Former GOP White House ethics chief: Trump 'borders on fascist'


Richard Painter says Trump and Pence should be 'removed from office.'

Trump's latest abuse of power has so alarmed a former Republican White House ethics chief that he says Trump should be removed from office.

In an interview with CBS News, former Bush ethics lawyer and current candidate for U.S. Senate Richard Painter explained that Trump is a big reason why he's running as a Democrat.

"Donald Trump and his abuse of power in office, his violation of the Constitution, his rhetoric, which really borders on fascism." Painter said. "His rhetoric about the press, and his attacks on Muslims and immigrants. And this is unprecedented even in the most conservative circles of the Republican Party.

"And yet the Republican Party insists that anyone running for national office the United States House or Senate be loyal to Donald Trump, and I won't be loyal to Donald Trump," he said. "I believe that he and Mike Pence really are to be removed from office."

Painter later added that there is now "far more evidence of abuse of power and obstruction of justice than we had in 1973... with respect to Watergate and Richard Nixon."

"We're well beyond that point, yet the House and Senate won't do anything at all," Painter said.

Most recently, Trump has ordered the Justice Department to conduct a politically motivated investigation, and to turn over evidence in an ongoing investigation of Trump and his campaign.

But Trump's impeachable abuses go all the way back to his first day in office, and have earned him rebukes from a raft of ethics experts.

Then-Office of Government Ethics head Walter Shaub slammed Trump over financial conflicts of interest even before Trump's inauguration, and eventually resigned over them. Shaub has remained a vocal watchdog on Trump's ethical dumpster fires.

Norm Eisen, chief ethics lawyer during the Obama administration, also warned of Trump's conflicts of interest early on, and has continued to slam Trump for "inviting bribes" and other corrupt practices.

But former Republican Painter has been among the strongest at holding Trump accountable, consistently calling for his removal. And unlike many in the media and elsewhere, Painter is also keeping his eye on Mike Pence, who is neck deep in all of Trump's problems.