June 9, 2017
This afternoon, in a news conference in the White House rose garden, Trump lied again and again.
1. Trump called James Comey’s testimony “an excuse by the Democrats, who lost an election they shouldn’t have lost.”
Truth: Republicans are in control of Congress, and in control of the committee that called Comey to testify, so Comey’s testimony couldn’t have been a politically-motivated “excuse for Democrats.”
2. Trump asserted that Comey’s comments failed to prove any obstruction of justice, referring to the tweet of criminal law professor Alan M. Dershowitz, who said “we must distinguish crimes from pol sins.”
Truth: Criminality is irrelevant. The criminal standard for proving obstruction of justice (“beyond a reasonable doubt”) wasn’t the standard used by Congress in impeaching Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. That standard was a lower standard -- requiring “clear and convincing evidence” of such obstruction. Besides, there’s little question Trump fired Comey because of the Russian investigation, as Trump made clear in a subsequent interview with Lester Holt on NBC, and with Russian officials in the Oval Office.
3. Trump denied he had ever asked Comey to drop the F.B.I. investigation of Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser: “I didn’t say that, and there’d be nothing wrong if I did say it.”
Truth: If Trump did say it, it would be wrong because it could easily have been interpreted by Comey as an order –given the context of where and how Trump issued it (after Trump shooed out of the Oval Office others who had top security clearances).
4. Trump denied he ever asked Comey for a pledge of loyalty, as Comey had asserted: “I hardly know the man, I’m not going to ask him to pledge allegiance.”
Truth: It’s not just Trump’s word against Comey’s. Comey’s nearly contemporaneous notes of the conversations he had with Trump would be admissible in a trial, and would surely be admissible in an impeachment proceeding. The only way Trump could prove otherwise would be with tapes of the conversations that showed Comey to be wrong.
At this point, the only people who believe a word that comes out of Trump's mouth are those who would support him even if he shot someone dead on Fifth Avenue. They comprise about 30 percent of the American public.