You wouldn’t know it from the way Donald Trump has waged a campaign to out the whistleblower, but the individual who filed a formal complaint against the president for pressuring Ukraine to smear his political rivals is, in fact, protected by federal law. The Inspector General Act of 1978 states that agency watchdogs “shall not, after receipt of a complaint or information from an employee, disclose the identity of the employee without the consent of the employee, unless the inspector general determines such disclosure is unavoidable.” In addition, the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 dictates that the president must enforce protections against retaliation of the whistleblower which, naturally, Trump has not done at all. In addition to suggesting the government execute the whistleblower’s sources like in the “old days,” he’s repeatedly insisted the whistleblower must come forward, admitted he’s trying to unmask the whistleblower, and creepily tweeted “Where’s the whistleblower?”, when he hasn’t been busy claiming said whistleblower doesn‘t exist. Yet clearly the president’s last functioning brain cell, burnt out and working overtime, has somehow gotten the memo that it would be quite to very bad to actually go ahead and reveal the whistleblower’s identity. That’s a memo that did not get passed down to the president’s namesake, who on Wednesday used his platform to name the alleged individual, like the idiot frat boy perpetually seeking daddy’s approval he is and always will be.
Tweeting a link to a story on Breitbart that named the person believed to have filed the complaint against the president, first son Donald Trump Jr. also included the name in his tweet just in case his followers wanted to save themselves a click. Then he flew off the handle in the face of criticism for [checks notes] putting an individual’s life in grave danger. “The outrage on this is BS,” Junior told reporter Yashir Ali, adding that true Don Jr. Trumpologists should know better than to suggest he tweeted the whistleblower’s alleged name at the behest of the administration. “Those pretending that I would coordinate with The White House to send out a Breitbart link haven’t been watching my feed for a long time,” he added in a text message. (The White House told Ali that neither the president nor any senior administration officials were aware Jr. was going to tweet the alleged name in advance. They did not add if the president subsequently gave his son a cookie for doing so, or if he promised the two would have a catch in the backyard real soon.)
In a statement, the whistleblower’s attorneys, Andrew Bakaj and Mark Zaid said “Identifying any name for the whistleblower will simply place that individual and their family at risk of serious harm. We will not confirm or deny any name that is published but we will note publication does nothing other than show the desperation of a partisan crowd to deflect from the substance of the whistleblower complaint. It most certainly will not relieve the President of the need to address the substantive allegations, all of which have been substantially proven to be true.”
To give you an idea of how worrisome the notion of the whistleblower’s name getting out is, even the hosts at state-run TV Fox News have been instructed not to identify the individual in question. Others, like the president’s son and his top lackeys, naturally disagree, which may or may not have something to do with the fact that they’ve run out of arguments for why Trump didn’t commit an impeachable offense and must now focus on attacking the person who initially sounded the alarm. On Tuesday, Senator Rand Paul, who appears to be gunning for Lindsey Graham’s position as Top Presidential Footstool, casually told reporters he’ll “probably” out the whistleblower, like he was musing that he’d probably pick up Thai for dinner. I’m more than willing to, and I probably will at some point,” Rand said. “There’s nothing that prevents me from saying it now.”
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Bill Gates wants Elizabeth Warren to open her mind to the possibility that billionaires rock
The Microsoft founder isn’t sure the Senator has it in her:
Gates said Wednesday he didn’t think Elizabeth Warren, a leading Democratic presidential hopeful, would want to meet with someone as rich as him, a comment that came as the billionaire criticized her policy to break up big tech companies. Speaking at the New York Times DealBook conference, Gates said breaking up companies wasn’t the way to address the issue of tech giants advantaging or disadvantaging their own products over others, as Amazon has been accused of doing.
The comments come as Warren makes “big, structural changes” to break up tech giants like Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook a central element of her presidential platform. She argues that large tech companies use mergers to kill competitors and hurt smaller businesses’ chances of success. Weak antitrust enforcement has reduced competition and innovation in the tech sector, she wrote in a March blog post…When asked who he would vote for in a potential 2020 US presidential race between Warren and President Donald Trump, Gates said, “whoever I decide would have the more professional approach” to the office, irrespective of policies. “I hope the more professional candidate is an electable candidate.”
