On the morning of the November 2016 election I was talking with our local mayor. We both at the time expected Hillary Clinton to win the election. The mayor said America had dodged a bullet by not electing Trump who we both had noted was an uninhibited liar. I was less optimistic than the mayor. I remarked that even if Trump loses, he's proved that bald-faced lying can be the basis of a successful political campaign. I said the damage to America was already done by Trump.
I predicted that other candidates for other offices would not feel constrained to stick to facts or worry about fact-checkers. I am not a Pollyanna who thinks that politicians before Trump never strayed from the facts. In the past, politicians have exaggerated, spun, shaded the truth, lied by omission and made promises they had little hope of keeping. But they generally felt constrained not to be caught in an out-an-out lie. Not so for Trump. His lying was fast and furious. Fact-checkers couldn't keep up. Trump took political lying to a new and blatant level.
Unfortunately, my dire predictions came to pass. Witness the members of Congress who are lying about the last election claiming it was stolen from Trump. They are happy to play their part in a "vacuous circle" in which they cast doubt on the election's legitimacy, causing their constituents to doubt the outcome, then these politicians call for "audits" and investigations into the last election because their constituents have doubts.
I fully expected that Trump's lying and his minimization of facts would be pervasive. I don't expect that Trump would be able to cause his cultish supporters to minimize criminal activity by claiming (falsely) that everybody defrauds the IRS. Or even worse, Trump and other Republicans are minimizing the criminal actions of the January 6th insurrectionists.
Highlights: Indictment of Trump Organization, and Allen Weisselberg
AND THE GRAND JURY AFORESAID, by this indictment, further accuses the defendants the Trump Corporation, d/b/a the Trump Organization, Trump Payroll Corp., d/b/a the Trump, Organization, and Allen Weisselberg of the crime of CONSPIRACY IN THE FOURTH DEGREE, in violation of Penal Law § 105.10(1), committed as follows:
The defendants and Unindicted Co-conspirator #1, in the County of New York and elsewhere, during the period from on or about March 31, 2005 to on or about June 30, 2021, with, intent that conduct constituting a class C felony, to wit, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, be ‘performed, agreed with one or more persons to engage in and cause the performance of such conduct.
AND THE GRAND JURY AFORESAID, by this indictment, accuses the defendant Allen Weisselberg of the crime of GRAND LARCENY IN THE SECOND DEGREE, in violation of Penal Law § 155.40(1), committed as follows:
The defendant Allen Weisselberg, in the County of New York and elsewhere, during the ‘period from on or about April 5, 2010 to on or about April 27, 2018 stole property from the United States Internal Revenue Service and the value of the property exceeded fifty thousand dollars.
(Thanks to islander for posting the indictment today in another thread).