President Barabbas

The mob chose a mobster. Elections have consequences.

“Easter is a very special day for me ... Easter Sunday, and you'll have packed churches all over our country.” —Donald John Trump, 24 March 2020

I WAS RAISED Catholic, which meant that every Sunday, come hell or high water, we went to church. The Catholic Mass is extremely rote. There’s a lot of call-and-response, a lot of standing up and sitting down, a lot of the same material, repeated over and over and over again. The Apostles’ Creed, for example, has been recited at Mass, in much the same way, since it was codified at the Council of Nicaea during the reign of Constantine the Great, a mere 17 centuries ago.

The best day of the liturgical year, in my recollection, was Palm Sunday. The priest always shared the same story: Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect, appeared before his subjects in Jerusalem on the occasion of Passover, and agreed to free a single Jewish prisoner. The mob had to choose: should Pilate free Jesus, the alleged “King of the Jews,” or Barabbas, a notorious criminal? Whereupon we, role-playing in the pews, would cry, WE WANT BARABBAS! My brother and I shouted with gusto, to my mother’s extreme annoyance: WE WANT BARABBAS! And so the killer was set free, and Christ condemned to die.

I didn’t know at the time that this passage, perpetuating as it does the “Jews killed Jesus” myth, was used for centuries by anti-Semites to justify their despicable deeds. I never interpreted it that way. To me, the story is about how mobs, led as they are by riled-up morons, can easily be fooled and manipulated into voting against their best interests.

The 2016 election is a recent example of how the angry masses, presented with a clear choice of good guy versus bad guy, chose unwisely. It’s not fair to either party to compare Hillary Clinton with Jesus Christ, and Pontius Pilate did not use the Electoral College system in determining whom to pardon, but notorious criminal Donald John Trump is absolutely President Barabbas. The mob went with the mobster.

Three years into the Trump Administration, and a shocking number of the president’s associates are either in prison, about to head to prison, under indictment, or under investigation. There is Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chair, currently incarcerated. There is Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal attorney, fixer, and bagman: ditto. There is the treacherous Michael Flynn, awaiting his sentence (or, perhaps, his pardon). There is Trump’s longtime buddy and shadow campaign advisor Roger Stone, soon to toddle off to the hoosegow. There’s also those who have not yet been indicted because of the nefarious machinations of the corrupt Attorney General, William Barr: Rudy Giuliani, Jared Kushner, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence, Mick Mulvaney, Erik Prince, and Trump’s lousy kids Ivanka, Eric, and Don Junior.

What is remarkable here, aside from the obvious fact that Trump cavorts with an uncanny number of crooks, is that none of these people has flipped. Manafort pretended to, only to ratfuck the FBI. Flynn, too, lied to investigators. Only Cohen gave up some dirt—but how much did he really surrender? The thing is, the rest of these people aren’t nearly as hard. Trump wants to pardon Roger Stone because he knows him well enough to know that he will sing to stay out of the Big House. Jared Kushner, aka Boy Plunder, has done so many illicit things that he will keep FBI agents busy for years; is Mr. Ivanka really not going to flip to avoid prison? And I can’t imagine Don Junior exhibiting the same trollish swagger around Cellblock D.

Trump’s partners in crime are all selfish assholes. They have no real loyalty. Giuliani, for example, loathes Trump with every fiber of his noxious being. He’s only protecting him out of his own self-interest. At some point, to preserve themselves, these fuckers will all turn on each other, and it will be the end of Reservoir Dogs all up in here: a bunch of petty crooks threatening to take each other down.

So why haven’t they?

A big queen sits in the middle of the stalemated chessboard, preventing all movement. The queen’s name is William Barr. He is the titular Attorney General of the United States, but his actual function is to slow-roll the Department of Justice from its takedown of Trump and his co-conspirators. To that end, he holds up witnesses. He stymies evidence from being sent to prosecutors. He cock-blocks US Attorneys, sure as he cock-blocked Mueller. He kicks the can and kicks it again and again and again, hoping to run out the clock. Barr has been so successful that the GOP is not even remotely worried about the bad stuff coming out. He’s gummed up the works so badly that we couldn’t even get witnesses at the fucking impeachment trial.

