Beware! Here there be tygers Stephen King
One of the big problems with trying to pin Trump directly down with anything is that Don Cheeto Cornholeone is an old fashioned Mafioso. It’s not just the fact that Trump refuses to have an e-mail account, because even he is smart enough to know that “delete” doesn’t really mean “disappear.” Trump is equally paranoid about paper.
Trump’s aversion to paper is well documented. In running his business, Trump never actually signs something unless it’s absolutely necessary. When something is brought to him on paper, if he doesn’t have to sign it, once he pretends to read it he tears it up into confetti, As president, aides have had to repeatedly warn him that he can’t do this, as it violates the Official Records Act yet he persists. Trump prefers in all things to do business the old fashioned way, verbally, either face-to-face, or over the phone. This leaves Trump with plausible deniability on almost any subject or conversation.
But even as Trump strives to lead a papyrus free existence, a facet of his own personality will ensure that, given enough time, it is paper that will finally bring him down. Here’s what I’m talking about. If the word gets around town that you cheat at cards, it doesn’t take very long before suddenly nobody is showing up for your Thursday night poker game. Likewise, when word gets around that you’ll even lie about the color of your own eyes, people will take steps to protect themselves when dealing with you, in order to protect themselves.
In watching coverage of William Barr’s decrepit barn collapse on handing over “underlying documents” from the Mueller probe last night, I was struck by the insane number of “personal notes” that Mueller collected that Nadler wants in his hot little judicial hands. Notes from Hope Hicks, Amy Donaldson, Don McGahs, Reince Priebus, John Kelly, the list goes on and on. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a request in there for notes in crayon from Dennis fucking Rodman about his last visit to North Korea! And it appears that a lot of these notes are not standard “official documents” of meetings, these are person notes that the participants took as memorializing in real time those events.
James Comey is the poster child for this. With little personal knowledge of, and limited personal action with the new president, from his first meeting Comey felt the overpowering need to cover his own ass when dealing with Trump. He instinctively knew that getting into a he-said,-he-said with the sitting President of the United States was a losing proposition without spontaneous, date and time stamped records of his conversations. And just as sure as God made little green apples, they served the purpose Comey intended them to beautifully in later months.
As with so many thing in his life, Trump has miscalculated, and badly. In his business, his employees were dependent on him for their very livelihood. If Da Boss said “no notes,” there were no notes taken. In a pissing contest with Trump, his word was going to carry the day anyway. But pretty much anybody who was with Trump early enough to go with him to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue knew his tactics and personality. They also understood that at best this was an 8 year contract. And at the end of those years, these people still wanted to have viable career opportunities, and decent reputations. Those might be difficult to maintain while wearing an orange jumpsuit. And so they took the necessary steps to protect themselves.
When these notes come out, and I honestly believe that they will, they will crucify Trump on a myriad of critical issues. One of the reasons that they will come out is because Bill Barr is bone lazy. It’s clear that The Ewok didn’t even read and grasp the 400 page Mueller report before writing up his “Glory be!” exoneration of His Lowness. You think he’s going to go pawing around in boxes and folders to find out what individual notes of meetings say? The most devastating notes are going to be the ones where multiple people were in the same room for a meeting. Mainly because all of those separate notes will provide verification and corroboration for each other on the content of Trump’s comments.
If it weren’t so funny, it would be sad. Who knows, in a hundred years from now, Trump’s signature on a document may be extremely valuable, simply because it’s so rare, but that won’t save him next month. Trump is about to learn that while he may be able to control what he says, he can’t control what other people say about him. or what they write down that he said, either. Let the games begin.
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