Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A Pathological Liar Can't Help Himself. He Lies. But That's Not What Trump's Lawyers Are Worried About.

Donald Trump under oath is a shitstorm of worry for his lawyers. That he might lie? That he might tell the truth? That he might have forgotten the difference? All of the above.

The truth? What the fuck is that? But, hey, no collusion, no obstruction!

There's more than enough for Trump and his lawyers to worry about, among them the stuff we know, the stuff we suspect, and the stuff we don't know but, face it, must be out there. Trump has been wheeling and dealing -- and pretty ugly doing it -- for so long that bodies are buried all over the place, hopefully only metaphorically speaking.

I don't need to get into lists. We all know what a shitshow he's made of his campaign and presidency, so yada yada yada.

Greg Sargent -- recently my go-to guy for insight in DC -- has been following things closely, and he has a theory:
Buried in this [Times'  theory that his lawyers fear he's a pathological liar who cannot be trusted to refrain from telling falsehoods to investigators] is a hint at an important concession. It is likely Trump’s lawyers don’t simply fear Trump might lie to investigators because he helplessly cannot refrain from doing so even about trivial matters, but also that he might feel he actually has reasons grounded in self-preservation to lie to them — because he has something important to cover up.
You don't have to be a pathological liar to calculate that a truthful answer will get you in hot water or that a lie at the wrong time and place might burn your bacon. But would you want Trump to be in the hot seat and try to make the right call? To make matters worse, how do you decide what the right call is when you maybe don't know what Mueller knows? Fact is you can't because you don't.

I wouldn't want to testify either. Hell no.

But I suspect Trump has or soon will have little choice. He can say no thanks to an interview, he can negotiate favorable conditions -- why would Mueller do that? -- and he can bob and weave his way to the Supreme Court when he refuses to honor a subpoena to the grand jury. Short of another Saturday Night Massacre, he's gonna be in the hot seat eventually.

Here's the deal, though. In a interview, he can have lawyers present. Before a grand jury, he can't. Go for the interview, for pete's sake! Huh? Huh? Okay, lawyers are waiting in the hall outside the grand jury for witnesses to confer with, but Trump getting up after each question? Can't be a winning way to go about it.

Trump has stuff to cover up, plenty of stuff. (Read Sargent's article.) Mueller has enough lines of questioning to keep Trump on the stand for a week, or more. I'd go for the interview, but here I feel Trump has no choice: He's got to drag this out to the bitter end, hoping something will break his way. I doubt that will happen if only because the more this drags out, the worse it gets. Bannon will testify. What has Michael Flynn said? Papadopoulos? Rick Gates looks like he's going to roll. Can Manafort be far behind? What does Trump do when Don Jr. is brought up on lying to the feds? If Kurshner is indicted?

My gut tells me Trump cracks and goes after Mueller. His calculation will be that his base, the GOP, and Fox News will help him survive. He might make it to 2020, but beyond that he's toast. We as a nation might be able to survive that, but what if Trump decides "Hey, play the North Korea card. What choice do I have?"

That's another terrifying story.

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