Saturday, December 01, 2018

Trump Lies. All His Associates Lie. The Whole Regime Lies. The Republican Party Is Now A Lie Machine


You know what’s become second nature to Americans now-- Trump’s lying. It’s no longer news when he lies. Just 16% of his public statement, according to PolitiFact, are either true or mostly true. He just lies all the time. And we didn’t need Robert Mueller’s Putin-Gate investigation--nor even the NY Times to tell us that. Today, though, The Times reported, in a new analysis by Sharon LaFraniere, that “If the special counsel, Robert Mueller, has proved anything in his 18-month-long investigation-- besides how intensely Russia meddled in an American presidential election-- it is that Mr. Trump surrounded himself throughout 2016 and early 2017 with people to whom lying seemed to be second nature.” She points to Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Rick Gate, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos as examples of Trumpian officials for whom lying seems second nature. “They lied,” she wrote, “to federal authorities even when they had lawyers advising them, even when the risk of getting caught was high and even when the consequences for them were dire. Even more Trump associates are under investigation for the same offense. They are part of a group of people surrounding Mr. Trump-- including some White House and cabinet officials-- who contribute to a culture of bending, if not outright breaking, the truth, and whose leading exemplar is Mr. Trump himself.”

Trump looks for people who share his disregard for the truth and are willing to parrot him, “even if it’s a lie, even if they know it’s a lie, and even if he said the opposite the day before,” said Gwenda Blair, a Trump biographer. They must be “loyal to what he is saying right now,” she said, or he sees them as “a traitor.”

Campaign aides often echoed Mr. Trump’s pronouncements knowing they were false. People joined the top levels of his administration with the realization that they would be expected to embrace what Mr. Trump said, no matter how far from the truth or how much their reputations suffered.

For Sean Spicer, the first White House press secretary, that included falsely insisting, on Mr. Trump’s first day in office, that his inaugural crowd was the biggest in history. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who replaced him, dialed back once-daily press briefings to once every few weeks as her credibility was increasingly battered.

For decades, such behavior was relatively free of consequence for those who aligned with Mr. Trump. The stakes in the real estate world were lower, and deceptive statements could be dismissed as hardball business tactics or just efforts to cultivate the Trump mystique.

But in Mr. Mueller, those in Mr. Trump’s orbit now confront a big-league adversary with little tolerance for what one top White House adviser once called “alternative facts.” He heads a team of prosecutors and F.B.I. agents who are methodically and purposefully examining their words and deeds.

Mr. Trump’s own lawyers, wary of how frequently their client engages in falsehoods, are trying to hold the special counsel at bay. Jay Sekulow, one of the president’s lawyers, has already been forced to pull back his own public remarks about an issue of concern to Mr. Mueller.

In a confidential memo to the special counsel, Mr. Trump’s legal team admitted that the president, not his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., drafted a misleading statement about a Trump Tower meeting between a Kremlin-tied lawyer and campaign officials in 2016. That statement could figure in the special counsel’s scrutiny of whether the president obstructed justice.

Fearful of more deceptions, the president’s legal team has insisted that Mr. Trump answer questions only in writing. They delivered replies to some of the special counsel’s queries on Nov. 20 after months of negotiation. If unsatisfied, Mr. Mueller could try to subpoena the president to testify.

…The reasons for the lies vary, but, not surprisingly, people were most often trying to protect themselves. Mr. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s longtime fixer, said in federal court this past week that he had misled Congress about the details of a Trump hotel project in Moscow because he did not want to contradict the president’s own false characterizations of his business dealings in Moscow. He specifically cited his loyalty to Mr. Trump, referred to as “Individual 1” in court papers, as the reason for his crime.

“I made these misstatements to be consistent with Individual 1’s political messaging and out of loyalty to Individual 1,” Mr. Cohen told a judge.

