CLICK TO SHARE
For two years Donald Trump told us the truth over and over again: Neither he nor his presidential campaign illegally conspired with Russian agents to influence the 2016 election. But Trump also lied to us over and over again, which cast doubt on his assertions of innocence.
I was never much impressed by the evidence of "collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia, an allegation that was conclusively debunked by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, which was released by the Justice Department last Thursday. The one thing that made me think there might be something to the conspiracy theory was the fact that Trump kept denying it.
The president's habitual dishonesty justifies a rebuttable presumption that the truth is the opposite of whatever he says. That rule of thumb led many of his critics astray in this case, but it also illustrates the practical advantages of telling the truth, since Trump's weaselly ways prolonged the Russia investigation and lent credence to the suspicion that he had something to hide.
"I have nothing to do with Russia," Trump insisted in July 2016. Yet his lawyer, Michael Cohen, was working on a licensing deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow as late as the previous month and giving his boss regular updates on the project. When Cohen suggested to Trump that his statement was misleading, he told Mueller, Trump replied, "Why mention it if it is not a deal?"
A year later, when The New York Times reported that Trump's son, son-in-law, and campaign chairman had met in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer promising "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, Trump edited a public statement about the meeting, excising any reference to that offer. When his communications director, Hope Hicks, suggested that Trump come clean about the motivation for the meeting, he told her, "You've given a statement. We're done."
Post a comment.
CLICK TO SHARE