It’s unclear whether the mainstream media has ceased documenting every lie told by the president-elect out of exhaustion or an inability to keep up with their volume and scope, but one thing is clear: Donald Trump has now lied — repeatedly — about a conversation he had yesterday with the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper.
And the lies Trump told were, all of them, about a series of memos alleging that he and his campaign engaged, with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, in a complex and treasonous plot to hand the president-elect the reins of the United States of America.
There’s an old saying that says, “Innocent men don’t lie about things they didn’t do.” This saying comes to mind every time Trump lies about the Steele memos, as he has already done multiple times since the memos were leaked: for instance, when he said that he distinctly remembered the 2013 hotel stay in Moscow detailed in the memos, and made up from whole cloth things he said that night that would seem to contradict the contentions of former FBI asset and MI6 agent Christopher Steele; for instance, when he falsely claimed to have conducted a midnight investigation into the veracity of the memos on January 10th, offhandedly noting that he had summoned his attorney to Trump Tower and demanded to see his passport; for instance, by falsely claiming that he and his company have no ties — of any kind — to Russia.
All of these are lies, but have not yet been reported on as such by the media.
But perhaps now the president-elect has gone a step too far.
As memorialized in a publicly available summary, the nation’s top intelligence officer, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, told the president-elect that, as to the Steele memos, “intelligence agencies made no judgment about the reliability of the allegations” (emphasis supplied). Indeed, numerous media reports have indicated that the memos are still being investigated, and that the allegations in them are not only currently held by multiple intelligence agencies but have been independently heard (quite apart from Mr. Steele) by at least one and likely, per the BBC, “multiple” European intelligence services. No one in possession of the memos has yet verified them or determined them to be inaccurate.
With that in mind, this is what President-elect Trump tweeted about this conversation with Clapper:
Of course, Clapper said no such thing, making this yet another example of a man who professes to be innocent of the charge implicitly leveled against him—that would be treason—nevertheless lying about facts relating to the charge.
In fact, Clapper did not denounce the memos. Clapper did not say that the Steele memos were “false and fictitious.” Clapper, as he told the president-elect quite clearly, does not know who “leaked” the memos, and therefore could not know if that leak was illegal. Indeed, so many journalists have been in possession of the memos for so many months — with many of them having received the documents from Steele himself — that it is almost certainly the case that the memos were not “leaked” but rather simply “published” by those who’d acquired them legally from their author.
For those counting at home, that’s three more lies about the Steele memos in just one tweet. Ask yourself, if you were falsely accused of numerous acts of treason, would you engage in a massive campaign of lies to shield yourself from responsibility? Or would you fall back, immediately and instinctively, on the truth?
Increasingly, the Americans who consume mainstream media are beginning to think that Donald Trump did some or all of what is included in the Steele memos. While by no means scientific, even a very small-scale (N = 100+) snap poll taken via a social media polling application confirms that not only do many believe that the mainstream media knows Trump is lying, but that many also suspect that members of Trump’s own political party do:
It may not happen today, and it may not happen tomorrow — it may not even happen over the next eight days, that is, before the inauguration — but soon enough there will be a consensus in this country that some or all of the Steele memos are accurate, and, moreover, a consensus that many in our government also believe the actions the memos describe to be consistent with the actions of Trump and his allies. This means that at some point soon a large percentage of Americans will believe their president to be a Russian puppet who not only has been cultivated by the Russians for over five years but engaged in numerous acts of treason to get into the Oval Office.
Is it better that we deal with this looming constitutional crisis now, or continue plans for a giant parade for Donald Trump on January 20th and pretend like these memos never existed?
Certainly, the story is only getting worse by the hour.
Indeed, even after I published the article linked to in the preceding sentence, numerous additional pieces of information came out which a former criminal attorney like myself would deem “inculpatory.” In publishing an article now about the three lies told yesterday, in the span of a single tweet, by the president-elect — on a subject of national import, and as to the words of the nation’s most trusted intelligence officer — I’m doing no more than underscoring, as if we needed any reminder, that innocent men don’t lie about things they didn’t do.