John Colson: Trump’s lies may soon catch up to him
Hit & Run
Most of us in America were brought up on the old axiom, “Honesty is the best policy,” but I believe our Republican president must have been hiding behind the door, or maybe in another room, building, state or country, whenever those words were pronounced.
Even if he heard them, he undoubtedly would have responded, “I don’t believe it” and then started lying about everything from the size of his, uh, fingers to his net financial worth. He has been caught in so many lies it seems he really could not define honesty even if it were printed on his speech prompter.
From the first day of his presidency, he has lied so often it is difficult to catalog, starting with the number of people who attended his inauguration and carrying on from there, and all these lies may soon catch up with him.
As a case in point, and if you haven’t been following the latest in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into a wide range of issues regarding President Donald Trump, it now appears that Mueller has amassed a fleet of charges that are poised to implicate Trump in actual federal crimes.
Among them are:
• Financial crimes involving contributions to his political campaigns (we are hearing more about this every day).
• The much-debated interference in the 2016 election by Russian hackers and agents on Trump’s behalf, and questions about how much Trump knew and when he knew it. This includes the apparent attempt by Trump operatives to encourage Russian assistance in getting Trump elected by bribing Russian President Vladimir Putin with a hugely expensive penthouse in a Trump Tower Moscow.
• Questions about hush money reportedly paid to women who say that Trump slept with them at various embarrassing moments, money that apparently came directly out of Trump’s campaign war chest, a violation of federal election law.
• Violations of constitutional prohibitions (called the “emoluments clause”) against a president using his office to enrich himself.
And that’s just a partial list.
The president, naturally, has denied everything, and it is in these denials that he is at his most dishonest, with himself and the public.
Over the weekend, Trump even tweeted that the most recent court filings by Mueller “totally clears the president,” despite the fact that newspaper headlines and broadcasters around the nation used such terms as “implicated” or “suspected” with regard to the looming likelihood that the president is guilty of criminal behavior.
An independent politician from Maine, U.S. Sen. Angus King, was among those publicly referring to the possibility of impeaching the president, though he indicated that even if the president has committed “impeachable offenses,” that does not necessarily mean he ought to be impeached.
Now, that might strike some as unnecessarily wishy-washy, particularly from a non-Republican.
But King’s remarks reflect the political reality that three of the four pillars of power in Washington — the presidency, the Senate and the Supreme Court — are controlled by the Republican Party, which means that impeachment would be a long shot even if it appears provable that the president has violated the law.
And then there is the raw electoral power that continues to be reflected in the president’s “base,” that ill-defined but indisputably significant number of people who will keep supporting the president no matter what he does.
As Trump famously said during the 2016 race, in the eyes of some he is unassailable, and he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
That, unfortunately, may have been true then, and could still be true, because the crowd of undereducated, knee-jerk Trump supporters that Hillary Clinton once named “a basket of deplorables” is still out there.
As long as Trump speaks their language, they will have his back.
It will be mighty interesting if next year we come to the point where it is all but certain — lacking only a conviction in court — that Trump is guilty of federal crimes both before and after he became president, but we are unable to prosecute him or remove him from office until the election in 2020.
I can only assume that at that point, there will be sufficient sanity in our electorate to get rid of him and the crowd he came in with.
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With much sorrow I heard of the passing of a good friend Bruce Berger. He was a man for all seasons, a pianist, prolific author, environmentalist, and lover of Aspen.