In an op-ed published today, Washington Post columnist Paul Waldman asks his readers to imagine that Trump is right about the Russia collusion being a hoax.
“If that were the case, how would they all have conducted themselves as this controversy has gone on?” he asks, inferring, “If they were all innocent, they would be telling the truth about what they did and didn’t do.”
Trump and his allies are acting “like the guiltiest bunch of people since Richard M. Nixon’s Committee to Reelect the President,” the columnist argues. In order to prove his point, Waldman listed a number of lies Trump and his associate have told about the Russia collusion. For instance, the president claimed to have no financial or other ties to Russia until a few days ago. Following Michael Cohen’s revelation that Trump was pursuing a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, the president said that his team was “very open” about the deal.
The president’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., initially denied meeting with Kremlin-affiliated individuals at the Trump Tower in order to obtain damaging information about Hillary Clinton. That narrative lasted one day, since the New York Times provided emails showing that Trump, Jr. had, in fact, met with a Kremlin associate in an effort to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, denied being present at the meeting as well, only to have his statements contradicted by the New York Times a day later.
Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, changed his story a couple of times, but subsequently admitted to making false statements to Congress. Much like Cohen, Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, admitted to lying to Congress about his conversation with a Russian government official. Early Trump supporter and now-former Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a number of false statements in relation to Russia as well, according to the columnist.
Opinion | Lies, lies and more lies: This is not how innocent people act https://t.co/nHkvAppplo— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 30, 2018
Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, businessman and Trump ally Erik Prince, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Michael Flynn’s former deputy, K.T. McFarland, have all made a number of false, and misleading claims in relation to Russia collusion, according to the Washington Post‘s columnist.
“This is not how innocent people act,” Waldman writes, adding that lying is not a crime in and of itself, but that those who lie likely have something to hide. “What we can say for sure is that the president, his family members, his employees and his associates are acting as though they’re not just guilty, but spectacularly guilty,” the columnist concludes.