The director, the very complicated James Comey, didn’t use the L-word in his congressional testimony Monday. Comey serves at the pleasure of the president, after all. But his meaning was clear as could be. Trump has repeatedly accused Barack Obama of wiretapping his phones, and Comey explained there is “no information that supports” the claim.
I’ve previously argued that not every untruth deserves to be branded with the L-word, because it implies intent and somebody can state an untruth without doing so knowingly. George W. Bush didn’t lie when he said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and Obama didn’t lie when he said people who liked their current health insurance could keep it. They made careless statements that proved false (and they deserved much of the criticism they got).
But the current president of the United States lies. He lies in ways that no American politician ever has before. He has lied about — among many other things — Obama’s birthplace, John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Sept. 11, the Iraq War, ISIS, NATO, military veterans, Mexican immigrants, Muslim immigrants, anti-Semitic attacks, the unemployment rate, the murder rate, the Electoral College, voter fraud and his groping of women.
He tells so many untruths that it’s time to leave behind the textual parsing over which are unwitting and which are deliberate — as well as the condescending notion that most of Trump’s supporters enjoy his lies.
Trump sets out to deceive people. As he has put it, “I play to people’s fantasies.”
Caveat emptor: When Donald Trump says something happened, it should not change anyone’s estimation of whether the event actually happened. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. His claim doesn’t change the odds.
Which brings us to Russia.
Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign was an attack on the United States. It’s the kind of national-security matter that a president and members of Congress swear to treat with utmost seriousness when they take the oath of office. Yet now it has become the subject of an escalating series of lies by the president and the people who work for him.
As Comey was acknowledging on Monday that the F.B.I. was investigating possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, Trump was lying about it. From both his personal Twitter account and the White House account, he told untruths.
Bye bye Trump and all your corruption. This Russian issue will not be one that will just go away. The web of Russian corruption in our election and with appointed government officials is obviously well-entrenched. It will be rooted out and destroyed. The American people will not tolerate their filth in our democracy.
Trump has a history of telling audacious lies, time and time again. He staged this revelation by setting up the notion of “fake news” with people who apparently cannot think for themselves. His plot will all unravel. When the American safeguards finish with Trump and his lies, Watergate will look like a Sunday school picnic.
There should be no partisan camps. Our very country is at risk.