But Mr. Cohen was also on Mr. Trump’s payroll for years, so in protecting his interests, Mr. Cohen was also trying to protect his own. Mr. Papadopoulos, the former campaign aide, said he had lied to F.B.I. agents about his interactions with Russian government intermediaries because he hoped to secure a job in the new Trump administration.

Mr. Manafort is accused of lying on top of lying. As part of a September plea deal, he acknowledged that he had lied to the Justice Department about his business dealings and that he had also tried to persuade witnesses to lie to investigators on his behalf. On Monday, prosecutors alleged that he continued to lie after he had agreed to cooperate with them, breaching his plea deal. His lawyers insist he told the truth.

Mr. Trump has been Mr. Mueller’s most vociferous critic, accusing his team of manufacturing lies by threatening witnesses with severe consequences if they refuse to agree with the special counsel’s narrative.

What prosecutors have called lies, Mr. Trump has insisted is truth. What they called truth, he has framed as lies.

Where all this is headed is unclear, but it appears that more allegations of lying are ahead. The Senate Intelligence Committee, which has also been investigating Russia’s interference in the election, has referred other cases to the special counsel’s office involving witnesses who may have lied.

Prosecutors are investigating whether two or more people, including a longtime friend of Mr. Trump’s, Roger J. Stone Jr., lied about WikiLeaks, the rogue organization that distributed Democratic emails and other documents stolen by Russian intelligence as part of Moscow’s campaign to influence the 2016 election. Mr. Mueller’s team has been trying to determine whether anyone with the Trump campaign conspired with WikiLeaks or the Russian government to bolster Mr. Trump’s chances of winning the White House.

Jerome Corsi, a conservative author, has cast doubt on whether Mr. Stone testified truthfully to Congress about what inspired a Twitter message he posted in the summer of 2016, predicting it would soon be “Podesta’s time in the barrel.”

Mr. Corsi said he had helped Mr. Stone concoct a “cover story” for the message so that it would not appear Mr. Stone had advance knowledge that WikiLeaks planned to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign by releasing emails stolen from the computer of her campaign chairman, John D. Podesta. He said Mr. Stone then incorporated those falsehoods into his congressional testimony-- an allegation that Mr. Stone vehemently denies.

But in a turnabout, Mr. Corsi said prosecutors had now accused him of lying to them about other communications he had with Mr. Stone regarding WikiLeaks. He claims his only crime is a faulty memory.

What LaFranciere doesn’t discuss is how Trump and his regime’s dependence on the lying they do-- with second nature alacrity-- has poisoned American politics, particularly Republican politics. Lying is now expected, not necessarily believed, but expected. No-one believes anyone. Can a healthy democracy even exist in this kind of toxic context? Or is all this lying simply an extension of the very nature of conservative politics?

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At 5:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The largest group of liars in this nation are the American People, for refusing to see that their system of governance is broken and corrupted by great wealth.
they don't want to see because they don't want to admit that our very ability to survive is lost to the power of greed. They might have to get off their sorry asses and do something about that, and they might miss Dancing With The Stars and be unable to keep up with the Kardashians!

At 6:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

amen 5:14.

the republican party has been a lie machine for 5 decades. half a century.
the democraps have been a lie machine for only about 36 years. they're trying to catch up.

and the American people don't care, refuse to see and/or are just too fucking stupid.

and the artist clearly doesn't know what a toadstool looks like.

At 9:41 PM, Blogger opit said...

" WikiLeaks, the rogue organization that distributed Democratic emails and other documents stolen by Russian intelligence" It seems it is not just Trumpsters who deal in 'alternative facts.' Julian Assange ( still taking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy from b.s. legal proceedings designed to get him in the clutches of a US "Just Us" false legal system that runs Gitmo and tortures with impunity ) specifically stated that 'no state actors' were involved in the delivery of the Clinton emails. He would know. Further, Craig Murray, onetime UK ambassador, clearly stated that he hand delivered the materials to Assange. Russian agents ? Nowhere to be seen.


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