Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Trump is free to say anything he wants




Donald Trump keeps getting things wrong. And there’s not much we can do about it.

By Chris Cillizza By Chris Cillizza

The Fix


Analysis is interpretation of the news based on evidence, including data, as well as anticipating how events might unfold based on past events

March 21 at 2:35 PM

Comey: No information to support Trump's wiretapping tweets
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FBI Director James B. Comey said at a House Intelligence Committee hearing that he has no information that Trump Tower was wiretapped by former president Barack Obama. (Reuters)

FBI Director James B. Comey said at a House Intelligence Committee hearing that he has no information that Trump Tower was wiretapped by former president Barack Obama. FBI Director James B. Comey says he has no information that Trump Tower was wiretapped by former president Barack Obama. (Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post/Reuters)

Here are the first two lines of a terrific piece written Monday by Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker:

On the 60th day of his presidency came the hardest truth for Donald Trump.

He was wrong.

Which is right. Trump spent the last month insisting that President Barack Obama had ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower despite offering zero evidence to back up that claim. And, on Monday, FBI Director James B. Comey made very clear — in a public congressional hearing no less! — that neither the FBI nor the broader Justice Department had found any support for that claim.

Comey joins former director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and Obama in insisting that no evidence exists to back up Trump’s claim. Trump and his senior aides continue to make vague assurances that other information might be out there, but have yet to offer any proof for those claims.

Put simply: It’s now fairly obvious that the current president of the United States made a baseless and serious accusation about the man he succeeded in the White House. He claimed, falsely, that he had been wiretapped and insinuated it was part of a broader effort led by the sitting administration to keep him from winning.

That seems like a very big deal, right?

And it is! But, the truth of the matter is that the consequences for Trump for this sort of behavior are, well, very amorphous.


Democrats — and even some Republicans — are calling on Trump to apologize to Obama. But, beyond that? Nothing. And, even an apology from Trump, which — guess what? — isn't coming, seems like a very small price to pay for the allegation.

The simple fact is that short of impeachment, which is used extremely sparingly and rightly so, there is a relative pittance of punitive measures for a president like Trump who is willing to say things that just aren’t true. Shame has long been the tool of choice in politics. As in: A president says something that fact-checkers rule is totally false. The president, concerned — even if he won’t acknowledge it — about how he is perceived by the political class, either apologizes for the remark or just stops saying it. Like the political class or hate them, that shaming was a way of regulating political rhetoric.

Trump is not interested in the opinions of the political class. In fact, he likes the idea of sticking it to those people and believes it is fundamental to his political brand. Which it is! The issue, in this context, is that without any sort of way to regulate or punish Trump short of impeachment, it means that the president has very few limitations on what he says or does.

No modern president has taken advantage of that fact in ways that Trump has. He simply creates his own reality — often through tweets to his 26.8 million followers — and then ignores any attempts to hold him accountable to the facts. Because shame doesn’t work on him, there’s almost nothing to be done to change his behavior.

Trump is a president unlike any we have ever seen before. His willingness to stretch the bounds of truth — and then be unapologetic about doing so — is something we’ve not seen on a regular basis in the White House before now. (Yes, Republicans, Bill Clinton lied about his affair with a White House intern. And he was impeached — by the House — for it.) Trump understands that the punitive consequences for continuing to insist that he was wiretapped are relatively minimal. And so he will keep doing

Above is from:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/03/21/donald-trump-keeps-getting-things-wrong-and-theres-not-much-we-can-do-about-it/?hpid=hp_hp-cards_hp-card-politics%3Ahomepage%2Fcard&utm_term=.c7e7d26b02a4

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