In case you were blessedly off twitter this weekend, you missed this display of presidential insanity from Mar-a-lago:
Sheer lunacy. But it wasn't all just a display of Trump's id running wild. There was also this stuff:
He also tweeted out the alleged name of the whistleblower, which also contained a litany of lies. They've removed the tweet now. I have a screenshot but I won't share it. It was up for hours.
David Frum at the Atlantic wrote about this today:
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 elder 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 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.
He ends the piece making the case that Trump is a gangster president who heads a gangster White House. It's true. Frum doesn't mention that he does all his gangster activity right out in the open, but he does. He's used his twitter feed to threaten his domestic enemies, dangle pardons and intimidate witnesses. And far too many people have accepted the idea that if he isn't trying to hide it he can't be doing something wrong.
That's not true. Gangsters know that you have to demonstrate your power publicly or no one will believe you will use it. Sure, sometimes they just quietly wack a rival and throw him in the garbage dump. But often they hit them in the streets and make sure that everyone knows they were the ones who did it.
Outing the whistleblower is witness intimidation, plain and simple. The Intelligence Community and federal law enforcement have seen what he and his henchmen did to Peter Strzok. They've now seen him out the whistleblower. He fired Comey, Yovanovich and McCabe. Whether high level appointees or low level employees, everyone in government is aware that if they cross him he will try to publicly destroy them --- or worse.
That's what gangsters do.
Published with permission of Digby's Hullabaloo