On November 17, 1973, President Richard M. Nixon said: “... people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I am not a crook.”
He was lying.
On July 19, 2017, President Donald J. Trump was asked by a New York Times interviewer, “ if [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller was looking at your finances and your family finances, unrelated to Russia — is that a red line?”
“ I would say yeah. I would say yes.,” Trump responded, clearly indicating that he has something to hide in his financial activities. It was, columnist Eugene Robinson neatly said, like a driver stopped by the police saying, “Whatever you do, don’t look in the trunk.”
The next evening, the Washington Post reported that Trump “has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe.” Pardons are only given to those who are guilty, and accepting a pardon is an admission of guilt.
Trump is, in effect, saying: “I am a crook!”
For perhaps the first time in his presidency, he isn’t lying.