• Wayfarer
    William Barr an accomplice in Trump’s smearing of his own Department.

    Let’s go back to July 8, 2017. On that day, according to Mueller’s report, Trump’s communications director, Hope Hicks, showed the president a draft statement that his son, Donald Trump Jr., planned to issue about the now-infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower [with Russian agents]. The draft statement said that Trump Jr. had accepted the meeting “with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign.” Trump has repeatedly claimed that this moment in July 2017 was the first time he heard of the meeting and the emails leading up to it, which offered “documents and information that would incriminate Hillary” as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

    What did the president do with this surprising information? First, he altered his son’s statement to omit the part about being offered information helpful to the campaign. Second, he sent a back-channel message to Sessions to shut down the investigation. Third, he publicly dismissed the investigation as meritless. “This Russia story is a hoax made up by the Democrats,” Trump told Reuters on July 12, 2017. “There’s no coordination, this was a hoax, this was made up by the Democrats.” That night, speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Trump ridiculed the Russia story five times as a “witch hunt.”

    When Trump made these comments disparaging the investigation as a fraudulent and baseless fishing expedition, he wasn’t just wrong. He was lying.

    And he’s been lying ever since. The Mueller Report showed he was lying, but as soon as it came out, what was the first thing he did? He lied about it.
  • Wayfarer
    Incidentally none of this has anything to do with politics or policy, whether immigration or any other kind. It is not about Democrats v. Republicans. It’s about the degradation and corruption of the office.
  • Relativist
    And he’s been lying ever since. The Mueller Report showed he was lying, but as soon as it came out, what was the first thing he did? He lied about it.Wayfarer
    But he wasn't under oath, so that's OK....that seems to be the way Trumpists view it. Even if no crime is ever charged, and no impeachment ever proceeds, Mueller unequivocally shows what a liar Trump is, and that he's engendered a culture of duplicity throughout his administration.
  • Wayfarer
    The problem being, he’s the President.

    I have to believe this will come to an end before Nov 2020. Basically I think it ought to be clear to everyone that Trump’s occupancy of the office is no longer tenable. You can’t have a functioning democracy where the main role of the head of the Justice Department is covering up the President’s felonies.
  • Wayfarer
    So now Trump is really pushing his ‘alternative narrative’ - that the Mueller enquiry was a Democratic Party/'Deep State' conspiracy, fueled by jealousy over his win, and that this was the real conspiracy in all of this. He has empowered William Barr to 'expose all of the facts' about this alleged conspiracy, and tweeted that 'those involved' should get 'long jail terms'.

    The obvious problem with this counter-narrative is that it's bullshit.

    There's a compelling piece of evidence about this fact. It concerns the meeting between ex-Australian Foreign Minister, and Australian Consul to Great Britain, Alexander Downer, and George Papadopoulos, one of the many shadowy bit-players in the Trump campaign. They had drinks one night in 2016 in London.

    It wasn't until towards the end of the meeting that the pair had a brief exchange that would set off one of the biggest sagas in presidential history.

    It was about Mr Trump's prospects in the looming election.

    "I asked him whether he thought Donald Trump would be able to defeat Hillary Clinton in the general election," said Mr Downer.

    "He said he was confident he could."

    "He said one of the reasons was that the Russians might release some information which could be damaging to Hillary Clinton."

    Mr Downer and Erika Thompson decided after the meeting this was concerning enough that they should send a cable back to Canberra about the exchange.

    The cable outlined that Mr Papadopoulos claimed to be aware of a Russian attempt to discredit Mrs Clinton.

    Mr Papadopoulos denies all of this.

    "I have absolutely no memory of ever talking to him about that," he said.

    That cable was eventually passed on to US intelligence, providing part of the impetus for an investigation of Donald Trump's campaign and its ties to Russia.

    Mr Papadopoulos might dispute telling Mr Downer about the emails, but he does remember being told about the Clinton emails about two weeks before the meeting.

    He also admitted he told Greece's Foreign Minister about the damaging emails about two weeks later.

    He maintains that does not mean he told the Australian diplomat too.

    "There's nothing illegal about spreading rumours, okay?" he said.

    "So there's no reason for me to be hiding it if I really did tell him [Downer] that. 1"

    So - who to believe? My money's on Downer, who has generally declined comment further on it since. Instead, he did what he was obliged to do, which is report the matter. If Donnie Jnr had done that when he was approached by the Russians about 'dirt on Hillary', then none of this would be happening.

    How anyone can condone/excuse/rationalise what Donald J. Trump is doing in this matter, beggars belief.
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