Thursday, June 01, 2023

The Braggadocio of a Con Artist Moron (w/ Update)

I don't know when or who originated the phrase "LORDY THERE ARE TAPES" but by now it's clearly referring to donald trump and his ongoing cons where he's caught on audio or film bragging about the crimes he's pulling (via Digby quoting from CNN): 

Federal prosecutors have obtained an audio recording of a summer 2021 meeting in which former President Donald Trump acknowledges he held onto a classified Pentagon document about a potential attack on Iran, multiple sources told CNN, undercutting his argument that he declassified everything.

The recording indicates Trump understood he retained classified material after leaving the White House, according to multiple sources familiar with the investigation. On the recording, Trump’s comments suggest he would like to share the information but he’s aware of limitations on his ability post-presidency to declassify records, two of the sources said...

As Digby notes:

I guess this recording is seen as proof that Trump’s daft insistence that he declassified everything in his mind is bogus because he told these people that it was classified and he couldn’t share it. Needless to say, Trump would just say that he was lying about the document still being classified in order to protect the country but it doesn’t look good.

As I was writing this blog post, it turned out that David A. Graham at The Atlantic also titled his article "LORDY THERE ARE TAPES" and this is where I found out it was James Comey who originated the phrase when Congress questioned him about trump firing him back in 2017. So that little mystery solved, while Graham spells out how troubling this is for trump:

In the ongoing classified-documents scandal, though, the tapes seem to exist. CNN and The New York Times report that Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating Trump’s removal of secret records to Mar-a-Lago, has obtained a recording in which the former president discussed his possession of a sensitive document. According to the outlets, Trump indicates that he knows it’s classified and is aware he cannot share it.

The content of the tape is important for any prosecution of Trump, which would have to prove he knew that what he was doing was wrong. But the circumstances of the recording are also revealing about how Trump operates, and the way he seems to understand bad press as a graver threat than criminal prosecution...

I would argue otherwise, but let's give Graham his points:

Given that mishandling of classified materials by former officials is apparently common, Smith appears to also be focusing on whether Trump attempted to hide the documents from the federal government once they were requested and then subpoenaed. Reports indicate that Trump had boxes moved to hide them and lied to his attorneys about the material, and an aide allegedly inquired about how long surveillance video was maintained. (Lordy, maybe there are lots of tapes.)

Aside from the egregious violation of the Stringer Bell rule—or perhaps just the Richard Nixon rule—that recording evidence of one’s own criminality represents, the tape would demonstrate yet again Trump’s reckless disregard for the law. Consider the circumstances for the recording. In July 2021, two writers working with former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on his autobiography interviewed Trump at his Bedminster, New Jersey, club. Meadows was not present...

Trump was, as usual, in a score-settling mood. A recent New Yorker report had claimed that in the final days of his administration, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley had taken steps to prevent Trump from ordering a strike on Iran. The story was opaque on its sourcing, but it narrated events from Milley’s own perspective. Trump, who likes to portray himself as a dovish, isolationist opponent of warmongering generals, was furious. At the meeting with the two writers, Trump brandished a report that he claimed was Milley’s plan for an assault on Iran, and said that the general had repeatedly urged him to mount an attack...

But Trump was reluctant to show the memoir writers the actual document, according to the reports, because he knew it was still classified and they did not have security clearances. He may not have always been so fastidious. Smith is reportedly also investigating whether Trump showed several visitors a classified map.

The recording that Smith has obtained was reportedly made not by the writers but by Margo Martin, a Trump aide who “​​routinely taped the interviews he gave for books being written about him that year,” according to the Times. The former president was apparently worried about being misrepresented or misquoted...

Because Lord knows a liar on the scale of trump himself hates to get misquoted. It is interesting to note that trump is claiming the classified documents absolve him of any warmongering towards Iran, but then refuses to let others confirm what was in those documents. trump is either lying about the contents of those docs, or was honestly exposing classified materials to people who didn't have proper clearance. Either way, he's fucked.

(As a side note, one of the reasons there were recorders in the Oval Office was because Kennedy and LBJ both wanted verbal evidence of the things the CIA and other agencies were telling them, because there had been a breakdown of trust after the Bay of Pigs. Also, for their memoirs. Nixon ironically had the system removed when he stepped into office in 1969 but re-installed it later for those reasons. I digress.)  

This is Graham's view of trump's actions:

To summarize: Trump’s fear of damaging press—whether in the Milley reports or the Meadows book—was so much greater than his fear of criminal accountability that he ended up making an incriminating recording that could be a key piece of his own prosecution.

