A Parable For the Trump Age
What follows is a short parable about believing the statements of Donald Trump, any of his children, any of his spokespeople, any of his attorneys, and any of his apologists (including Pence, McConnell, Ryan, Gingrich, and all rightwing pundits). It shows that even the very newspapers exposing their lies unwittingly end up repeating and supporting many of those lies as “facts”.
You will see that some creative license has been taken. Editorial comments are in brackets.
Obama/U.S. Intelligence Agencies/Intelligence agencies of U.S. allies: Russia hacked the U.S. election in an unprecedented and successful effort to install Trump as president. While so far there’s no evidence voter machines were compromised [because we have not looked and Congress won’t audit the vote], this is an attack on the United States and threatens our national security and the very functioning and fabric of our society.
[Earlier in our story: McConnell to Obama: I’ll blackmail your ass if you tell the American public about Russia’s hacking. This info shall not be released, if ever, until after the election.
Obama: Since Hillary will win, and Mitch McConnell/the GOP calling me partisan is The Worst Thing Ever, OK.
Comey (11 days before the election): But her emails!
Comey: (2 days before the election): Oops, my bad. Not her emails!]
Trump: I AND MY CAMPAIGN HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA! NOTHING! REMOVAL OF THE UKRAINE POINT FROM THE RNC PLATFORM IS MERE COINCIDENCE! MANAFORT HAD NO ROLE IN THE CAMPAIGN. WHO IS CARTER PAGE? NEVER HEARD OF HIM. DITTO FELIX SATER. DITTO PUTIN. I DON’T KNOW PUTIN.
Pence, Kellyanne, Spicer, Sessions, all GOP, Trump Jr., rightwing TV pundits: Trump and his campaign have nothing to do with Russia.
Trump: Russia is a hoax. The U.S. intelligence community is shit. No puppet. Hillary is the puppet.
Kushner: I had no meetings with anyone from Russia ever. See my forms that I carefully filled out because I am transparent and need a security clearance with which to undertake my massive portfolio, for which I have tons of experience.
Sessions: I had no meetings with anyone from Russia ever. See my testimony and my forms, which I carefully filled out because I am trustworthy and honest.
Flynn: I am not a foreign agent of Turkey and I never talked to Kislyak, especially about sanctions. I would never do that! I am a friendly guy who likes to call Kislyak five times on December 29, 2016 to discuss Christmas, the weather, family vacations, and the like. No one from the Trump team even knew I was calling. Definitely not Trump.
Pence: Flynn did not have relations with that Kislyak! No one from the campaign had anything to do with Russia.
NYT/WaPo: Flynn had relations with that Kislyak.
Pence: Flynn lied to me!
Trump/press/GOP/Spicer: Flynn lied to Pence. He’s being fired for lying to Pence, but he’s a great guy. Such a shame he lied to Pence like that. [Note: His firing did not have anything to do with his having relations with that Kislyak, or for having been exposed by the NYT as having had relations with that Kislyak and repeatedly lying to THE AMERICAN PUBLIC about those calls to Kislyak.]
Yates: I warned Trump three weeks before NYT/WaPo reported it, that Flynn had had relations with that Kislyak, and that Pence’s Jan 15th statements in support of Flynn on the White House’s behalf were wrong and could expose him to blackmail.
Trump/GOP/Spicer/press in ALL SUBSEQUENT REPORTING: Flynn was fired for lying to Pence, causing Trump to lose confidence in him [NOT because the press found out that Flynn’s statements were lies and thus Pence’s defense was not credible]
NYT/WaPo: Sessions also had relations with that Kislyak.
Sessions: Oops, mah word, ah plumb forgot. But, nothin’ burger, ah assure y’all. Also, mean Al Franken tricked little me.
Trump/GOP/rightwing pundits: Such nothingburgers. Sessions plumb forgot! Everyone meets with Kislyak and doesn’t disclose it, because it is all such a nothingburger.
Trump: Russia is a hoax cooked up by the evil Hillary, evil Obama, and sore loser Democrats! Immigrants voted for Hillary! I WON fair and square. Witch hunt!
NYT/WaPo: Kushner had meetings with Kislyak; tried to set up a backchannel with Russia; sought loans for his family’s business during transition.
