All Seriousness Aside

As I said, all seriousness aside.

An Abstract Scenario: Admit the Truth and Explain It, Or Just Keep on Fibbin’

Let us say you have a client with a problem. If I were cute, I would call him Individual-1 or Client-1. But cuteness is alien to my nature, so I shall call this abstract, hypothetical client, Client X.

Client X has a problem, and his problem is that he has engaged in a course of conduct that is highly embarrassing, particularly in view of the fact that he is running for high public office. Though embarrassing, this conduct is not illegal. Or at least it isn’t illegal in any obvious and easily demonstrated respect.

You will immediately see that you and Client X have two choices. One choice is that, when confronted with the facts, your client admits the facts, gets you to explain persuasively that there is no illegality, and then brazens out the bad publicity.

This is plainly the better of two unpleasant choices.

But Client X does not want to take the better choice. Client X wants, instead, to lie through his teeth.

And why, pray tell, is Client X so determined to lie like a rub? First of all, for the blindingly obvious reason that the truth is both embarrassing and politically damaging. Second, and almost equally salient, is the fact that Client X is a lying liar who has been telling whoppers all his life. In consequence, Client X is firmly convinced that he is an accomplished liar and can keep on getting away with his prevarications. So why not risk the embarrassment?

The Downsides of Fibbin’ Instead of Explainin’

In the fever swamp of your client’s brain the second choice seems the better option, but in fact it is the worse option, for at least these three reasons.

First, it’s not going to work: given the fishbowl in which Client X now operates, the lie will be found out.

Second, as and when the inevitable occurs and the lie is discovered, many will assume (not necessarily correctly, but assume they will) that Client X would not have lied in the first place unless the facts were really damning.

And third, having learned of Client X’s lie, they will be less inclined to believe him about other matters, even if, mirabile dictu, he is speaking the truth.

“That’s My Story, and I’m Stickin’ to it—Until I Can’t Stick with it Any Longer”

Trump’s current story about the Trump Moscow Tower appears to be that, yes, he was trying to do a deal up to mid-2016; and yes, he has been lying about it ever since; but no nevermind, because now that he has been caught, he can explain it all away.

Given all that, he asks rhetorically, where lies the harm in the fact that I have been pulling your leg?

This is what I have flippantly called the so-I-lied defense and the so-you-caught-me defense.

These phrases, by the way, are not original with me. It was a not uncommon in the world of corporate defense litigation to see people choosing the lie over the embarrassing explanation.

But What About the Kompromat?

If, however, we go beyond the abstract question–lie or admit and explain–and look at the actual circumstances, we see that Trump–Client X–has another big problem: by lyiingl, he has given kompromat, blackmail material, to the Ruskies.

Haven’t heard a Trump response to that one.

On the other hand, I don’t think that argument will bother the base.

So, as a matter of prudence, probably the you-make-yourself-vulnerable-to-blackmail-by-an-enemy-of-the-United-States argument won’t justify impeachment, because it probably won’t carry enough weight with the base.

And What if the Facts Show the Ruskies Actually USED the Kompromat to Try to Bend Trump to their Will?

Then, I think, we would be in impeachment territory. Mr. and Mrs. Jones would not, I believe, be amused.

And What if the Facts Show that Trump Actually Succumbed to Russian Blackmail?

Then we will be off to the races.