It was a seminal moment in a startling interview. On the eleventh of May, 2017, Donald Trump, in furtherance of explaining why he fired James Comey, told NBC’s Lester Holt, “You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.” In a stroke Trump confessed he had the “Russia thing” on his mind when firing Comey, which was a virtual certainty, according to informed legal analysts, that Trump obstructed justice, and he’d just admitted it.
Perhaps it has taken fifteen months for Trump’s team to finally convince him he admitted to breaking the law back then, or maybe Trump has noticed at last that the walls of the criminal justice system are beginning to close around him. Whatever the case, in a bizarre and juvenile attempt to cover his tracks, on Thursday Trump tweeted: “What’s going on at CNN is happening, to different degrees, at other networks – with NBC News being the worst. The good news is that Andy Lack(y) is about to be fired(?) for incompetence, and much worse. When Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia, they were hurt badly!”
That last line is, to be sure, something of a puzzle. Truly Trump isn’t now, after all this time, implying that his fifteen month old obstruction of justice confession is a counterfeit, a forgery, a deliberate attempt to make him look guilty by persons unknown at NBC altering the original tape? There’s a lot to unpack here. If he thinks that then why, for instance, did he wait so long to say so? And does he actually think he can explain away his confession with this bizarre forgery accusation?
Perhaps. When it comes to Trump, anything is possible. But however he decides to pursue the implications of this outlandish tweet you may rest assured that the wackier elements at Fox News and his rabid base are ready and willing to swallow it whole and untasted. Stay tuned for further developments.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.