How Would We Know?

Someone close to me is close to someone who routinely lies to her. It is very uncomfortable for me to see her in this position, since if you can’t trust somebody you rely on, how can you trust them — or rely on them? The lies have not been small or infrequent, they are regular, big and sometimes about things of great importance.

Once, trying to be supportive, a few years back, I asked how this person (who I can’t stand) was doing.

“How would I know?” she said, wearily.

Point taken. I no longer ask her how the untruthful fellow is doing.

I’ve been watching the often excellent legal analyses of former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner on youTube. I began to notice his insightful take on law and justice during Mr. Trump’s attorney, General Barr’s, attempt to finally do what fired FBI Director James Comey would not do — make the “Flynn thing” go away.

Mr. Trump’s former National Security Advisor General Mike Flynn, we recall, was fired by Mr. Trump after it came out that Flynn had lied about illegal contacts with the Russian ambassador, lies that VP Mike Pence then repeated as true on television. Flynn then lied to the FBI about lying, eventually pleading guilty as part of a plea deal that involved admitting other lies (involving payments from Turkey and Saudi Arabia).

Trump was outraged at the persecution of this good, loyal man (Flynn had led the “Lock Her UP!” chant at the RNC) and made his outrage known, in speeches and via twitter. Eventually, AG Barr decided that the crimes Flynn had pleaded guilty to were not actually crimes after all — and that he’d been trapped into lying by liars and likely criminals — and Barr now seeks to dismiss the DOJ’s case against Flynn outright.

Kirschner has been fiercely following every detail of Judge Emmet Sullivan’s principled stand to get a coherent explanation for this seemingly politically motivated DOJ reversal — the highly unusual dismissal of a prosecution after a guilty plea. Naturally, Judge Sullivan is vilified on FOX as an “abjectly biased” politically corrupt judge persecuting the wrongfully prosecuted, innocent General Flynn out of political animus, something Ronald Reagan surely never suspected of Sullivan when he appointed him to the federal bench in 1984 [1].

Anyway, good people, on all sides, one supposes. Back to Glenn Kirschner — he has been questioning whether the president even has the coronavirus at all or whether it is merely a stunt to refocus and change a political narrative that is going very badly for the president lately in the weeks that will decide if he is re-elected or becomes a criminal defendant at more than one trial.

Kirschner keeps insisting that he won’t believe Trump is sick unless he hears it from a reputable source, like Anthony Fauci. He has been pointing out the many contradictions and abrupt changes in the official reports of how sick the president actually is. Many of these constantly shifting comments from the president’s spokespeople have been ridiculous, even in the age of Trump.

What we know is limited: Mr. Trump took no test Tuesday night before his debate with Joe Biden, his close associate Hope Hicks, who he’d been campaigning with, had symptoms and tested positive Wednesday, he then met with big money donors on Thursday, shortly before (or possibly after) his positive covid test result came back. When was his last negative test? When did his symptoms start?

I didn’t really get why Kirschner was so exercised on this point — or what the upside of Trump pretending to be very sick could be– until yesterday. I kept wondering what Trump has to gain by claiming to have been felled by the coronavirus he has been downplaying for months.

Kirschner explained yesterday, after Trump checked himself out of the hospital, pulled off his mask and stood on the White House balcony in his bare-chested Putin on horseback moment. Trump smiled his infectious smile, or a game attempt at his infectious smile, no less infectious for being less than 100% convincing. He looked tired in that short appearance for the cameras; haggard, his eyes smaller than usual and red.

The first part of Kirshner’s point about Trump’s actual medical condition was the obvious “how would we know?” There is nobody of any credibility remaining around the president, outside of Dr. Fauci.

The second part, which I just got, is the strongman propaganda value of an indomitable president refusing to be dominated by a deadly disease. If Trump is hospitalized with serious enough COVID symptoms to need steroids, oxygen, experimental monoclonal antibody treatment, then — in only three days– has a miraculous recovery, shouldn’t we all believe in miracles just a little more than we already do? The miracle is much easier to pull off if the recovery was after a non-illness, it stands to reason.

Just because somebody has lied many times, by long habit, by reflex, and insists that people lie constantly on his behalf, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be telling the truth now.

Call it a miracle if you want. Some people will call “bullshit!” — others will see the will of God, working in divinely mysterious ways, through this most imperfect of imperfect vessels.

[1]

They discuss the politically corrupt Flynn case on FOX

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