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Trump's presidency is built on lies. Does he actually believe them? - Walter Shapiro
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Limbaugh Whisperer
2019-10-28 21:41:55 UTC
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Trump's presidency is built on lies. Does he actually believe them?
Walter Shapiro
The president’s efforts in Ukraine break Watergate’s record for
presidential stupidity. What was the point?

Thu 24 Oct 2019 11.00 BSTLast modified on Thu 24 Oct 2019 12.09 BST
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‘If truth is this malleable, why did Trump go to such lengths to delve for
actual evidence in Ukraine?’
‘If truth is this malleable, why did Trump go to such lengths to delve for
actual evidence in Ukraine?’ Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty
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Apuffed-up Donald Trump on Wednesday peddled his latest Syrian retreat as
if his ability as a presidential peacemaker eclipsed Teddy Roosevelt, who
won the 1906 Nobel prize for negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese war,
and Jimmy Carter, who helped broker the lasting Israeli-Egyptian accord.

Trump has probably never heard of the swords-into-plowshares
accomplishments of his predecessors. But even if Trump has noticed the
Nobel prize in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, he probably would
have dismissed it as a minor artifact compared with his strategic genius in
bequeathing the Kurds to the tender mercies of Turkey and Russia.

As the president boasted, complete with a dollop of false modesty: “Today’s
announcement validates our course of action with Turkey that only a couple
of weeks ago were scorned. And now people are saying: ‘Wow, what a great
outcome. Congratulations.’ It’s too early [for] me to be congratulated.
We’ve done a great job. We’ve saved a lot of lives.”

Wow, indeed.

Bill Taylor’s testimony removes any last plausible line of defense for
Trump
Andrew Gawthorpe
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From the phantom peace in Syria to the phantom wall on the Mexican border,
the Trump presidency is based on the theory that reality is created by mere
assertion. The scariest interpretation of the torrent of Trump lies is that
the president actually believes the words that he is saying each time his
lips move.

If truth is this malleable, why did Trump go to such lengths to delve for
actual evidence in Ukraine about Hunter Biden’s finances and the 2016 DNC
hacking?

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Without a shred of proof, Trump has been trumpeting for months such
debunked claims as: “When [Joe] Biden’s son walks out of China with $1.5bn
in a fund … and he’s there for one quick meeting and he flies in on Air
Force Two, I think that’s a horrible thing.”

Up until now, the failed 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee
at the Watergate held the record for presidential stupidity in the quest
for re-election.

As John A Farrell tells it in his acclaimed 2017 Richard Nixon biography,
the DNC was a backup site after Gordon Liddy had failed four times to break
into the George McGovern campaign. As Farrell recounts: “Bugs planted in
the DNC headquarters … could provide ‘a wealth of information’ of all
kinds, Liddy believed.’”

By any rational measure, the Watergate break-in was dangerously unnecessary
since Nixon would go on to carry 49 states against the hapless McGovern,
even without planted microphones at Democratic headquarters.

But at least Watergate, at the beginning, was a tight-lipped conspiracy
with the burglars, CIA-trained veterans of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.
In contrast, everyone from career diplomats like William Taylor to the
government in Kyiv seemed to know about Trump’s plotting in Ukraine.

Taylor’s explosive closed-door testimony on Tuesday captured the dimensions
of the shakedown of the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Taylor,
who temporarily heads the embassy in Kyiv, said that Gordon Sondland – a
hotel executive turned ambassador – told him: “President Trump is a
businessman. When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who
owes him something … the businessman asks that person pay up.”

The check was $390m in military aid to Ukraine that Congress had
appropriated and the White House was withholding to pressure Zelenskiy.
What Trump claimed he was owed was dirt on Hunter Biden and some sort of
evidence buttressing the bizarre rightwing conspiracy theory that Ukraine
had framed Russia for the 2016 hacking.

Like Watergate, Trump’s Pain in Ukraine threatens to bring down his
presidency
Imagine, if you will, that the desperate Ukrainian had concocted a paper
trail to please Trump. It almost certainly would not have made a difference
in an election campaign that will mostly be a referendum on Trump. There is
no guarantee that Biden will even win the Democratic nomination – and it
seems ludicrous to believe that serious journalists would accept fabricated
evidence about Hunter Biden.

Like Watergate, Trump’s Pain in Ukraine threatens to bring down his
presidency.

Nothing better illustrates the increasing desperation of Trump’s hardcore
defenders on Capitol Hill than the efforts on Wednesday of two dozen
Republican congressmen (and, yes, they were all male) to disrupt the
impeachment depositions in a secure room of the House intelligence
committee.

The Republican protest was nominally over the lack of public hearings on
impeachment. But the enduring Washington truth is that when you are arguing
process, you are losing.

Taylor’s written statement ended with an earnest plea: “We must support
Ukraine in its fight against its bullying neighbor. Russian aggression
cannot stand.” Sadly, the same thing can be said about the Kurds, whom
Trump also cynically and willfully abandoned.
Malcolm McMahon
2019-11-05 11:43:36 UTC
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Trump's presidency is built on lies. Does he actually believe them?
http://www.salon.com/2017/03/27/the-science-of-blue-lies-theres-a-reason-trump-supporters-embrace-his-alternative-facts_partner/#.WNmvBUkcTmg.twitter
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