I have sat on a few juries in my time. Probably the most interesting was my time sitting on the Grand Jury of New Jersey. Every Friday I would travel to Trenton and listen as the prosecutors presented their case against a variety of alleged crimes committed by a whole host of various individuals and companies.
The most common cases involved corruption of government officials, this was New Jersey mind you, and illegal dumping of waste into the New Jersey water system. The Grand Jury was presented with a variety of evidence spanning from hard evidence, such as hidden camera video of public officials accepting monetary bribes and placing the ill-gotten gains directly into their desks, to documentary evidence, such as emails, to witness testimony.
Now, of course, when it comes to witness testimony, the major obstacle to overcome is how to break through the tendency for such testimony to be reduced to a so-called “he said, she said” type of debate. Accordingly, when it comes to witness testimony, a great deal of issues must be considered. Are there ulterior motives involved? What is the credibility of the individual witness? How believable is the testimony provided?
Well, there are definitely things to look for when it comes to witness testimony, but possibly the most persuasive is the corroboration of the sworn testimony by other witnesses. That brings us to one Donald J. Trump, current President of the United States and, quite likely, the key target of the Special Counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election headed by former Director of the FBI Robert Mueller.
The key to any investigation or court hearing is the ability to arrive at the truth, what really happened, who can really be trusted. In the world of Donald J. Trump, the truth, or lack thereof, is always at the center of any issue. One would hope that the head of the federal government, not to mention the free world, should possess some level of credibility. Not so with Trump who, as president, obviously is of the opinion that he is above both the law and the truth. That, of course, does not prevent him from accusing anyone and everyone who do not say nice things about him of being out and out LIARS!
That list is quite lengthy and is forever growing. Aaron Blake of the New York Times, or as Trump baselessly claims the “failing New York Times,” compiled a list of many of the individuals called a liar by Trump. The list includes Pulitzer Prize winning author/reporter on the heels of his recently released expose “Fear,” Bob Woodward, former FBI Director James Comey, Christopher Steele of Steele Dossier fame, former Trump manipulator Steve Bannon, former National Security Adviser to Trump and flipper Michael Flynn, convicted Trump adviser George Papadopoulos, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, author of White House expose “Fire and Fury” Michael Wolff, former Trump “apprentice” and protégé and author of the Trump exposé “Unhinged” Omarosa Manigault Newman, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Congresswomen Frederica Wilson and Maxine Waters, former Director of the CIA among other intelligence roles John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico, Carmen Yulin Cruz, former president Barack Obama, the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a whole, the CIA as a whole, the National Security Agency as a whole, the “dishonest press” but specifically CNN, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, the New York Times and the Washington Post, all of the some twenty or more of his sexual harassment victims/accusers and even members of the Boy Scouts of America. And this is only a partial list.
As Aaron Blake points out in his piece, the only person Trump makes sure not to call a liar is Vladimir Putin.
Recently, Trump claimed that the women raising sexual abuse allegations against Brett Kavanaugh were doing so for “fame and money.” Trump has also quite often ridiculed anonymous sources as not believable since, as he claimed, these anonymous sources would not stand behind their statements by putting forth their identity. Well, Mr. President, you cannot have it both ways. Either the accusers who came forward need to be taken seriously and their accusations verified or you have to believe the anonymous accuser of Kavanaugh for NOT coming forward with her identity.
Speaking of Kavanaugh, credibility is not one of his strong points as he evaded directly answering questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats question after question after question. “Renate alumnus” referred to “friendship” and not about sexual conquest, real or imagined? Really. “I don’t remember knowing Dr. Ford in high school” even though SHE was able to identify his two closest friends and be able to call one by his high school nickname, P.J. Really? An innocent person would implore the president to call for reopening the FBI investigation to conduct further interviews of named parties to close all doubt regarding his innocence and exonerate him fully and finally. One who fears exposure of wrongdoing would not seek further inquiries. That is the Brett Kavanaugh, Justice of the Supreme Court nominee. As important as credibility is for witnesses, credibility for judges is even more important, especially on the highest court of the land.
Now, back to the Trump honor roll. Clearly the criteria for making the president’s list of “liars” is simply saying something “not nice” about the current president, you know, the truth, regardless of the validity of what was said or implied.
With regard to “he said, she said” testimony, in the world of Trump, when you have so many claiming “not nice things” about Trump, and Trump dismissing all of those assessments as outright lies, one has no choice but to come to the conclusion that most likely the credibility is with the many and not the one – Trump.
Truth is not determined by a majority vote, but in this case the magnitude of the numbers cannot and should not be taken lightly. It is said that the “truth will set you free.” Not, I suspect, when it comes to Trump and the completion of the Mueller investigation.