As we head into yet another week—after one filled with lies from President Trump and his top people—we’ve gotten to a place where nothing they say should be believed on its face. Any disclosure can’t be assumed to be complete, any timeline can’t be trusted, any statement or tweet should not be believed. That’s what we’ve come to. That’s where we are.
It’s becoming exhausting trying to keep up with the latest news that proves previous statements to be incomplete at best and an outright lies at worst. Donald Trump, Jr. tells us all he met with a Russian attorney to talk about adoption. Um, wait, then-top campaign people Kushner and Manafort were there too. Wait, no, here are all the emails. Junior tells sycophant Sean Hannity, “That’s all, folks!” until it’s not.
Here are some responses from Trump’s Fifth-Avenue-Shooting crowd that are absolutely pathetic but nonetheless constantly heard:
• Anyone would have taken the meeting that Donald, Jr. did. That’s patently false. It’s an assertion that both Republicans and Democrats reject.
“The evidence is now shown. This is not hearsay, not fake news, not unsourced leaks. This is an email chain released by Donald Trump Jr. himself. A British go-between writes that there’s a Russian government effort to help Trump Sr. win the election, and as part of that effort he proposes a meeting with a “Russian government attorney” possessing damaging information on Hillary Clinton. Moreover, the Kremlin is willing to share troves of incriminating documents from the Crown Prosecutor…Donald Jr. emails back, ‘ love it.’ Fatal words.
“Once you’ve said “I’m in,” it makes no difference that the meeting was a bust, that the intermediary brought no such goods. What matters is what Donald Jr. thought going into the meeting, as well as Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, who were forwarded the correspondence, invited to the meeting, and attended.” — Charles Krauthammer.
If it was proffered that a hostile foreign power was actively supporting one’s campaign and had dirt to that end, only the most morally bankrupt would take the meeting let alone pull-in the top two campaign people at the time into the meeting.
• Trump only learned of the meeting between Junior, Kushner, Manafort and the Russians promising dirt days before the rest of us did. If this is true, why did the Trump campaign pay $50,000 to a law firm to represent Junior just days after the meeting took place? It wouldn’t become public for weeks. If the campaign paid for the legal representation, can’t we assume the meeting was campaign business?
• Don, Jr. is a political novice and didn’t know what he was doing. Just as we need to drop the line “Trump is not a politician” and therefore we should excuse his actions, statements and dealings,” we need to stop giving a pass on collusion because Junior “didn’t know.” Time to stop that nonsense and demand accountability.
• This is nothing worse than what Democrats did with Ukraine or with a uranium deal that looks like it enriched Bill Clinton. No, it’s nothing like either of those and to cite these “cases” is nothing more than a smokescreen. It reminds me of when I a small boy and my aunt who supported Nixon would say “Nixon isn’t doing anything different than anyone else. He just got caught.”
• We don’t really know who interfered with our election. This is a favorite line of the president’s and it’s false. A successful, educated person who I respect actually said to me, “This [Russian interference] is nothing new. China’s been doing it for a long time.” That’s false. Never has the intelligence community been unanimous in assessing such a thing as this meddling into our democracy. The president and anyone who believes him are just muddying the waters.
• Our intelligence community was similarly wrong about Iraq’s WMD. Wrong again. In the run up to the invasion of Iraq, there was faulty intelligence but it certainly wasn’t unanimous. A number of intelligence agencies warned against the invasion based on WMZD. The Bush administration manipulated the information to fit its narrative and policy goal of invading Iraq. Dissenting intel was marginalized or ignored.
Trump Jr. had to change his story about the Russians meetings multiple times. Kushner has amended his security clearance information three times to include meetings with Russians—the ambassador, a banker and now this attorney—that he suddenly remembered.
You can’t keep ‘em straight without a scorecard so let’s review Trump people who met with Russians of one type or another.
1. Michael Flynn. Flynn lost his job for claiming not to have met with the Russian ambassador. He was fired only when it became clear he was about to the exposed by the media (the non-fake kind, I guess).
2. Jeff Sessions. The attorney general claimed under oath—twice—to never have met with Russians. That turned out to be a lie but Good Ol’ Boy Jefferson merely recused himself from any Russian investigation (and it’s unclear if he even held to that).
3. Jared Kushner. He of the previously mentioned ever-changing disclosure information, Kushner met multiple Russian actors. How does this guy have a security clearance?
4. Paul Manafort. Despite Sean Spicer saying Manafort played a limited role for a limited time, he was the campaign chairman right through the nominating convention. Indications are he made tens of millions from Russian-backed actors in Ukraine.
5. Don, Jr. See above.
6. Carter Page. The Trump foreign policy adviser painfully admitted—sort of—that he met with the Russian ambassador during the convention. Let’s not forget the Republican party platform was changed to be more favorable to the Russians.
7. Roger Stone. The half-a-whack-job Trump operative admits to being in touch with hacker Guccifer 2.0 thought to be responsible for hacking the DNC. Stone is supposed to be testifying to Congress sometime this month.
So, are there those who still say this is a “witch hunt” or a “hoax?”