Trump: Russia is a hoax. Jared will fix the Middle East, re-invigorate the economy, and cure cancer.
Kushner lawyers: He voluntarily amended his form. Forgot meetings because so focused on his portfolio and because the meetings with all the various Russians were such nothingburgers. Fully transparent. Also, nothing of any importance was discussed. That is why the meetings were arranged in secret, conducted in secret, and not disclosed. Because there was nothing to them at all.
GOP/rightwing pundits: Omitted Kushner meetings are nothingburgers. What’s the big deal, sore loser Democrats are fixated on a partisan witch hunt! What about Hillary’s emails?
Trump/Spicer/Kellyann/Sara Huckabee Sanders/GOP/press: No evidence of collusion! No relations with Russia. All mention of Russia is a partisan effort by sore loser Dems to stall Trump’s ambitious agenda of dismantling democracy, enriching the rich, entrenching inequality, and making sure poor people die for lack of food, education, health care, and housing. There have been no discussions of lifting sanctions or relieving Trump’s Russian debts (which we don’t concede exist)! No quid pro quo! Nothing. Trump has nothing to do with Russia.
Trump/White House/Spicer/Kellyann: Trump fired Comey because he was mean to Hillary. Rod Rosenstein told him to do it, so he did; and there’s a memo to prove it. Also, Sessions told him to, too, despite Sessions being recused.
White House/Spicer/KellyAnn: Trump fired Comey because the whole FBI rank and file lost confidence in him. We can’t have that. Trump is especially concerned about the morale of the deep state he wants to eliminate.
McCabe: The FBI loves Comey; the rank and file did not lose confidence in him.
Rosenstein: I didn’t tell Trump to fire Comey.
Trump: I fired Comey because I wanted that Russia monkey off my damn back.
Trump to Russia: That Comey was a nutjob, amiright? I was stoked to kick that whackjob to the curb. BTW, here’s some great intel from Israel. Wanna see our situation room? (Don’t worry, there’s no U.S. press here — they’ll never know!)
Rightwing pundits: What’s wrong with collusion? Collusion is not illegal. It’s no big deal.
Trump: I asked Putin if he interfered in our election and he said no. Then I asked him AGAIN in a totally tricky way, and he still said no. That just shows you, Russia is a hoax. Also, we are collaborating on cyber-security to help each other not interfere in each other’s elections going forward. He told me the only way he could guarantee that Russia won’t hack our election is if I give him the personal voting information on every single registered voter in America; that’s how he will know exactly who not to target next time. I told him Kris Kobach would get right on that.
NYT: Trump Jr. and Kushner and Manafort had a meeting with the Russians about getting dirt on Hillary.
Trump. Jr : I took the meeting as a favor to a mere acquaintance — it was with some woman whose name I do not even KNOW and who I never even HEARD OF and that’s why I took the meeting in Trump Tower, because I always take meetings with random women (who are untrustworthy b/c female, amiright?) and it was for like 12 minutes — just introductory — and we talked about adoptions. (That’s the kinda guy I am. I love orphans. I help them like my daddy helps the vets.) What’s the big deal — we didn’t talk about the campaign or lifting sanctions or defeating Hillary or dirt on Hillary or anything interesting, like, at ALL. Plus, there was no follow-up. I had a forgettable meeting with some woman. And while I did ask Jared and Paul to stop by, it was superduper quick. Jared left, like, SO FAST. Nothingburger!
Trump Jr. lawyer: There’s nothing to see here, folks. I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I’ve never in all my three decades of investigations seen more of a nothingburger. Orphans and adoptions? Snooze, y’all!
GOP/rightwing pundits/KellyAnn: This is a forgettable nothingburger. No wonder Kushner forget to mention it originally! The short discussion on adoption went nowhere, so it’s natural he forgot about a meeting so forgettable he was barely in attendance at it.
Kushner: I am fully transparent. I amended my form for the 100th time; doesn’t that prove it?
NYT: Here is evidence that Trump Jr is lying. Not only were Kushner and Manafort at the meetimg, the woman is a Russian attorney deeply connected to the Kremlin, and we know that Trump Jr. was told in advance that the purpose of the meeting was to get dirt on HRC.
