DEDICATED TO BJ ALUMS FOUNDER HARRY LIGGETT 1930-2014. BJ NEWSROOM LEGEND 1965-1995.
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I found this New York Times op-ed piece
most interesting. You know, the “fake news” New York Times.
All the President’s Lies
By David Leonhard, New
The ninth week of Donald
Trump’s presidency began with the F.B.I. director calling him a liar.
The director, the very complicated James
Comey, didn’t use the L-word in his congressional testimony Monday. Comey
serves at the pleasure of the president, after all. But his meaning was clear
as could be. Trump has repeatedly accused Barack Obama of wiretapping his
phones, and Comey explained there is “no information that supports” the claim.
I’ve previously argued that not every
untruth deserves to be branded with the L-word, because it implies intent and
somebody can state an untruth without doing so knowingly. George W. Bush didn’t
lie when he said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and Obama didn’t lie
when he said people who liked their current health insurance could keep it.
They made careless statements that proved false (and they deserved much of the
criticism they got).
He tells so many
untruths that it’s time to leave behind the textual parsing over which are
unwitting and which are deliberate — as well as the condescending notion that
most of Trump’s supporters enjoy his lies.
Trump sets out to
deceive people. As he has put it, “I play to people’s
Caveat emptor: When
Donald Trump says something happened, it should not change anyone’s estimation
of whether the event actually happened. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. His
claim doesn’t change the odds.
Which brings us to
Russia’s interference in
the 2016 presidential campaign was an attack on the United
States. It’s the kind of national-security matter that a president and members
of Congress swear to treat with utmost seriousness when they take the oath of
office. Yet now it has become the subject of an escalating series of lies by
the president and the people who work for him.
As Comey was
acknowledging on Monday that the F.B.I. was investigating possible collusion
between Russia and the Trump campaign, Trump was lying about it. From both his
personal Twitter account and the White House account, he told untruths.
A few hours later, his
press secretary, Sean Spicer, went before the cameras and lied about the
closeness between Trump and various aides who have documented Russian ties. Do
you remember Paul Manafort, the chairman
of Trump’s campaign, who ran the crucial
delegate-counting operation? Spicer said Manafort had a “very limited role” in
The big question now is
not what Trump and the White House are saying about the Russia story. They will
evidently say anything. The questions are what really happened and who can
uncover the truth.
The House of
Representatives, unfortunately, will not be doing so. I was most saddened
during Comey’s testimony not by the White House’s response, which I’ve come to
expect, but by the Republican House members questioning him. They are members
of a branch of government that the Constitution holds as equal to the presidency,
but they acted like Trump staff members, decrying leaks about Russia’s attack
rather than the attack itself. The Watergate equivalent is claiming that Deep
Throat was worse than Haldeman, Ehrlichman and Nixon.
It fell to Adam Schiff,
a Democratic representative from Southern California, to lay out the suspicious
ties between Trump and Russia (while also hinting he couldn’t describe some
classified details). Schiff did so in a calm, nine-minute monologue that’s worth watching. He walked
through pro-Putin payments to Michael Flynn and through another Trump’s aide’s
advance notice of John Podesta’s hacked email and through the mysterious
struggle over the Republican Party platform on Ukraine.
“Is it possible that all
of these events and reports are completely unrelated, and nothing more than an
entirely unhappy coincidence? Yes, it is possible,” Schiff said. “But it is
also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not
disconnected and not unrelated, and that the Russians used the same techniques
to corrupt U.S. persons that they have employed in Europe and elsewhere. We
simply don’t know, not yet, and we owe it to the country to find out.”
Comey, as much as
liberals may loathe him for his 2016 pre-election
bungling, seems to be one of the few public officials with the ability and
willingness to pursue the truth. I dearly hope that Republican members of the
Senate are patriotic enough to do so as well.
Our president is a liar,
and we need to find out how serious his latest lies are.