At present, the only person who is supposed to know the identity of the intelligence official who blew the whistle on Donald Trump is Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community. We have the Whistleblower Protection Act to thank for that, which safeguards a person from being retaliated against for coming forward with sensitive information, like, for example, that the president seeking election interference by Ukraine, which was then allegedly covered up by the White House. But as he’s gone to great lengths to prove over the last two and half years, Trump has little time for federal laws, which he believes the president has the right to break at his discretion. The most recent real-time example? His reported desire not just to know where the whistle-blower got his information, but to punish those involved like we used to “in the old days.”
“I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistle-blower the information because that’s close to a spy,” Trump told staffers with the United States Mission to the United Nations this morning, according to the New York Times. “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.” To be clear, that’s the president of the United States seemingly suggesting that the government execute the whistle-blower’s sources, which is how we used to “handle” things in the old days. He’s also claiming that the intelligence official who filed the claim against him—whose identity he does not know!—is “crooked,” a charge he upgraded from last week, when he was simply calling the unknown person a political hack.
Elsewhere during the remarks—during which, let‘s just repeat it for posterity, the president alluded to executing people for making him look bad—Trump reportedly again insisted, baselessly, that Joe Biden tried to have a Ukrainian prosecutor removed in order to protect his son. He also condemned the reporting around the whistleblower complaint and apparently called the media “scum” which tracks.
According to the Times, “some in the crowd laughed” as Trump discussed what he would like to do to the whistle-blower’s sources, which we assume preceded the thought bubble, “Holy shit, is this guy serious?”
Courtesy: Bess Levin
Photos By Drew Angerer/Getty Images.