Sunday, January 20, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He finally admitted to working with Russia on a Moscow hotel project all through the 2016 campaign.

Trump sent his "TV lawyer" Rudy Giuliani to NBC's Meet the Press to make a huge admission: that he had been trying to make a deal to build a luxury residential tower in Moscow as late as "October or November" of 2016.

This is significant for two reasons. First, it is difficult to count the number of times, before and after being elected, Trump has categorically denied having any business interest in Russia.

In turn, that means that Russia was aware the whole time that Trump was lying to voters and, potentially, to law enforcement, giving the Putin regime even more blackmail leverage over Trump. Voters would have had good reason to be worried if they'd known about the deal: it would have been worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Trump.

Giuliani's role in the army of defense lawyers working for Trump is to help him "get ahead of the story" by admitting things Trump has previously denied when it is clear the truth will come out regardless. In the past year, he's appeared on TV to blunt the impact of several serious revelations. He has helped Trump back down from countless "no collusion" tweets by saying that "collusion" doesn't refer to any specific criminal act, and he recently suggested that whatever "collusion" may have happened must have been done by campaign officials without Trump's knowledge. Last May, he admitted that Trump had paid hush money to Stormy Daniels via Michael Cohen to conceal their sexual affair. 

In the same interview, Giuliani admitted that Trump "might have" discussed with Cohen his testimony in front of Congress before Cohen gave it. Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow deal in order to avoid exposing Trump's lies on the subject.

Why does this matter?

  • Some people who voted for Trump might not have done so if they'd known he was lying about being in business with the Putin regime.
  • Eventually telling a version of the truth after you've been caught isn't the same thing as telling the truth the first time.
  • Honest public officials don't seek nine-figure bribes, or let it look like they're open to them.