Thursday, March 08, 2018


The New York Times is reporting that President Trump has had conversations with both former chief of staff Reince Priebus and White House counsel Don McGahn about matters they'd discussed with Russiagate investigators. In McGahn's case, Trump asked for a false statement to be issued.
Mr. Trump’s interactions with Mr. McGahn unfolded in the days after [a] Jan. 25 Times article, which said that Mr. McGahn threatened to quit last June after the president asked him to fire the special counsel. After the article was published, the White House staff secretary, Rob Porter, told Mr. McGahn that the president wanted him to release a statement saying that the story was not true, the people said.

Mr. Porter ... told Mr. McGahn the president had suggested he might “get rid of” Mr. McGahn if he chose not to challenge the article, the people briefed on the conversation said.

Mr. McGahn did not publicly deny the article, and the president later confronted him in the Oval Office in front of the White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, according to the people.

The president said he had never ordered Mr. McGahn to fire the special counsel. Mr. McGahn replied that the president was wrong and that he had in fact asked Mr. McGahn in June to call the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, to tell him that the special counsel had a series of conflicts that disqualified him for overseeing the investigation and that he had to be dismissed. The president told Mr. McGahn that he did not remember the discussion that way.
So Trump asked McGahn to utter a deliberate falsehood -- unless we believe the alternate theory offered by Margaret Hartmann of New York magazine: "Did Trump Ask McGahn to Lie, or Did He Forget He Tried to Fire Mueller?"
... Trump might have threatened to fire McGahn if he didn’t publicly lie about his failed attempt at a Saturday Night Massacre. But there’s another possibility: Trump thought he was demanding that McGahn release a truthful statement, because he didn’t recall ordering Mueller’s firing.
If he didn't recall ordering Mueller's firing, would that mean all those theories about Trump being in the early stages of dementia are true?

Maybe. Or maybe it's just that if something unpleasant happens to Trump, his mind banishes it and it simply didn't happen as far as he's concerned, because he's Donald Trump and bad things don't happen to Donald Trump.

Consider the precipitating event: Trump asked McGahn to get rid of Mueller. McGahn said no. Trump was defied. This was intolerable. Yet somehow Trump got past that -- maybe he was distracted by a segment on Fox News, or by an especially tasty dessert. Or maybe Ivanka or John Kelly told him, for the hundredth time, that firing Mueller was a bad idea.

Fast forward to the appearance of the January 25 Times article. Trump couldn't remember ordering McGahn to get rid of Mueller. Why? Because he'd been defied, by someone who still worked for him. No one defies Donald Trump and gets away with it! But since that had actually happened, Trump had simply erased the mental tape. Problem solved! Trump is still the alpha of all alphas!

Either that or Trump is just a dishonest crook. That's a simpler explanation, so maybe it's the right one.

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