In a bizarre twist at the end of a very bizarre week, the Liar-in-Chief accused James Comey of lying. And he offered to testify under oath -- as if raising his hand would make a difference. Ezra Klein's conclusion is inescapable:
The United States government cannot be trusted so long as Donald Trump runs it.That is the simple, chilling takeaway of James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. It is separate from the legal question of whether Trump obstructed justice, or the political question of whether congressional Republicans care even if he did.The picture Comey paints of Trump is also, importantly, the picture Trump paints of himself: He is a man who lies constantly, who values loyalty over integrity, who has little understanding of nor respect for the values and restraints that people in power impose on themselves to keep from misusing their positions, and who intends to use both his powers of hiring and firing to stock the government with people who will serve him first and the country second.
The debate will intensify about whether Trump is guilty of obstructing justice. But regardless of how that debates ends, Jim Cornette got it right. "He’s a TV star, and he can say, ‘I’ll fix this, it’ll be great, trust me!’ I wouldn’t believe him if his tongue was notarized." Comey testified that he kept contemporaneous records of his conversations with Trump because he didn't trust him. Angela Merkel has said the same thing. Klein writes:
Stop and consider Comey’s estimation for a moment. A longtime prosecutor, Justice Department official, and eventually FBI chief, Comey thought he couldn’t trust the president of the United States of America to meet with him without lying. And of course, Trump couldn’t. Trump lies constantly. And Comey was proven right in his particular case, as Trump has repeatedly lied about him.And this man is the president of the United States of America.
Trump initially had his White House say Comey was fired over his handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails, only to later admit Comey was fired over the Russia investigation, only to later say it was actually the emails. Trump has said he may release tapes of his conversations with Comey — tapes he clearly doesn’t have (“Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Comey said today). Trump repeatedly told Comey he was doing a great job only to turn around and tell the country he was doing a horrible job.
Put aside where you think the truth lies in any of these judgments. The simple fact is the president of the United States lies routinely, about matters big and small. He lies about the size of his Electoral College victory. He lies about whether he’ll cut Medicaid. He is a liar.
But what is truly disturbing is the nagging impression that Trump no longer knows when he's lying.