Thursday, August 30, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He called an unedited interview of himself from 15 months ago fake news.

This morning, Trump declared that Lester Holt of NBC News had been "caught fudging my tape on Russia." He was referring to the May 2017 interview he did with Holt in which he effectively incriminated himself by admitting that he'd fired FBI director James Comey because Comey insisted on investigating Russia's attack on the 2016 election on Trump's behalf. 

NBC has had the entire, unedited video posted at all times since its release. 

Often, when Trump makes these kinds of accusations, he is referring to something he saw on television. But Trump appears to have come up with the idea that his interview with Holt was somehow doctored all by himself. If so, there are two potential explanations. 

One is that Trump, who now seems to accept that he is likely to be impeached, and possibly face criminal charges after he leaves office, is trying to create as much confusion as possible about the basic facts--or even whether facts exist at all. This is a tactic he's used more and more often as the Mueller investigation closes in. He boiled it down to its essence last month when he told an audience not to believe anything they read about him in the "fake news" because "what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening."

The other explanation is that Trump has truly come to believe in the 15 months since the interview that it was somehow altered as part of a plot against him.

Why should I care about this?

  • Reality doesn't change just because the president needs it to for criminal defense reasons.
  • If this isn't a lie, it's evidence that Trump is mentally incompetent.