A Gangster in the White House
The president tweeted the name of the presumed whistle-blower in the Ukraine scandal—demonstrating that he is unrepentant and determined to break the law again.
December 28, 2019
Staff writer at The Atlantic
U.S. President Donald Trump listens to a question from the news media as he sits behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis – RC19D2A20E00
Amid a two-day binge of post-Christmas rage-tweeting, President Donald Trump retweeted the name of the CIA employee widely presumed to be the whistle-blower in the Ukraine scandal. On Thursday night, December 26, Trump retweeted his campaign account, which had tweeted a link to a Washington Examiner article that printed the name in the headline. Then, in the early hours of Friday morning, December 27, Trump retweeted a supporter who named the presumed whistle-blower in the text of the tweet.
This is a step the president has been building toward for some time. The name of the presumed whistle-blower has been circulating among Trump supporters for months. Trump surrogates—including the president’s eldest son—have posted the name on social media and discussed it on television. Yet actually crossing the line to post the name on the president’s own account? Until this week, Trump hesitated. That red line has now been crossed.
Lawyers debate whether the naming of the federal whistle-blower is in itself illegal. Federal law forbids inspectors general to disclose the names of whistle-blowers, but the law isn’t explicit about disclosure by anybody else in government.
What the law does forbid is retaliation against a whistle-blower. And a coordinated campaign of vilification by the president’s allies—and the president himself—surely amounts to “retaliation” in any reasonable understanding of the term.
While the presumed whistle-blower reportedly remains employed by the government, he is also reportedly subject to regular death threats, including at least implicit threat by Trump himself. Trump was recorded in September telling U.S. diplomats in New York: “Basically, that person never saw the report, never saw the call, he never saw the call—heard something and decided that he or she, or whoever the hell they saw—they’re almost a spy. I want to know who’s the person, who’s the person who gave the whistle-blower the information? Because that’s close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”
Trump’s tweeting in the past two days was so frenzied and the sources quoted were so bizarre—including at least four accounts devoted to the Pizzagate-adjacent conspiracy theory QAnon, as well as one that describes former President Barack Obama as “Satan’s Muslim scum”—as to renew doubts about the president’s mental stability. But Trump’s long reticence about outright naming the presumed whistle-blower suggests that he remained sufficiently tethered to reality to hear and heed a lawyer’s advice. He disregarded that advice in full awareness that he was disregarding it. The usual excuse for Trump’s online abusiveness—he’s counterpunching—amounts in this case not to a defense but to an indictment: Counterpunching literally means retaliating, and retaliation is what is forbidden by federal law.
The presumed whistle-blower’s personal remedy for the president’s misconduct is a private lawsuit for monetary damages against the federal government. It’s hard to see how such a lawsuit would do anybody any good. The presumed whistle-blower still draws a salary, and may not have suffered any material costs at all. The presumed whistle-blower’s ultimate compensation for this ordeal should be a future place of honor in the service of the country.
In the meantime, though, the country is left once again with the problem of a president who refuses to obey the law. Trump is organizing from the White House a conspiracy to revenge himself on the person who first alerted the country that Trump was extorting Ukraine to help his reelection: more lawbreaking to punish the revelation of past lawbreaking. Impeaching a president whose party holds a majority in the Senate obviously presents many grave practical difficulties. But Trump’s post-Christmas mania confirms House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s prediction that Trump would impeach himself.
Donald Trump will not be bound by any rule, even after he has been caught. He is unrepentant and determined to break the rules again—in part by punishing those who try to enforce them. He is a president with the mind of a gangster, and as long as he is in office, he will head a gangster White House.
Bushwick Bill, performing at Los Angeles State Historic Park on August 5, 2018. The rapper died June 9, 2019 following an earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
We’re here to talk about those who
Are considered to be an elected official
Who said it was official that when they was elected
That everything that they dealt with had me in mind
As a human being, as a man
But not as a slave or three fifths human
I have the right to bear arms
What makes you think I respect you?
[ VERSE 1: 3D ]
Hello Mr. President, residents of the White House, excuse me
I’d like to know, have you ever enjoyed an old-time gangster movie?
With the white man ringin shots on blocks
With their clean shave and pin strip-suits
Undercover David Duke, isn’t it true
The gangster movement started long before my time
Long before the hair rag, gangster sag
Finger signs and love for nines?
Damn, in your minds and in your hearts
Is the hate really that deep, what’s truly goin on?
Knockin me for the words I write
For writin movie scripts by whites like Mr. Al Capone
[ Bushwick Bill ]
A land that made Christopher Columbus
A historian for bringing madmen, white slaves, and rapists
Kennedy, his dad was a bootlegger for Al Capone
Isn’t it evident
That those who sit in the residence
Are not president?
[ VERSE 2: 3D ]
Now why you want to try to knock me
Cause I’m black, got a gat
Twist my hat and all, listen to Mr. Scarface
Think about the way the government wants to hold us back
As a matter of fact
I believe the whole system is a huge crime scene
And everyday they’re doin the dirty work
And layin it on us niggas, if you know what I mean
So don’t corrupt your own minds foolin yourself
Tryin to lay it on the black man
I’m a young gee tryin to leave poverty
With a gat in my black hand
So white heathen, taken straight out of
The crate of a mouth of a babe
Yeah, a honkey can’t stop what a honkey started
And the ghetto’s what you honkeys made
[ Bushwick Bill ]
That’s right, sittin up there in the White House
With your homosexual mentalities and female persuasions
Yeah, I’m talkin to all the J. Edgar Hoovers
That are still left in there
All the big brothers that are watching
I hope you’re listenin
Cause the bad shit you put on criminals has made the citizens take control
[ VERSE 3: 3D ]
Now Sergeant hit ya, get with ya
Let’s get back to the issue, continue dissin
My way of livin, so a little nigga like me
Gots to go and dish ya this mission
Hopin that the message that I’m sendin
Gets through to you and your people
Devil, look at your own dirty past
Before you come to me with your blue-eyed evil
If I kill 30 innocent, would you write
A movie about me and spare
My life, or would you lock me up with triple life
And strap me down in the electric chair?
See, it’s not about the sign I throw up
Or where I roam, or what a nigga wear
See cracker, it’s all about respect for your hood
Your clique, and all of those whose pain with you share
[ Bushwick Bill ]
That’s right, pain
The pain that I feel
Is the pain from shame
The shame that you’ve caused me
For over 400 years of protection
The pain that I have within me
The rage that is flaming
Makes me want to say the things that I say
Do the things that I do
And let you know
That when you look at me
Or look down at me
Or look across from your side of the world to my side
That what you have failed to realize
Is that you’ve put me in projects
I realize it was an experiment
So when you put me in jail
I realize I just made it through the millions
I’m just another rat that made my cheese
And you couldn’t stand it
But what can all the big cats do
When all the rats want to get fat
But try to cut down on the cheese
What you don’t realize is that you’re jerkin yourself
Killin your own existence
You’re all walking dead men, and don’t know it
With book sense and street sense
If you had street intelligence
You would really know
That you’re one footstep between life and death
That the mouth is a open grave
And you’ve offered me the right to elect you to a bullet
Which is a straight shot to the top, right?
And what goes up must come down
That’s why it’s goin down right now
You can smell the smoke
See the flames
And see the bodies that are left on the ground
Because the flag
Red, white and blue
And the stars from all the years you’ve whupped me and mines
I still see
Written by: SHAWN PHILLIPS
Lyrics © PHILIPSONGS
Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind