“What is the cost of lies?” asked Valery Legasov in HBO’s brilliant Chernobyl mini-series.
It wasn’t a rhetorical question. Legasov had an answer: “It’s not that we’ll mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all.”
Trump campaign manager Steven Bannon put it a little more succinctly when he summarized how to enact his alt-right agenda: “Flood the zone with shit.”
And so here we are, four years later, with a significant portion of the country unable to recognize truth – that Joe Biden won the election. 50 days after the 2020 election and Donald Trump is still claiming that he won, still filing lawsuits seeking to overturn the election, and encouraging congress to reject the results of the electoral college, which has already voted. These lies have been lucrative for Trump. He has raised over $250 million SINCE the election by telling supporters the funds are going to the legal fight to keep him in office. That’s a lie. The funds have been split between the Republican Party and a Trump PAC. As for the campaign funds themselves, Jared Kushner was operating a shell company to mask where over $600 million of the campaign’s money went. We do not know where all of it was spent, but we do know a large amount of that was directed to Trump family members.
Trump has now pardoned multiple people convicted of lying to the FBI in order to protect him during the Mueller probe – Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, George Papadopoulos, Alex Van der Zwaan. He pardoned 4 Blackwater mercenaries convicted of murdering over a dozen Iraqi civilians, including a nine year old boy who was shot in the head. He pardoned two border patrol agents convicted of shooting an unarmed man in the back. He pardoned Jared Kushner’s father. Charles Kushner arranged for a prostitute to sleep with his brother in law. Kushner filmed the act then sent it to his own sister. Why? To prevent her from testifying against him. He has pardoned multiple former Republican congressmen convicted of embezzlement and securities fraud. He is using the pardon power to protect those who obstructed the Mueller investigation to save him, to help personal friends, and to excuse the sorts of financial crimes he himself has been accused of.
The White House has been extremely opaque regarding their own Covid-19 infections. Every outbreak has been broken by the media, rather than released by the White House. We recently learned the head of White House security has been suffering from a severe case of Covid-19 for months. One foot and part of his other leg have been amputated. He’s currently running a GoFundMe to pay his medical bills. His boss claims to be one of the richest people on the planet and could wipe out his debt in an instant. He will not do so.
Trump’s political appointees at the CDC went to great lengths to lie about the state of the pandemic. Redfield himself instructed staff to delete an email from a Michael Caputo advisor seeking to alter the CDC’s weekly Morbidity and Mortality report. Caputo and his aid also sought to downplay the use of masks, alter data to promote the use of hydroxychloroquine, and to promote herd immunity over effective countermeasures. Why? To service Donald Trump’s lies about the virus.
Following other departments which have been instructed not to cooperate with the transition process, Betsy Devos told career staff to “be the resistance” against the Biden administration. Yesterday, staff at the White House were given instructions about how their jobs would wind down and about their last days in the building. (This is the normal process). A memo went out today telling them all to ignore those instructions entirely. The implication is that Donald Trump might still be the president.
States have not received their requested amounts of the Pfizer vaccine as Pfizer has said they have a large amount of the vaccine sitting idle in a warehouse. Why? The Trump administration did not instruct Pfizer on where to send the vaccine.
Trump tweeted out a video of a Texas elector saying that Chief Justice Roberts got into a shouting match regarding one of Trump’s bullshit lawsuits. The claim was that Roberts knew Trump’s case was sound but was killing it for… reasons. The Texas elector got this story from the alt-right media. And they got it from an anonymous post on 4-chan from someone claiming to be a Supreme Court clerk. At any point in that chain from “journalist” to president, the story would have fallen apart under the most basic fact checking. The Supreme Court has not met in person since the beginning of March.
Trump is touting a “report” from sycophant Peter Navarro. I’ll note that in Navarro’s books he was unable to find anyone in the field of economics who agreed with his ideas so he invented one, using an anagram of his own name. The report contains several disproven claims about how Trump actually won the election. Philip Bump did an excellent takedown here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/18/this-might-be-most-embarrassing-document-created-by-white-house-staffer/#click=https://t.co/7WflP1PIdk
Russia has undertaken the largest intrusion into US government computer systems in history. As usual, Trump responded to the revelation by calling the information itself into question but also saying it may have been China. It was not. The White House had a statement drafted announcing Russia’s responsibility for the hack. Trump stopped the statement from being released. Trump also said China may have been the country which hacked DNC email systems, said he didn’t see why it would be Russia who interfered in the 2016 election, and said it was fake news that Russia had paid bounties on US troops in Afghanistan. At every turn, Trump has gone to great lengths to say Russia has committed no wrong.