I Google-Newsed “defending Robert Mueller” just to see what came up and who’s been doing it lately. Result? It would appear that the highest-profile defender of the special counsel over the past two weeks or so is not Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi, not Tom Steyer or George Soros. Although it is another George: Conway, as in husband of Kellyanne, arch-conservative, and the man who two decades ago had a hand in introducing America to Monica Lewinsky.
Democrats: Where are you and what on earth are you doing? The attacks on Mueller are relentless and disgusting. Sunday, The Washington Post reported that the Liars’ Club, from Potus to Rudy to Newt on down, are “prepared for war” when the time comes that Mueller releases his report. Mueller could produce a video tape of Donald Trump in Red Square in 2016 being handed a briefcase that says “Dirtski on Hillary,” with Trump saying, “Spasibo, thank you, Comrade, for handing me this file on Crooked Hillary right here in broad daylight,” and even then the lies wouldn’t stop. They’ve been lying already about cold, hard evidence that we actually have in hand—whenever any of them bark that Mueller “has turned up nothing,” they’re just not counting the five guilty pleas, two from former Trump campaign aides, or the 19 indictments returned by a grand jury.
While all this is going on, who’s out there defending Mueller? George Conway.
So it’s no wonder that Mueller’s poll numbers are shaky. One public poll last week actually had Mueller’s favorability numbers underwater at 32 to 36 percent. An Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for The Daily Beast found slightly better numbers, but not by a lot: This one has 35 favorable and 27 unfavorable. Among Democrats, it was 50-16; among independents, still above water at 35-28; among Republicans 23-42; and among Fox News viewers 17-48 (who are those 17?).
That Post story indicated that there will in fact be two Mueller reports. A first and shorter report will deal with whether Trump obstructed justice. That could come out this year, perhaps before the election. I hope it doesn’t. I think anything after July is getting too close to the election. Yes, we have to extend fairness even to these gangsters so that we don’t become like them. Besides which, a report released this fall that says Trump obstructed justice will motivate the Kool-Aid Caucus to go vote. (A second, fuller report on the whole Russia shebang sounds like it will drop next year.)
And it seems to me virtually certain the first report will indeed say that Trump obstructed justice, because how could it not? He’s obstructed justice right in front of us. The Lester Holt interview, but so much else. Here are some specifics, from Norm Eisen and two Brookings colleagues; a handy little paper to familiarize yourself with.
He’s obstructed justice right in front of us because he doesn’t know or care what obstruction of justice is, because he’s ignorant and proudly so. And he’s obstructed justice right in front of us because even if he did know, he wouldn’t care, because he is a pathological liar.
I did some reading over the weekend about lying. There’s a difference between a pathological liar and a compulsive liar. From an addiction-counseling website: “A pathological liar, also known as a sociopath, is quite different from a compulsive liar. The pathological liar will lie for absolutely no reason and do so very convincingly. As clinical psychologist Martha Stout told Interview Magazine, they often lie just to see if they can trick people. These people are great at lying in all circumstances because they completely lack empathy for others.”
Sound like anybody you know?
Trump lies just because he likes lying more than he likes telling the truth; it’s more fun. Also, he may not even really know he’s lying—debate rages in psychology circles about whether pathological liars are even aware of their own falsehoods.
Also, like of all history’s demagogues, he knows it works. I read a bit about all that, too. Researchers call it the “illusory truth effect”—the natural tendency to believe information after hearing it repeatedly. There have even been studies where subjects know a fact at the beginning but after repeated exposure to a non-fact, they drop their “loyalty” to the earlier-known fact and accept the non-fact.
For demagogues, it isn’t hard or complicated. Just keep lying; even—and especially!—after you’ve been proven a liar. A lot of people will still believe you.
People need to understand this. Even if we get a Mueller report that lays out solid proof of obstruction of justice, Trump and his sycophants will not lay down their arms and say “Gee, he’s right.” They will lie harder and more blatantly and more viciously than ever before. They will go into overdrive trying to destroy Mueller, because destroying Mueller will be all they’ll have left.
Who will defend him? I guess the Democrats will when the time comes. But they should be defending him now. And rich liberals should be defending him now. I mentioned Soros and Steyer above because some wealthy liberal or liberals ought to be funding a public service ad campaign running commercials right now in 50 swing congressional districts explaining/reminding people that two former Trump campaign aides have already pleaded guilty and that 19 people or firms are under indictment, and that Ken Starr investigated Bill Clinton for four years before he issued a report while Mueller has been at this barely more than a year. I can guarantee you that if the situation were reversed, a similar conservative enterprise would already exist and be lavishly funded and operating under some Orwellian name like the Emergency Committee for Truth and out there getting talked about and influencing public opinion.
Why don’t Democrats and liberals get this? This is literally the future of the republic we’re talking about here. If Trump can stampede this investigation, and the Republicans in Congress allow him to, and then they (and Russia) steal the next election, this country is done for. Ripping babies out of their mothers’ arms will look quaint by 2023 if these people aren’t stopped.
So that’s all that’s at stake, Democrats and liberal donors. Would you please wake up and fight?