Trump: lying, or mental?

Democrats hired a network executive to produce its January 6 hearings as, well, entertainment.

Damaging remarks from Bill Barr (second from right)

In entertainment, you want to lead with sensation, to create buzz. If possible, you want to save the best for last because the last thing is what the audience best remembers.

Last week’s hearing did not deliver promised explosive revelations that would, in the words of Committee Chair Bennie Thompson, place Donald J. Trump at the center of a conspiracy to stymie the peaceful transfer of power. 

It did not. 

There were a few new tidbits, particularly from former Attorney General Bill Barr, but no smoking gun to place Trump on the bull’s eye.

The Monday hearing — here we go again — would have, in the words of CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, “potentially explosive” revelations, starting with the reluctant leadoff witness, Trump campaign manager and loyalist, Bill Stepien. 

But 45 minutes before the committee’s start, the leadoff witness said he would not show up, citing a “family emergency,” reportedly a pregnancy. (He’d better be prepared to produce a birth certificate.)

So that blew up in the committee’s face, a classic example of the committee stepping on a rake.

Let’s be honest: The goal of the Democrat-packed committee is to hang Trump, and they hope the best rope will be the words of the people around him. That’s the hope.

If they can do that, they can demand the Department of Justice take the evidence and file charges against the former president. 

If they can’t prove direct conspiracy, what the committee wants to prove is that Trump knew he lost and lied to stir up his supporters, which resulted in the attack on the Capitol.

Can the committee prove what was in his mind? Can it prove he did not believe he had lost when he has so many really weird ideas? When the Pennsylvania Senate race was in doubt, Trump told Mehmet Oz to declare victory. Lying? Or mental?

Here’s how Trump rolls — first, he declares the election was rigged. Then, if he doesn’t win, he rejects the outcome.

Is he lying? Is he mental? It’s hard to say, and if it’s hard to say, can you get a conviction out of a jury?

What I am writing here is the reality of the degree of difficulty, not an exoneration of Trump. 

So, minus the star witness, the wrench in the works, the committee started 46 minutes late.

One new tidbit was the existence of Team Normal, those who knew the claims of fraud were “bullshit,” in the term of AG Bill Barr, and and Team Rudy, named after the former mayor of New York City, described as “intoxicated” by Stepien when advising Trump he should claim victory, even before all the votes had been counted. 

I’d be astounded if Rudy ever gets another client, other than the QAnon shaman, or a Proud Boy.

One lowlight for Fox News was former political editor Chris Stirewalt, who was fired by Fox after correctly predicting that Arizona would go for Joe Biden.

Stirewalt explained that his unit was closely watching five critical states and their analysis proved the votes were valid.

He said his unit “took pains” to explain to viewers that because few Republicans vote by mail, and many Democrats do, it was likely the early returns would show Trump ahead, and later mail returns would be heavily Democratic. Trump ignored that, or used it as “proof” of “rigging.” 

Almost every Trump loyalist we saw Monday agreed that Trump had lost. The plain facts are that Trump had lost, but Trump is often impervious to facts. He can be, as Barr said, “detached from reality.”

In a video clip, former White House adviser Eric Herschman irritably recounted having to go though crazy conspiracy theories involving Germans, Italians, Venezuelans.

Former Republican U.S. Attorney for northern Georgia Bjay Pak examined claims of fraud in Georgia and said there were none.

Famous Republican voting expert Ben Ginsberg said there  was “no credible evidence of fraud,” and Trump did have his day in court but could not convince a judge he had a credible claim.

As to Trump’s claim that “bad things happen in Philadelphia,” former City Commissioner Al Schmidt, a Republican, reported that there were no bad things at the ballot box — and received death threats.

OK. It is indisputable that Trump lost. We can’t be sure that he knew he lost, that he lied in bad faith.

As I asked earlier — lying or mental?

But lying or being unbalanced are not federal charges.

The committee has yet to prove that Trump actively lied to instigate the attack on the Capitol.

More hearings to come.

17 thoughts on “Trump: lying, or mental?”

