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As the shit continues to pile up……

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Author Topic: As the shit continues to pile up……  (Read 42 times)
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Having fun in the hills!

« on: March 28, 2018, 12:45:47 am »

from The Washington Post....

Raging, isolated Trump can't bluff his way out this time

Trump faces Stormy Daniels and other female accusers, just as his legal team
is collapsing in the face of the intensifying Mueller probe.

By GREG SARGENT | 10:08AM EDT — Monday, March 26, 2018

President Donald J. Trump, left, and Stormy Daniels. — Photographs: The Washington Post.
President Donald J. Trump, left, and Stormy Daniels. — Photographs: The Washington Post.

PRESIDENT TRUMP has boundless faith in his ability to survive any financial, political, legal or public relations mess, by resorting to what philosopher Harry Frankfurt famously described as bullshit. Time and again over the years, he has fallen back on his trademark tactics: bluffing with abandon; suing to overwhelm his antagonists with legal bills; fighting back as hard as possible, solely to dissuade future foes; flooding the media zone with confusion-sowing falsehoods; and, above all, never admitting to error, wrong-doing or deliberate lying.

But now, with Stormy Daniels speaking out about Trump — even as Trump's legal team is falling apart, just as the Mueller probe is set to hit its climax — it's hard to escape the sense that Trump's titanic talent for bullshitting may be faltering in the face of the crush of events he now faces.

On CBS last night, Daniels finally told her tale about the 2006 affair she claims she had with Trump. In so doing, she opened up new narrative lines that ensure this story will continue. She allowed that she had accepted $130,000 in hush money from Trump lawyer Michael Cohen before the election, and admitted she lied by saying the affair never happened once the news of that payment broke. But she claimed she did so because she was legally threatened, which CBS reports came from Cohen. Daniels also claimed that after trying to go public with her story about Trump in 2011, a man physically threatened her in front of her child.

Daniels's new comments mean the focus will continue on questions such as whether Trump knew about the payment his lawyer made and whether it constituted an unlawful campaign contribution, as former FEC chairman Trevor Potter claims it does.

Cohen's lawyer sent Daniels's lawyer a cease-and-desist letter accusing Daniels of false statements about him. This morning, Daniels's lawyer Michael Avenatti, fired back by claiming that he and Daniels are only “getting started”, adding that Cohen has “zero credibility” and that the full truth will all come out before long. In other words, the story will continue — with a focus both on Trump's treatment of women and his tendency to surround himself with thuggish characters.

CNN reports that Trump “has become irked by the wall-to-wall coverage of the alleged affair on news shows in recent days.” But Trump is largely constrained from hitting back, since tweeting angrily in response would only draw more attention to those elements of the story.

And there's more: In addition to being sued by Daniels, who wants to get her non-disclosure agreement with Trump invalidated, Trump faces two other new female accusers who have initiated legal actions of their own designed to free them up to talk. All this activity could result in discovery and even Trump depositions that keep these stories alive, too.

It is at precisely this moment that Trump's legal team is dwindling and in disarray in the face of another mounting threat, this one from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation. The Washington Post reports that Joseph diGenova will not represent Trump, leaving him temporarily “without a criminal defense attorney.” Trump furiously tweeted that lawyers are falling all over themselves to represent Trump, but everyone knows that's utter nonsense.

As it is, Trump had wanted diGenova because he was impressed by his appearances on Fox News. And in that context, this, from The Post's story, is a notable detail:

Trump had hoped diGenova could serve as a surrogate in television interviews and play the role of attack dog in criticizing the Mueller probe.

Trump continues to approach the Mueller probe as a P.R. problem — i.e., one that he and his allies can bluster their way out of in conventional Trumpian fashion — rather than as something potentially a lot worse. Remember, this comes just as Trump and what's left of his legal team are trying to decide whether Trump should sit for an interview with Mueller. Trump has repeatedly said he relishes facing Mueller, and the lawyer advising caution — John Dowd — is now gone.  Trump's instinct to bluff and bluster his way through the Mueller probe is more likely to go unchecked — even as he is less likely to fully prepare for the very real legal perils an interview will pose.

The imperative of fighting back has long been central to Trump's public philosophy. As he put it in his 2007 book: “If you're afraid to fight back people will think of you as a loser, a ‘schmuck’!”

But Trump is constrained from fighting back against his female accusers. And the more he succumbs to his instinct to “fight back” against Mueller, the worse off he will be.


• Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog for The Washington Post, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant — what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left. He joined The Post in early 2009, after stints at Talking Points Memo, New York Magazine and the New York Observer. He lives in Maryland with his wife, son and daughter.


Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Key moments from Stormy Daniels's ‘60 Minutes” interview

 • ‘Not in a punch-back mode’: Why Trump has been largely silent on Stormy Daniels

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If you aren't living life on the edge, you're taking up too much space! 

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