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Trump’s Distort-and-Delay Playbook

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They’re doing it again. Trump and company are “getting out ahead of the facts” by spinning a story, weaving a phony narrative, and deceiving the public.

The Trump crew employed to great effect a distort-and-delay approach to release of the Mueller Report and seems to be using the same tactics with regard to the current whistleblower’s complaint. You will recall that Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr on March 22, 2019, after which Barr promptly “summarized” the report, manipulating its key findings and tying the whole thing up with a “Nothing-to-see-Here” ribbon.

Barr did not provide a redacted version of the Mueller Report to Congress and the public until April 18, 2019. By the time the redacted version finally saw the light of day, the damning findings were viewed through Barr’s month-long “summary” smoke screen. Barr knew that few of us would plow through the 400-plus page report and kept his deception simple, giving Trump days on end to bellow “No collusion, no obstruction — total exoneration!” That’s not what Mueller found and Barr knew it. But by then Barr had dropped the pretense of being our nation’s attorney; his only client was Donald J. Trump. And by then Barr’s misleading version of the Mueller Report had eclipsed the report itself.

Now they’re running the same play again. We know that a whistleblower told the Inspector General of a phone call in which Trump made concerning promises to a foreign leader. The Inspector General found the whistleblower’s account credible and urgent. The Inspector General reported his findings to the Acting Director of National Security. At that point, the law required the Acting Director to forward the Inspector General’s findings to the appropriate committees in Congress. But did he?

Heck, no. He hustled over to Mr. Barr’s shop and, to no one’s surprise, was told he could not comply with the plain requirements of the law. So, as of this writing, neither Congress nor the American people know the specifics of the whistleblower’s concern. As intrepid reporters ferret out bits and pieces of the story, we learn just enough to give Trump and company running room to deny any wrongdoing, disparage any who voice concerns, and denigrate the brave person who dared to blow the whistle. Trump’s tired refrains of “witch hunt,” and “hoax,” have sprung with astonishing alacrity from the lips of his enablers in Congress and apologists on Fox “News.”

The Trump playbook is brazen. It resorts to bullying and obfuscation. And, as with the Mueller Report, it requires the ever shameless Rudy Giuliani to hustle, however ineptly, to Trump’s defense. The Trumpsters learned something from their handling of the Mueller Report – that fogging up and fudging the facts before the facts are known, and slow-walking their release, inures to Trump’s benefit. We’ve seen this movie before, and the ending wasn’t pretty.

UPDATE After submitting this column to Ridenbaugh Press, I came across an article that said much the same thing in much the same way. Although I had not read this article prior to submitting my column, I wanted to share it and publicly acknowledge the similarity. Here is the link: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/deny-divert-discredit-trump-turns-his-scandal-playbook-once-again-n1057181.
 

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