Sunday, January 13, 2019


I understand the temptation to read a lot into this, but I don't think it means much:
Trump Doesn’t Deny He’s a Russian Agent When Asked By Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro

On Saturday, President Donald Trump called into Jeanine Pirro‘s Fox News show.

During that interview, host Jeanine Pirro asked Trump about a New York Times report that claimed that the FBI opened an investigation — after the firing of James Comey — to probe if Trump was an acting agent of Russia.

“I’m going to ask you, are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?” Pirro asked.

Trump did not exactly deny it....
Cue freakout.

Here's the transcript. What do you see?

I see Trump in classic form, rattling off superlatives: Everything is the biggest, the best, the worst, the most intolerable. He says it's "the most insulting thing I've ever been asked ... the most insulting article I've ever had written," even though he claims to suffer unprecedented mistreatment at the hands of the press nearly every day. He says he's been "tougher on Russia ... than probably any other president period" -- that's a favorite recent talking point, straight from his Twitter feed.

The Times is "a disaster" and "failing" because it's always "a disaster" and "failing." "Failing New York Times" is a Homeric epithet for him. The rest is just more boilerplate -- Comey's a liar and the real crimes were committed by Hillary Clinton and the evil FBI.

Trump isn't shrewdly avoiding a "no" answer -- he's simply caught up in a story that he rehearses in his own mind on a daily basis and publishes on Twitter nearly as often. He doesn't sidestep the question -- he just forgets to answer it directly, so enraged (and caught up in his own narrative) is he.

Yastreblyansky is basically right:

"Trump has never hesitated to tell a lie" -- hell, he tells lies even when it would benefit him to tell the truth, because braggadocious lying is a compulsion for him. Even if his lawyers, for some reason, were telling him not to answer that question with a firm "no," he's too undisciplined to follow their advice. His base (and the Kremlin) don't object when he says he's toughest president on Russia ever, so why should they object if he says unambiguously that he's not a Russian agent?

It's not significant -- Trump just got carried away and was enthralled by his own recitation of his grievances.

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