As I said last night, facts are absolute, the truth is relative. And perception becomes reality sometimes through misuse of facts. #fucktrump knows this well. He also knows that often facts don’t matter.
Trump learned a lot from his mentor Roy Cohn. Cohn, as you may recall, was legal counsel to Joseph McCarthy during the communist inquisitions of the 1950’s. Cohn taught trump many things. It’s clear that Trump is using the techniques of McCarthyism. But I think Cohn didn’t teach him well enough.
Facts can be used to spin a narrative. Facts are absolute. 1+1=2. I can try to change that, lie, claim that 1+1=3. In Trump’s mind it often seems to. But the fact of the equation hasn’t changed. What Trump needs to learn is that the narrative is being used against him in many cases. Sure, his core supporters aren’t listening, don’t care, but many do.
Let’s start with some apparent facts. Jared Kushner met with representatives from a Russian bank. The bank is the subject of sanctions, I believe related to the Crimea thing (although it could be something else). Doing business with the bank likely violates US law. The bank has close connections to Putin. It advertises on it’s website that it works with the Russian government. All facts. But what does the narrative say?
One narrative that can be spun is treason, that Kushner met as part of the election scheme to work with the Russians to undermine the election. More likely as follow-up, because the meeting seems to have taken place after the election. Was treason committed? I can’t say. I don’t know what was said, who was at the meeting. But connecting a lot of pieces to the narrative, including Trump’s call for Russian hackers to find Hillary’s “lost” emails lets us spin a treason story.
A far more innocuous story can be told as well, that the meeting was innocent, connected to the Trump transition, that Kushner was reaching out to Putin through a common intermediary. This sounds purely innocent.
Another story being spun could lead us to conclude that this was a business meeting, that Kushner, acting on behalf of the Trump companies, was working with a bank to fund activities of said companies. This narrative certainly looks to be illegal under the sanctions that were imposed. It could also lead to an impeachable offense under the emoluments clause if Trump benefits from it financially as president. Is that what happened? Again, we don’t know.
So, the advice to Trump? Start telling the truth about what happened in these sorts of events. Yes, the truth is relative, but offer a narrative that fits the facts, explains who, what, when and why. Because if you don’t, as any good trial lawyer can tell you, the one with the best narrative wins, the facts stop mattering. But then again, perhaps this is what #fucktrump wants. As any good magician can tell you, a sleight of hand works best when attention is diverted away from the things you don’t want seen.