Five times Trump lied about possessing secret information that would vindicate him
One of Donald Trump's favorite lines from the campaign trail was that his second favorite book of all time was The Art of the Deal. His favorite, of course, was the Bible.
They do have a lot in common. Both were written by men with a Bronze Age understanding of the world, and Trump is totally convinced that both are the inerrant word of God.
Trump would have been a great Renaissance-era pope, come to think of it. His papal encyclical on heliocentrism, Sleepy Eyes Galileo is the most overrated astronomer in Florence! A lightweight! Sad!, would have informed scholarly thought on the subject for centuries to come, if only 17th century Europe had been so lucky.
Oh, but no: we're the lucky ones, and every day we benefit from our president's decidedly Donald-centric view of the universe. Indeed, in Trump's world, any fact that does not line up with his way of thinking is automatically deemed heretical. Essentially, he's like an infant who thinks he can make Mommy disappear by closing his eyes.
When he's cornered, he also acts like a child — because Donald Trump cannot be wrong.
Today, he claimed that James Comey's recent testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence vindicated him, even though it did no such thing.
He also declined to confirm or deny whether he had voice recordings of his conversations with Comey — even though he dropped a not-so-subtle hint on Twitter about a month ago that such recordings might exist. "Well, I’ll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future,” Trump said when asked earlier today whether the tapes existed. “I’m not hinting anything. ... Oh you’re going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don’t worry.”
Don't hold your breath.
This is a common Trump tactic: Signal to your supporters that you have explosive information that vindicates you, and then rely on the news cycle to promptly flush the truth down the memory hole.
He does this a lot. Here are just five of the most outrageous examples:
1. After Trump's Grab 'em by the Vagina Monologues became the surprise hit of the fall, numerous women came forward alleging Trump had assaulted or harassed them. Trump said they were all liars — and besides, he claimed, some of them were too ugly to assault. He also claimed he could easily refute the allegations: "We already have substantial evidence to dispute these lies, and it will be made public in an appropriate way, and at an appropriate time, very soon," Trump said at a Florida campaign rally.
Uh, not really.
The only evidence the campaign ever offered was a preposterous New York Post story in which a supposed eyewitness claimed he was present when one of the incidents allegedly occurred. The witness, Anthony Gilberthorpe, was apparently a serial hoaxster who had no corroborating evidence and would have been just 18 at the time of the incident. Nevertheless, he claimed to know that the accuser, Jessica Leeds, was lying about what had happened.
As Judd Legum noted in Think Progress: "Why was an 18-year-old from England on a first class domestic flight? How could he possibly have observed Trump and Leeds at all times? Why would the flight have been memorable absent any incident? Why would a woman in her thirties confess to an 18-year-old boy she doesn’t know that she wants to marry a man she just sat next to on a plane?"
But Trump's bluster did the trick: He managed to assuage the fears of his supporters by suggesting he'd been set up and defamed by a bevy of hateful women who were in the tank for Hillary.
2. On December 31, 2016, Trump claimed that he knew "things that other people don't know" about Russia's hacking and interference in the election, and he promised to reveal the information the following week.
Needless to say, that didn't happen.
A little less than two weeks later, on January 11, Trump said, "As far as hacking, I think it was Russia, but we also get hacked by other countries and other people." As Wired.com pointed out, he offered "no acknowledgement that he's just admitted to a conclusion he's fought, denied, and skirted for more than seven months."
3. During an April 2011 interview with the Today show, Trump claimed he had sent investigators to Hawaii to uncover the truth about Barack Obama's birth certificate. "They cannot believe what they're finding," he said.
Given the tenacity with which Trump pursued his predecessor, if they'd found anything it would have surely been front-page news in every newspaper across the globe, and Sean Hannity would still be devoting full episodes to it. But nothing was ever revealed.
4. In July 2016, Trump claimed that the Democrats were trying to rig the debates by scheduling two of them opposite big NFL games. It was obviously a bogus claim because the debate schedule had been set by a bipartisan group almost a year earlier. Shortly thereafter, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, Trump said, "I’ll tell you what I don’t like. It’s against two NFL games. I got a letter from the NFL saying, 'This is ridiculous.'”
The NFL's response was unequivocal.
"We did not send a letter to Trump," a league spokesman told CNN's Brian Stelter.
5. This may be the most brazen and bizarre example. On March 3, 2016, Trump was taking heat over the now-defunct Trump University during a Fox News debate, and he countered the criticism by citing what he claimed were positive ratings from the Better Business Bureau. During a break, Trump handed the debate moderators a piece of paper and said, "Better Business Bureau just sent it ... this just came in." Presumably the document bolstered Trump's claims that the BBB had elevated Trump U's rating to an "A."
The Better Business Bureau quickly responded: "A video released by Independent Journal implies that BBB sent a fax in the middle of last night's Republican debate, which we did not. The BBB Business Review of Trump Entrepreneur Initiative (formerly Trump University) has shown 'No Rating' continually since September 2015. The photo tweeted out after the debate last night did not show the current BBB Business Review or the current rating."
So, yeah, he just made it up.
He loves doing this because he knows enough people will believe his B.S. to allow him to muddy the waters, and all he really needs is for some of the people to believe him most of the time.
The "liberal" media have to stop letting him get away with it.