Sunday, June 03, 2018

Lie Of The Day (June 2, 2018)

President Trump may ask questions, even rhetorical ones, and even misleading ones without being accused of lying. And so he may ask, as he did on June 2, "Is the Special Counsel/Justice Department leaking my lawyers letters to the Fake News Media? Should be looking at Dems corruption instead?"

In the vast majority of cases, the leaks pertaining to the Special Counsel's investigation are coming from his side. The "fake news media" doesn't exist, unless Trump is referring to the National Enquirer, Breitbart, and much of the rest of the right-wing media, which he is not.   

The President is entitled also to refer to "this very expensive Witch Hunt Hoax." However, it has cost (as Trump noted) approximately $17 million compared to Ken Starr's late 1980s probe, which started as an investigation into an Arkansas land deal but went far afield,  That $40 million would be equivalent to more than $60 million in 2018 dollars.

However, Mr. Trump is not entitled to claim "there was no collusion with Russia (except by the Democrats)" without being called out for it.

Unless he is delusional, he knows there was no collusion by the Democrats. Moreover, he does not claim that he did not collude with Russia, which is debatable, but that there was no collusion with the Russians by his gang.

Sorry, gang, but that's extremely close to inconceivable.  On May 1, Jonathan Chait cited as evidence of collusion Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Peter W. Smith, Roger Stone, and

Then of course there is the 2016 Trump Tower meeting. I would argue that the publicly available information pertaining to that episode amounts to proof of Trump campaign collusion with Russia. You have a Russian agent dangling Russian assistance in the election (“part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump”), and the offer of help being accepted (“if it’s what you say I love it”). ..

The report from Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee reports that, on June 6, 2016, Donald Trump Jr. made two phone calls with Emin Agalarov. In between those two calls — which, based on emails he exchanged around that time with Rob Goldstone, indicate Trump successfully arranged the meeting during the calls — Donald Jr. made another call. Phone records show the call, at 4:27 p.m., was to a blocked phone number. Corey Lewandowski told the House Intelligence Committee that Donald Trump had a blocked phone number....

There is clear forensic evidence to show that Donald Trump, Jr. called somebody, quite likely his father, while he was rushing to set up the Trump Tower meeting. House Republicans blocked an effort to prove that Donald Trump was the person he called.

Further, this weekend we learned

The bombshell 20-page letter written by Donald Trump’s attorneys to special counsel Robert Mueller early this year and obtained by The New York Times Saturday includes the intriguing revelation that the president “dictated” the misleading statement about Donald Trump Jr.’s controversial meeting with a Russian representative during the 2016 election.

Trump’s eldest son met at Trump Tower in Manhattan in June 2016 with Kremlin-linked attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, who said she could deliver damaging information on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

After the Times reported on the Trump Tower meeting last summer, “The president dictated a short but accurate response ... on behalf of his son,” stated the newly obtained letter, written by Trump attorneys Jay Sekulow and John Dowd (who has since left the Trump legal team).

By one interpretation, President Trump knows his side colluded and the other didn't. By a more generous interpretation, he knows there was collusion on his side and assumes everyone similarly acts in bad faith.  In either case, he lied in his Saturday evening tweet.

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