
Ellsberg made the comments to MSNBC anchor Ari Melber on a Tuesday night appearance of The Beat with Ari Melber, as seen on YouTube.
"I congratulate them," Ellsberg said when asked by Melber what he wanted to say to the two whistleblowers who have recently come forward with allegations about the president. "What I would like to speak to is the people, who like me, kept their mouths shut when they knew the president was doing wrong. I learned better once I was in Vietnam and I actually experienced war up close."
Ellsberg urged more people privy to the president's actions to come forward when Melber asked if he believed there were others with information.
"I am absolutely sure. For one thing, the whistleblower reveled there were more than a dozen people on that call. This president is turning out to be a domestic enemy of the Constitution. Every one of them should be a whistleblower right now, and it's not too late."Ellsberg's comments come the same day a White House lawyer told congressional Democrats that the Trump administration would not participate in the official impeachment inquiry that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched late last month. The whistleblower and impeachment inquiry pertain to a July call that President Trump had with the president of Ukraine, in which he reportedly asked for a "favor" and mentioned investigating one of his 2020 rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden.
The president has admitted to as much, though he has insisted the call was "perfect," that it was his "duty" to ask a foreign nation to investigate claims of corruption, and that he did nothing wrong on the phone call. In addition to refusing to participate in the impeachment inquiry, the president has repeatedly called media reports about the whistleblower and the inquiry itself a "witch hunt," similar terminology he used to describe the investigation into Russian interface in the 2016 election.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, support for Trump's impeachment has increased following the Ukraine news. Former Vice President Joe Biden for the first time on Wednesday said he believed the president should be impeached. It marked an important shift for Biden, who previously had only said he supported an investigation.
According to Biography, Ellsberg was essential in shifting public opinion about the war in Vietnam. Ellsberg was a military strategist who leaked secret government documents, known as the "Pentagon Papers," to The New York Times in 1971. Following a growing anger about the U.S. escalation and deception about the war in Vietnam, Ellsberg in 1969 began secretly photocopying the papers. After unsuccessfully attempting to share them with members of Congress, who refused to make them public or hold hearings on the matter, he released the papers to The New York Times.
Notably, when the U.S. government ordered an injunction on The New York Times, preventing the publication of the papers, Ellsberg leaked the documents to other news outlets, including The Washington Post. The incident would lead to the landmark Supreme Court ruling New York Times v. United States, which allowed The New York Times to publish the papers in a landmark ruling for journalism and the First Amendment.
Although Ellsberg had been charged with theft, conspiracy, and violating the Espionage Act, the case against him was eventually dismissed following the Watergate scandal, per Biography.