Las Vegas Sun

August 19, 2019

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Sun editorial:

In taking a shot at his former lawyer, Trump impugns his own credibility


Seth Wenig / AP

In this April 11, 2018, file photo, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former attorney, walks along a sidewalk in New York.

President Donald Trump would have Americans believe that Michael Cohen’s guilty plea and statements to prosecutors aren’t valid because Cohen is a known liar.

Yes, the man who made serial lying mainstream is now saying that lying disqualifies someone from being taken legitimately. That being the case, did Trump just inadvertently disqualify himself?

This is a man who, according to The Washington Post, made 7,645 false or misleading public claims through his first 710 days in office. That’s an average of 10.7 lies per day.

He stands before U.S. troops in Iraq and lies about getting them their first pay raise in more than 10 years. He says Democrats are talking about ending health care coverage for pre-existing conditions.

He tells reporters he knows nothing about a payment to Stormy Daniels or where Cohen, his former personal lawyer and fixer, got the money to make the payment. He then acknowledges later that he was aware of it and knew where the money was coming from.

He lies consistently and frequently about his ties to Russia and has done its bidding, then launches his latest attack on Cohen after reports that the lawyer lied to Congress about the extent of Trump’s involvement in work on an aborted Moscow tower deal.

On and on he goes. Trump’s list of “Pants on Fire” lies at Politico runs five pages long and counting.

So as far as him calling Cohen a liar, well, it takes one to know one, right?

If Trump’s position that lying is completely disqualifying is to be taken seriously, Trump can’t pass his own test. He’s the liar in chief who has debased the presidency. He behaves as if there is no objective reality and acts like a wannabe authoritarian who tries to get Americans to accept that he’s the lone source of truth. (“Just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” he told the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention.)

Now Trump accuses Cohen of “lying to reduce his jail time,” even though Cohen was sentenced weeks ago to three years in prison after taking responsibility for what a judge called a “veritable smorgasbord of criminal conduct.”

With Cohen set to testify to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Feb. 7, it smells like Trump is trying to discredit him as he prepares to take questions from lawmakers.

Trump, meanwhile, has been consistently inconsistent with his story on the Daniels affair as his initial blanket denial began falling apart.

As details have surfaced — a recording in which he discussed the payments with Cohen, as well as seizures of laptops, texts and phones from Cohen — ample evidence has emerged to validate Cohen’s account now, despite past lies. Evidence matters.

So to use a Trump phrase, we’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, though, Trump’s logic about liars bears some irony. If proven lies are disqualifying, how can a man whose own lies on Russia, Daniels and any number of other fronts make any claim to legitimacy?