Politics

The transcript of Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony to the Senate was released today. And we learned that Junior has the memory of a goldfish. There is no event significant enough that this antithesis of Mr. Memory isn’t capable of forgetting. You have to wonder at the scope of his amnesia. But then reality sets in. It may be believable that you can’t remember what you had for breakfast last Tuesday. But not that you can’t remember whether you have ever had breakfast.

Congress should make a rule that a witness is limited to a finite number of “I don’t remember”s. Past that, the assumption should be that the subject is in effect ‘taking the fifth’.

There will be protests. Jeff Sessions will be particularly opposed to the measure. But while Congress’ reputation is at a low ebb, it is the constitutionally mandated ‘people’s house’ and as such shouldn’t be held in disdain by some low-rent jackanapes.

(Aside: I do wish that a Senator had asked Junior why he thought he was qualified to run a company with memory as weak as his.)

When Junior wasn’t forgetting things, he was telling such whoppers that even evangelicals bushed at the audacity. For example, he claimed his father was unaware of the infamous meeting of the campaign with Russians at Trump Tower in 2016.

Let’s dissect this absurd assertion. Can Junior expect anyone beyond the most blinkered zealot to believe that a powwow between Trump’s son, his son-in-law, and his campaign manager on one side and agents of a foreign government, the Russians no less, on the other, wasn’t known to his father?

Consider the Trumps. They know it is far easier to celebrate the promise of an action than the completion of it. There is no way that Junior, having set up this opportunity to get ‘dirt’ on his father’s opponent, wouldn’t have immediately hopped on a phone or run down to Dad’s office to show off his new finger-painting.

The lie is obvious and despicable.

But even as I say that, let me offer a word – not so much in defense of Junior – but in explanation of his atrophied character. He was raised surrounded by sycophants who no doubt showered him with undeserved compliments to gain favor from his father — flattery is the curse of the children of successful or prominent people. Without proper guidance from their parents, they can assume they were instrumental in the family’s achievements and believe that they are more than they are.

And Trump Sr. would be the last man to give an impressionable young man good guidance. From dad, Junior would learn that bombast, hyperbole, incivility and lying — often just for the sake of lying — were key attributes to get ahead in business.

Perhaps a smarter man, a more nuanced thinker, would have seen the trap of his upbringing. But Junior is the type of idiot who is convinced he is the smartest man in the room — no matter who’s in the room.

Thankfully for Junior, he paid enough heed to his lawyers that at first examination he didn’t tell any provable lies before Congress. However, Mueller knows what Mueller knows. And while Junior wasn’t sworn in, the transcript reveals that he was explicitly told that lying to Congress is a crime.

Should Junior and Mueller come to a showdown, it will not bode well for the Prince. In a battle of wits, he is half the man Mueller is.

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