Trump Jr.: I didn’t even know the woman’s name! So that shows how innocent this all was. And there is nothing wrong with opposition research. The meeting was supershort and only about adoption and nothing about the campaign or HIllary was discussed and Jared left after like 2 minutes and Manafort played games on his iphone. Total snoozefest — I mean nothingburger. Never mentioned it to Daddy. Daddy had no idea.
GOP/rightwing pundits/KellyAnn: Junior had no clue in advance this woman was a lawyer connected in any way with the Kremlin, if she even is, which she isn’t. Opposition research is totally normal, even if it’s with a hostile foreign power hell-bent on installing Trump. Trump knew nothing.
NYT: The adoption issue was a Russian response to the Magnitsky Act, which is the basis for massive U.S. sanctions on Russia that were imposed in 2014 and that Putin wants lifted. Also, we are about to publish the emails proving definitively that Trump Jr. is a total liar. For example, they will show that Little Donald was told in advance that the purpose of the meeting was to obtain dirt on HRC from the Russian government to help Trump get elected, and that that effort was “part of” the Russian government’s support for Trump.
Trump Jr.: I am a fully transparent and amazingly decent young man. Here is the entire email chain about this meeting! All they show is totally routine opposition research, and anyone else would have done the same. Besides, we didn’t get any dirt (I totally swear it), so what a waste of my valuable time. Jared left the minute it was obvious we’d been set up — no good oppo at all, and we were stuck talking about adoption! Manafort was polite, he stuck around pretending to listen but actually playing Angry Birds, and the whole thing lasted maybe 20 minutes, 30 tops. Not a word about Hillary, the election, the campaign, Putin, lifting sanctions, not calling my dad’s loans, not even Trump Tower Moscow! Nada. Just adoption, believe me. Nothingburger. No follow up, just a failed, every day attempt at collusion! My dad had NO CLUE.
Trump Jr.’s attorney: Nothingburger! I have never in all my years of being a mob lawyer seen such a big burger made of such nothing. Also, the meeting lasted 20–30 minutes and Jared left after 10 minutes and Manafort was on his phone and nothing came of it, no follow up. And Trump Sr. didn’t know.
Most of GOP/rightwing pundits: Nothingburger! Failed collusion is totally normal; anyone would have done the same. It doesn’t count as working with a hostile foreign power to manipulate an election if the foreign power doesn’t bring the goods they promised. Also, the meeting lasted 30 minutes, Jared left after 10 minutes, Manafort was on his phone the whole time, they talked about adoption and nothing else, Trump Sr. had no clue. Certainly there was no, and we mean NO, discussion of the campaign or the election; that is why Kushner and Manafort were there — because the meeting had absolutely nothing to do with the campaign or the election.
Press: The meeting lasted 30 minutes, Jared left after 10 minutes, Manafort was on his phone, there was no evidence of any follow up. Trump learned of the meeting only when NYT broke the story.
Trump: I knew before then, actually. I knew months ago from my upstanding and fully transparent son, who is a high quality young man of merely 39 who has only five children. Can’t be sure…but I think he may have told me on or about June 7th that the meeting was coming up.
Press (dutifully): The meeting lasted 30 minutes, Jared left after 10 minutes, Manafort was on his iphone, they talked about the Magnitsky Act. Trump knew earlier than 3 days ago but no evidence of follow up or successful collusion.
Veselnitskaya: The meeting lasted 30 minutes, we talked about adoption, Goldstone took me there, Jared and Manafort (whose names I didn’t know) were there and Junior.
Press (looking more closely at the email, noticing that Emin Algarov had said there’d be two names given to security): There were 6 people at the meeting, not five! Six people at the meeting that lasted 30 minutes that Jared left after 10 that Manafort didn’t pay attention to.
Trump: Everything is Obama’s fault for letting the witch who tricked my son into the country. Putin wanted Hillary to win. Russia is a hoax.
Press: Ahkmetshin was also at the meeting. Ahkmetshin says he got a call from Veselnitskaya asking him to attend the meeting that lasted 30 minutes that Jared left after 10 minutes that Manafort paid no attention to at which only adoption was discussed.
Iowa GOP Rep King: Journalists better back off this Russia stuff or I will re-open our 15th investigation into Hillary’s emails. [This last one is NOT creative license. It happened.]