The Senate Intelligence Committee hearings last week with James Comey have already had a profound impact on the political landscape. They produced numerous revelations that compound Donald Trump’s problems. Despite Trump’s delusional claim that he was “vindicated,” Comey’s testimony was devastating. He called out the President for lying (several times), obstructing justice, smearing the press, and hiding secret recordings. In Trump’s cartoon brain that’s vindication.
In response to the hearings, the White House Defense Forces quickly deployed to apply a thick layer of reality distortion. Much of their strategy was to demean Comey’s character and pretend nothing pertinent was revealed. Unfortunately, their logic was painfully flawed. Particularly the assertion that Comey had cleared the President despite also being tagged as a liar.
Now the first national poll on the subject has been published. The Huffington Post and YouGov partnered to get America’s impression of the epic Trump/Comey standoff. The results were unambiguous:
“By a 20-point margin, 46 percent to 26 percent, Americans say Comey is more honest and trustworthy than Trump, with the remainder unsure.”
What’s more, the poll found that Trump is far less liked than the former FBI Director. His unfavorable rating hit fifty-three percent. That’s consistent with most other polls that put Trump’s approval at historic lows. By contrast, Comey’s unfavorablilty is only thirty-three percent.
The poll delved into some specific areas that were covered in the hearings. For instance, when asked whether Trump sought Comey’s pledge of loyalty, fifty percent of respondents said he did. A mere fifteen percent believed Trump’s denial. And as to whether Trump pressured Comey to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn, a plurality of forty-two percent agree with Comey’s account. Further boosting Comey’s position, by 17 points (45 to 28), Americans say that Trump was wrong to fire Comey.
None of this can be considered good news for the White House. Consequently, they have engaged in a full-court press to muddy the waters with obvious distractions and outright lies. This effort is led, of course, by Trump and his Twitter feed. In the wee hours of Sunday morning Trump tweeted:
I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible. Totally illegal? Very 'cowardly!'
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2017
Once again, his logic falls into the category of nonsense. In order for the “leaks” to be prevalent, or even illegal, they would have to be truthful. A leak that disclosed information that wasn’t true could not be a violation of the law. However, nothing Comey disclosed could accurately be described as a leak. He simply published his account of a conversation that was neither classified nor privileged. Every Washington memoir ever published did the very same thing. Furthermore, Trump’s continued Comey bashing could itself be found to be unlawful. Some legal opinions regard it as witness intimidation and/or obstruction of justice.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
So Trump has revealed the tactics he intends to pursue to extricate himself from this dilemma. And for the most part they involve character assassination and flagrantly implausible denials. The media brigade of StormTrumpers have already fanned out across the dial to spew the White House talking points. But Trump himself is remaining barricaded in his luxurious bunker (aka golf resort). He is frantically avoiding the press and has taken only two questions in nearly a month. One of the questions was whether he would be willing to testify under oath. “One hundred percent,” he replied. That answer may come back to haunt him.