With a big, fat cork in the bottle of evidence, Trump and his fellow criminals do not have to fear retribution from law enforcement for as long as he stays in office. The only danger now is if they turn on each other. If they respect omertà, they are golden. Thus it is in all of their interests—Trump’s, but also Pence’s, McConnell’s, Pompeo’s, Kushner’s, and so on—to stay the course. These people will do anything, including exacerbate a global health crisis, to not get caught. They don’t care if we die. Repeat: they don’t care if we die. As Mr. White says in Reservoir Dogs: “The choice between doing ten years and taking out some stupid motherfucker, ain’t no choice at all.”

What are they hiding?

In Trump’s case, generations of criminal involvement with the mob—first La Cosa Nostra, later the Russian mafiya. His grandfather was a minor pimp at the dawn of the organized crime era, but Donald’s father, Fred Trump, was, as Lincoln’s Bible tells us, “a businessman front for the Genovese crime family.” She continues:

To best understand Fred, just track his rise from single-family home construction to big residential developments. From Shore Haven (1947) to Beach Haven to Trump Village, all were done with known mafia partners, in Genovese-controlled territory, and eventually with a fully Genovese-owned construction company (HRH Construction). 

When the Russian mafiya began rolling in, they landed in Fred’s properties and partnered with the Genovese on some big ticket scams. This was also during the time that Fred and his attorney Roy Cohn set up S&A concrete (via Nick Auletta)—a joint venture between Tony Salerno (Genovese boss) and Paul Castellano (Gambino boss), so that donald could build in Manhattan. Remember donald’s quote, “Even my father, he said, you don’t want to go to Manhattan. That’s not our territory?” That’s because Manhattan, for construction, was Gambino territory. They controlled the concrete and unions. And Fred was a very loyal, shrewd front for the Genovese. To get his idiot, greedy kid into Manhattan, Fred and Roy Cohn had to get those two mob bosses to agree on a joint venture. 

When the Russian mafiya pushed out the Italian mob after the fall of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump began laundering money for unseemly Vor associates of Semion Mogilevich. The Russians extended him credit when no US bank would touch him, and he remains in their debt—a fact the Mazars and Deutsche Bank documents will reveal, which is why Trump has moved heaven and earth to keep said documents secret.

Because the Russian mafiya works hand in glove with the Russian government, Trump is also, as Hillary Clinton correctly told us four years ago, Putin’s puppet. His ties to Russian intelligence (Putin, remember, is ex-KGB) go back decades. Recruitment of Trump by the KGB began in the Reagan Administration; for all we know, his succession of ex-Soviet-bloc wives better reflect his allegiance to the Soviets than his taste in women. He is also connected to the Russian organized crime via his friend Jeffrey Epstein, a collector of kompromat and money launderer for arms dealers; Epstein’s longtime partner was Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of Robert Maxwell, the spy and former business partner of, yes, Semion Mogilevich.

Trump’s underworld ties were all there in 2016, barely below the surface, for all the world to see. Wayne Barrett wrote about them for the Village Voice. Robert Friedman alluded to them in Red Mafiya. Craig Unger covers them closely in House of Trump, House of Putin. The mainstream media knew damned well what the guy really was, but chose to equate Trump’s years of actual mobbed-up crimes with HRC’s email server. The result? Every half-wit Fox News watcher proclaims, with a straight face, that Hillary, not Donald, is the crook!

Truth: Trump is a notorious criminal, a serial rapist and sexual assailant, wholly owned by the mob, controlled by the underworld and the Kremlin. He is a latter-day Barabbas—and because of the whims of a riled-up mob, he’s now, somehow, the President of the United States. Make no mistake: If he thinks it will help him avoid prosecution, he will order the churches open for Easter without qualm or hesitation. In his calculus, Jesus gave up His life for us, so we should give up our lives for Trump. He will happily pervert the holiest of Christian holy days to get what he wants. To this monster, nothing is sacred.