This is where I disagree. trump wasn't and isn't afraid of bad press. In his mind, all press is good, because it gets him the attention he craves, and he bulldozes through every terrifying report of his damaging behavior without a care. Look at how he handled the Access Hollywood revelations, look at how he ignores every red flag thrown up about his terrible business record, look at how he mocks anyone who questions what he does.

donald trump did what he did because he was convinced - remains convinced, even as criminal investigations tighten around him like chains - he was and still is above the law. As a celebrity, as a business CEO billionaire (although that is questionable), as the President of the United States Loser of the Popular Vote Twice. 

This is why he screams on social media about "WITCH HUNTS" that are honest criminal investigations into the federal and state laws he's violated. This is why he excuses away every bullying phone conversation he has with other people to lie or cheat for him as "perfect in every way." This is why he whines like a five-year-old about how everyone else is "unfair" to him whenever he's held accountable.

This is why donald trump brags about breaking laws, because he believes nobody can force him to answer for the crimes he's done.

And why not think like that? After all, there's been reports since the 1980s about trump pulling unethical if not illegal stunts with his business plans and property holdings. At any time over the decades, the legal authorities - the FBI, the IRS, the state attorneys, the Manhattan DA's office, the SEC, anybody - could have dug into the allegations of money laundering and tax evasion that were out there. But none of them did. They were too busy going after Martha Stewart, who went to jail for less than anything trump's ever done.

All these years of getting away with his fraudulent schemes - the failed casinos, the sham university, the products with TRUMP stamped over them that few people really bought - gave trump the delusion he was untouchable. And given his needs - to be adored (not loved), to be feared, to be worshipped - this always leads trump to happily and openly brag about what he's done. Everybody else can be guilty, but not him: trump deems himself perfect in every way.

This is why trump's defense in the Carroll sexual assault trial failed: His own deposition had him claiming that what he did was allowed, that celebrities - that men of power like himself - had the privilege to do whatever they - meaning himself - liked.

trump couldn't let go of all those Presidential records he had because he knew they gave him power, that they were symbols of his office. This is why he keeps claiming "those documents are MINE" as though they were personal belongings instead of government documents. It's why trump held onto classified materials he knew were still classified, because he could show them off to others and brag while doing so.

One of the things to ALWAYS remember about trump, more than his sins of lying, his wrath, his lust, his greed: trump's PRIDE must always dictate that he pose himself as greater than he is. trump must always brag about things - not only lie about things that never happen, but crow about the things that did - in order to make himself look good. Always.

Just remember the full Biblical warning about Pride: Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

trump is all about the haughty and the pride. Here comes his fall.

Update 6/2: The media now reports that trump's own lawyers - required by that warrant to turn over such things - cannot find the classified documents that trump bragged about having. This means one of three things.

1) trump never really had a military plan by Gen. Milley to attack Iran, and he was just lying to the witnesses in order to impress them. This is actually the easiest thing for trump, because all this means is he lied - again! - to a mainstream media that has always forgiven his gaslighting.

2) trump still has those documents secured somewhere his lawyers were barred from searching, meaning he is openly defying a warrant to hand over such materials. His lawyers will be in trouble, even trump could be in trouble before Special Counsel Smith even drops indictments on him. One possible response will be the courts issuing Smith's team a blanket warrant to search EVERY property where trump could be hiding that document - and any others that the National Archives are certain haven't been recovered.

3) trump gave up those documents to someone else. This is the nightmare scenario: trump may have sold those documents to a third party - say, a foreign nation that has a vested interest in what the U.S. may do to Iran - to profit himself at the expense of U.S. intelligence services. It doesn't even matter if trump gave those plans to an allied nation: any information from those docs could be parsed for evidence of how our intel agencies acquired their intel, exposing field agents and reliable sources to potential harm if our "allies" don't like the idea of people among them working for us. THIS is straight-up espionage, the level of crime we haven't seen since Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen

We are looking at a former President Loser of the Popular Vote Twice being charged with some of the highest crimes in the law books.

1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

Faced with a subpoena for the referenced document, Fergus' lawyers are claiming that they can't find it. He may have just made it up for the sake of getting back at Milley, who most likely did produce a similar document at Fergus' behest during one of his dalliances with military power, but the existence of the bragged about document isn't the point: the acknowledgement of the law he is subject to is the tool Jack Smith is looking for.

-Doug in Sugar Pine