Oops! He did it gain!
Slate reports that Twitter-troll-in-chief Donald Trump Retweets Name of Alleged Ukraine Whistleblower:
President Donald Trump shared the name of the alleged whistleblower who filed a complaint against him that ultimately led to his impeachment by the House of Representatives with his 68 million Twitter followers. It all took place late Friday night when just before midnight Trump retweeted a post from @Surfermom77 that outright named the alleged whistleblower and claimed he had committed perjury.
The account that Trump retweeted supposedly belonged to a woman named Sophia from California who used to describe herself as a “100% Trump supporter.” There are several hints the account was automated though, including the heavy use of stock photographs. [So a Russian bot?] On Sunday, the account had disappeared.
Although Trump retweeted the post Friday night, by Saturday morning it was no longer visible in his Twitter feed, leading many to speculate that the president had removed it. But then it was revealed that a glitch on Twitter essentially hid that retweet along with others. Millions of accounts—and not just Trump’s—were affected by this glitch.
The retweet with the alleged identity of the whistleblower came a day after the president retweeted a post from an account associated with his reelection campaign that contained a link to a Washington Times article that identified the alleged whistleblower in the headline. (See earlier post Twitter-troll-in-chief ‘outs’ the alleged Ukraine whistleblower.)
Trump has written lots of tweets about the whistleblower, “But this week marked the first time that he published anything on his Twitter timeline that directly named the alleged person.”
The Washington Post reported this week:
The CIA analyst who triggered the impeachment inquiry continues to work on issues relating to Russia and Ukraine, but when threats against him spike — often seemingly spurred by presidential tweets — he is driven to and from work by armed security officers.
As David Frum writes at The Atlantic, we have A Gangster in the White House (excerpt):
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.
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.
Salon interviewed Harvard Constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe, who told Salon on Sunday that President Donald Trump “has violated yet another law” by tweeting the name of a man believed by some to be the whistleblower who drew attention to the Ukraine scandal. Constitution expert: By trying to out Ukraine whistleblower, Trump “has violated yet another law”:
“If by ‘legal ramifications’ you mean to ask me whether Donald Trump has violated yet another law, my answer is yes,” Tribe told Salon by email when asked whether there could be legal ramifications to the president’s tweeting. “The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 (ICWPA) outlaws actions by government officials or agencies that directly or indirectly encourage retaliatory actions against employees who legitimately perform a whistleblower role in the intelligence community, as the whistleblower in this case clearly did regarding a matter of urgent concern, as determined by the Inspector General.” Tribe added that Trump “violated the letter and spirit of the ICWPA” by sharing a name that he held to be that of the whistleblower with over 60 million people on Twitter “for vengeful reasons.”
Tribe also told Salon that he was skeptical about whether the president would face any adverse consequences for his actions, “not because he seems to have deleted the offending retweet rather than leaving it up indefinitely but because he has installed a puppet as Attorney General and has formed what amounts to a cabal with the Senate Majority Leader and the Majority Leader’s GOP caucus.”
Salon adds these important details in this report, President Trump shares article outing alleged Ukraine whistleblower on Twitter:
The whistleblower’s attorneys previously warned Trump of “legal action” in a “cease and desist” letter to the White House, asserting that the president and his allies put the whistleblower and his family in “physical danger.”
Numerous Trump allies have shared the name of the alleged whistleblower, who was identified in conservative outlets as a 33-year-old CIA analyst who worked on the National Security Council under former President Barack Obama. Those reports were shared with millions of followers by Donald Trump Jr. and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
Republicans repeatedly tried to get the name of the whistleblower on the record during closed-door depositions and public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, blurted out the name of the alleged whistleblower at a televised House Judiciary hearing — as well as a completely unrelated hearing on Puerto Rico.
Republicans have alleged that the purported whistleblower’s ties to the Obama administration suggest that his complaint, which triggered the impeachment probe, was motivated by bias. But the complaint was found credible by numerous top Trump appointees, who forwarded the complaint to the Department of Justice, which declined to follow up.
The complaint has since been corroborated by numerous Trump administration officials who testified to Congress. Trump has repeatedly claimed that the whistleblower was “partisan” and got his “perfect call” with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “almost completely wrong.” Politifact rated this their “lie of the year“.
Politifact explains: “The Lie of the Year — the only time PolitiFact uses the word “lie” — speaks to a falsehood that proves to be of real consequence and gets repeated in a virtual campaign to undermine an accurate narrative.”
“Despite what Trump claims, the whistleblower got the call ‘almost completely’ right,” the outlet reported. “We know this from the very record of the call the president released. We know this from testimony under oath from career diplomats and other officials. And the president and his allies have told reporters that Trump did what the whistleblower suggested — urged the Ukrainian president to investigate political rival Joe Biden.”
Outing the whistleblower could have serious legal ramifications, as well, which is why legal experts say most Republicans aside from Rep. Louie Gohmert have avoided publicly outing the CIA officer.
“The most vocal Trump defenders in Congress have fallen into lockstep, excoriating Democrats for maintaining the whistleblower’s anonymity while in almost every case carefully avoiding disclosure themselves,” prominent whistleblower attorneys Eric Havian and Michael Roenickher wrote in a USA Today op-ed. “The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act makes it unlawful to take any ‘action constituting reprisal’ against whistleblowers who follow the proper procedures to report national security concerns, as the whistleblower did here. The law is clear that ‘outing’ a whistleblower can indeed constitute retaliation and reprisal.”
So once again, Donald Trump is engaged in a crime in progress. And this crime potentially may result in physical danger to the Ukraine whistleblower or his family. We have “a gangster in the White House.”
Add this latest continuing violation of the law to the Articles of Impeachment.