  1. I was just saying the same thing to my wife. He is so far-gone delusional that I don’t know how you can possibly prove — even at this late juncture — that he doesn’t believe he really won. I thought the most important accusation I saw today was the stuff about him using the falsehoods to raise funds from his minions that are NOT going where they are supposed to be going, i.e., they are going to non-existent organizations and to Trump Hotels, etc. That type of behavior should, at the least if proven, exclude a person from running for the highest office in the land. But that’s in a perfect world, which this clearly ain’t.

    The fun never ends with this guy.

  2. I think this is where they have a pretty strong case, if it can be proven that the money did not go to “stop the steal” as he stated:

    18 U.S. Code § 1343 – Fraud by wire, radio, or television

    Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation occurs in relation to, or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)), or affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.

      1. Well, you know why Capone wound up in the clink, and it did not end well for him. Yeah, seeing him go to jail for fraud would be high entertainment.

  3. I’ve thought on this Trump brouhaha since election night, when he was tossed out of office. I have come to conclude that Trump always considered the office of President as no greater than the office of CEO or Chairman of some Fortune 100 company. He always acted (through his stupid Twitter posts) as if he was in a hostile takeover of some company owned by someone he hated. He could have been a great president, but his narcissistic personality destroyed any chance of that happening. I loved his idea: drain the swamp called Washington DC. But I despised his actions. Twitter to him was a gun he held to his own head…and then he squeezed the trigger.

  4. “Is he lying? Is he mental? It’s hard to say, and if it’s hard to say, can you get a conviction out of a jury?”

    The answer is yes. (Reluctant disclosure: I am an attorney, specializing in fraud–civil mostly–but it is criminal adjacent, in that often the folks I sue are often in criminal trouble as well, or get in trouble after my client and I meet with the FBI).
    Anyway, whether a lie is knowing or intentional is generally an objective, not a subjective test. Otherwise, anyone could avoid prison by just saying, “hey, I really believed what I was saying” or, “yeah, I shot him in the head, but I really believed the bullet would bounce off.” The prisons would be half-empty if a confession was necessary to establish intent.

    Instead, the law looks at what a reasonable (hah, hah, I know) person would know under the circumstances. And, it includes not caring whether what you say is true or false–that is, if you are just saying it to get a certain result with no basis, or worse, being aware of contrary facts, then yup, you are guilty. And, if, in order to say it, you keep yourself “intentionally ignorant” — again guilty. In other words, until mind-reading is a thing, checking the surrounding facts, and what a normal person would glean from those is how courts determine if you committed a crime requiring intent.

    A lot of people are likely “mental” in the sense that they don’t know the difference between right and wrong or the truth and a lie. If that were enough to prevent conviction, the prisons would likely be half-empty, and living in society a lot more dangerous. Maybe someone who just doesn’t get it is not as morally bad as someone completely conscious of doing wrong, but the law doesn’t make that distinction except in the case of an insanity defense. Over the years, by design and in response to public outrage, this defense has been narrowed quite a bit. And, of course, Trump’s lawyers would have to argue it, and present evidence, from say, a psychiatrist to show that he’s loony.

    1. Well, Tom, we will see. Going back to when Bubba was found not guilty of perjury, when he lied on the stand, that told me the law is whatever the F the jury says it is.

      1. Well “jury nullification” is certainly a thing, and judges another. My point was that in theory being mental or detached from reality is not a legal defense. Going to court is always a dice roll (which is why most civil cases settle and why most criminal defendants plead out).

  5. HAPPY TUESDAY !!!
    pallie,
    You should be selling peanuts to this circus show !
    I am a republican by choice, not a rabid ‘Trumpster’. The man is a genius in his own right. That’s to say that millionaires / billionaires are good at what they do. The problem comes about when you step over the line and you think that ‘everything’ that you touch, say or do is absolute. It was often said by people in the know, that ‘nobody tells Donald Trump what to do. Therein lies the problem.
    As this charade plays out, the added ingredients in this stew will get dicey. When Trump was President, the dimocrats kept digging until they had enough to bring forward the impeachment charges. As we all know. The whole idea of this kangaroo court is to put Trump away. Whether it be jail or political disgrace, the dims will continue to push the envelope. Too bad that for all of these past years, Washington D.C., AKA ‘the SWAMP’ , has been ignoring the people of this country as they try to sink our ship.
    Tony

  6. I saw nothing on the news about the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in. One of the most significant dates in the history of the republic. I guess too busy covering Juneteenth weekend. Just sayin…

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