Ret. Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a former FOX News military analyst, joined Anderson Cooper on Tuesday's edition of Anderson Cooper 360 and accused President Trump of treason and said he treats the press like Stalin and Goebbels would have. Transcript, via CNN:
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: So, Colonel Peters, this change from the President from the months and months just repeating, you know, adding an item, that there was no collusion, to just by any question ask about Russia, to now saying in addition to that collusion is not a crime. The fact that Giuliani is saying that as well. Does it seem that there is a strategy behind that shift?
LT. COL. RALPH PETERS, U.S. ARMY: A strategy of desperation, if a strategy at all. Collusion outright may not be a crime in and of itself, but, Anderson, treason is a crime. Collaborating and conspiring with a hostile foreign power against the United States is a crime. Receiving material support, clandestine material support from a hostile foreign power is a crime. And we get to the people around Trump. Money laundering is a crime. Tax fraud is a crime. Lying under oath is a crime.
So there's plenty of crime to go around. But what Trump and Giuliani and all their paladins have been doing is doing their best to blind the American people, to overwhelm us with various forms of diversion and obscure data, to cloud the issue, to muddy the waters. Pick your cliche. But for me, as someone who genuinely cares about this country and who doesn't give a damn about either political party, for me there is one core question facing our country today, one paramount question, and that is has the President of the United States committed treason against the United States, specifically, in service in thrall of some sort to Vladimir Putin?
I hope I'm wrong. I hope it didn't happen. We'll see what Robert Mueller brings to the fore. But we must focus on that question and not be diverted by clownish antics, because Trump is a brilliant entertainer. In a peculiar way, he may be history's greatest entertainer. He commands global headlines every single day, and we make a mistake of thinking about him as a politician or a leader when he is an entertainer. And by allowing ourselves to be constantly entertained, we lose sight of fundamental ethics, values and security of this nation.
COOPER: I mean you talk about him as a propagandist and a very effective propagandist.
COOPER: Not only the simple catch phrases, but, you know, repeated time and time and time again. So that they just become normalized. It's also part of -- it's not just about repeating phrases, it's also used as a diversion.
COOPER: To take you off focusing, take the American people, on the media, or whomever, off their eye of what's really happening, what really matters?
PETERS: Yes. And Anderson, consider what a brilliant move it is to attack the press as the enemy of the people. Instead of having the spotlight on Trump and his alleged misdeeds, on his daily misdeeds against this country, it turns against the press, the leading press as generals would have said or the enemy of the people. Now, you know, enemy of the people is a loaded term. It does go back to Roman times. But in the modern era, the first person I can find who really used it was Robespierre in the French revolution, master of the guerilla team.
But for me as a former Soviet analysis, and a student of Russian affairs, it's the enemy of item t people in Russia, (INAUDIBLE), under Stalin during the purges. If you were called an enemy of the people, it was a death sentence. And given all of Trump's other ties, to Russia and things Russian and people associated with Russia, it hardly seemed a coincidence that he calls our press the enemy of the people. And Anderson, our press is not above criticism.
PETERS: It's made of human beings. Human beings are flawed. I have -- when I thought the press deserved it, I have criticized the press fiercely, but I hope constructively, because without a free press as our founding fathers recognized, democracy cannot function.