Josh Marshall may be on to something.
Sometimes it’s worth stepping back and stating the obvious. Over the course of these thirty months of cover-ups, every player in the Trump/Russia story has lied about their role in the conspiracy. And not hedging and spinning fibs but straight up lies about the core nature of their involvement, their overt acts. Most – though here what we know is a bit more tentative – seem to have lied under oath, whether to congressional committees or a grand jury. Not a single one of them told a story that wasn’t eventually contradicted and disproved. Not a single one.
Who? Well, let’s see. Donald Trump, Jr., Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Donald Trump, Jerome Corsi, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Carter Page, Jared Kushner. These are ones who lied, the ones we can state definitively. I’m not including the marginal players, folks like Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan. I’m not including those who just never spoke at all – at least not in public.
His inevitable conclusion is that they’re all guilty. Perhaps not of a crime, but an innocent person doesn’t risk criminal charges by lying.
Then again, there’s Trump who lies about everything without even thinking about it. It’s not even to cover up suspicious activity; it’s just his natural state. Does that mean he’s guilty? That’s a bit harder to prove, but it does mean that convicting him of a crime, whether it’s collusion with a foreign government to win an election or taking a lot of money from unsuspecting and gullible people for a fictional university degree, is a lot harder because you have to prove criminal intent. And it’s hard to prove that for someone who lies by nature, the same way some people fart.
So I think this is how it’s all going to end: Trump will be convicted — or at least indicted — for serial lying, not for the actual thing he’s lying about. Trump’s defenders have already come up with a way to dismiss it, but those were the same folks who went after Bill Clinton and demanded his head for lying about his affairs, so take that for what it’s worth. It’s an old song; it’s what’s been the downfall of just about everyone else who’s had scandal or questions arise about their behavior: the lying is what does it.