A startling moment during James Comey’s testimony before a House Committee, as Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy pushes back on Comey’s statements on intent by invoking his time as a “gutter prosecutor” of “dumb defendants.”


Gowdy’s juxtaposition of “gutter prosecutor” with “white-collar prosecutor” is about 13 months pregnant with meaning. It’s a very specific delineation of types of crime (and criminals) along class lines, and no prosecutor can be ignorant about the intersection of class and race.

Our colleague Ginger McKnight-Chavers, a Black Harvard-trained lawyer, bluntly assesses the dog whistle embedded in distinguishing white collar criminals from “dumb defendants” who face a “gutter prosecutor.”

“His unilateral characterization of the type of defendants he prosecuted ‘in the gutter’ (which I hear as code for ‘ghetto,’ which is code for ‘Black People’) as too lacking in mental capacity or humanity to know that killing others is wrong is stunningly racist.”

Yet more humiliation for Republicans intent on destroying whatever integrity they have left.