Asked if the U.S. should “abolish” billionaires, Gates defended his brethren, saying “Maybe I’m just too biased to think that if you create a company that’s super valuable, that at least some part of that you should be able to have— a little bit for consumption, and the balance to do philanthropic things.” He added that while he’s happy to pay a little more in taxes, he doesn’t like the idea of paying “$100 billion in taxes.” (It’s not clear where Gates got this number from, as Jeff Bezos, who’s worth several billion more than him, would pay $6 billion in taxes a year under Warren’s plan).
Another Trump official confirms Ukraine aid was contingent on investigation of Trump’s deranged conspiracy theories
It’s almost as though the president was completely unambiguous in his attempt to extort Ukraine! Per the Washington Post:
House investigators released a transcript Wednesday of the closed-door testimony of William B. Taylor Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine, who told lawmakers that it was his “clear understanding” that U.S. military aid would not be sent until that country pursued investigations that could politically benefit President Trump.
In a signal of how Taylor might approach his public testimony scheduled for next week, he carefully answered a series of leading questions from Democrats during his closed-door deposition — suggesting he will be reluctant to participate in partisan theatrics…Rep. Eric Swalwell… tried to get Taylor to agree that Ukrainian aid had been made subject to a quid pro quo: “You’re familiar with the phrase, ‘If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck, you can say it’s not a duck, but it’s a duck?’” Said Taylor, “Congressman, I can just tell you the facts. You’ve stated them.”
On Tuesday, U.S. ambassador to the E.U. and major Trump donor Gordon Sondland submitted revised testimony in which he said that he now recalls delivering a message of quid pro quo to a Ukraine official, after having “refreshed” his “recollection.”
Alabama gives students the green light to boo the s–t out of Trump
After some earlier confusion as to whether there would be punishments for those looking to serve the president with the humiliation he so thoroughly deserves, the University has made it clear that such actions are more than acceptable:
Alabama will not punish students who boo President Donald Trump at Saturday’s game against LSU at Bryant-Denny Stadium. In a statement Wednesday afternoon, the university’s Student Government Association said an earlier message that threatened to revoke seating at future games for “organizations that engage in disruptive behavior” had been taken out of context. “The SGA strongly affirms its belief in free speech and the rights of all students to express their opinions,” the statement said. “Today’s report erroneously assigned a political context to a message meant only to remind students about heightened security and the consequences of altercations or other behaviors unbecoming of a University of Alabama student.”
While that was taken to mean protests directed at Trump, it referred to fights or arguments between student groups, an official with the SGA told USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly.
Trump is expected to attend the game, marking the third weekend in a row that he’s ventured out of his hermetically sealed bubble to attend a sporting event. He was booed last weekend at a UFC fight in New York, and, the weekend prior, the booing at Game 5 of the World Series got so bad that it caused his exquisitely fragile ego to exit the ballpark 90 minutes early.
Market teeters on Trump, Xi meeting location, hoping a logistics snag is not sign of bigger issue (CNBC)
Former Twitter employees charged with spying for Saudi Arabia by digging into the accounts of kingdom critics (Washington Post)
‘Talk to Rudy’: Testimony from diplomats highlights Giuliani’s central role in driving Ukraine policy (Washington Post)
SoftBank’s Son Defiant as WeWork Triggers $6.5 Billion Loss (Bloomberg)
Alphabet’s board of directors is investigating executives over inappropriate relationships (CNBC)
“We’re not in the truth to power business, we’re in the entertainment business.” (Dylan Byers)
How Giving Trump the Finger Helped One Woman Win Elected Office (Intelligencer)
A Wisconsin man is facing a disorderly conduct charge after allegedly threatening Pizza Hut workers because there was “not enough cheese on his extra cheese pizza” (TSG)
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