Arlene Violet: Donald Trump: Prevaricator-in-chief

By Arlene Violet
Posted 8/31/20

The Senate Intelligence Committee released its final bipartisan report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. This committee, dominated by Republicans, published that the Trump team and …

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Arlene Violet: Donald Trump: Prevaricator-in-chief


The Senate Intelligence Committee released its final bipartisan report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. This committee, dominated by Republicans, published that the Trump team and Mr. Trump himself was aware of and welcomed Russian meddling.

Despite the President’s denial under oath in his written response to the special prosecutor, Robert Mueller, the almost 1000-page tome establishes that Mr. Trump did, in fact, speak to Roger Stone and his campaign team on numerous occasions about the wiki-leaks hacked from the Democratic Campaign chair’s computer. (Report, p. 222-251). Mr. Stone was convicted of perjury but Mr. Trump granted him clemency.

Russia’s efforts to influence the campaign extended to Mr. Trump’s family, including Donald Trump, Jr. and the President’s son-in law, Jared Kushner. (p. 332). Both men as well as another Trump operative were referred to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation but Attorney General Barr has apparently sat on any follow-up.

While the report criticized the FBI for not conducting a rigorous or thorough vetting of the so-called Steele report which outlined salacious accusations regarding Mr. Trump’s personal conduct in Russia, it, nonetheless, debunked the “witch hunt” epithet and “conspiracy” theory thrown around by the President since the Committee found that Carter Page, a Trumpian campaign advisor, was a justified target of inquiry by the FBI.

In sum, this report rebuts the Trump assertion that there was “nothing there” and that the Russian hacking of computer networks and accounts affiliated with the Democratic Party was known and encouraged by the Trump campaign. The Trump campaign chair, Paul Manafort, shared information with the Russian intelligence services on so many numerous occasions that it rose to the level of “a grave counterintelligence threat”. Included in the report are two pieces of information (heavily redacted) that Mr. Manafort was connected to the "hack and leak" operations. Roger Stone's attempt to have the Wiki-Leaks material released within 1/2 hour after the Access Hollywood tape (in which Trump bragged about grabbing women by their genitals) went public is delimited in the report although it is left for the public to conclude what it wants about the timing.

Trump supporters, no doubt, will excuse the President by claiming he didn’t know what his Campaign manager, campaign advisors, and family were doing. Usually, they are the same people who scorn the “lack of knowledge” by RI House Speaker Nick Mattiello, that he didn’t know about the alleged illegal deal made by his campaign manager, Jeff Britt, in his tight reelection quest. How they can give credence to a person who is a serial prevaricator is a mystery.

The Washington Post has a fact-checker which asserts that as of June 1, President Trump has made 19,127 false or misleading claims in 1226 days. At each rally he runs through a list that easily tops 60 falsities. One Trump stump is that he has passed the biggest tax cut (0.9 percent) in history, even bigger than Ronald Reagan (2.9 percent) Another is that the border wall is being built. Congress wouldn’t fund the concrete barrier he wanted so only three miles of bollard fencing which is easily breached is on land that previously didn’t have a barrier. And so it goes.

If President Trump were Pinocchio his nose would extend from the White House to the Capitol Building.

Arlene Violet is an attorney and former Rhode Island Attorney General.

Arlene Violet

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