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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Trump, Nixon, Perjury, Memory

In Defying the Odds, we describe Trump's penchant for getting in trouble.

President Trump slammed James Comey as a “leaker” and a liar on Friday — and committed “100%” to testify under oath to refute the former FBI director’s allegations that he directed him to drop a probe into a top aide.
Trump has broken many commitments so we cannot assume that he will follow through and testify under oath.   If he does, he could expose himself to a charge of perjury.  Democrats are eager to put him in such a position.

They should curb their enthusiasm. Trump has been under oath before.

A year ago, NBC reported:
Donald Trump claims to have a world-class memory, but it certainly wasn't on display during his deposition for a lawsuit over Trump University.
"I don't remember," Trump told lawyers 35 times during his December testimony, which was released on Wednesday.
The year before that, ABC reported:
Though he touts his outstanding memory, when Donald Trump was asked under oath about his dealings with a twice-convicted Russian émigré who served prison time and had documented mafia connections, the real estate mogul was at a loss.
Even though the man, Felix Sater, had played a role in a number of high-profile Trump-branded projects across the country.
“If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn't know what he looked like,” Trump testified in a video deposition for a civil lawsuit two years ago.
So he ducked hard questions by having convenient memory lapses.  Where did he get such an idea?

 Let's go to the audiotape --  a meeting of President Nixon, John Dean, and H.R. Haldeman, March 21, 1973:

Dean told Nixon that a Watergate figure had committed perjury. Nixon responded: "Perjury is an awful hard rap to prove. He could say that I (pause) hem, well, go-ahead."  Later, they discussed how to behave in front of a grand jury.
DEAN: But you can't...you're...very high risk in perjury situation.
PRESIDENT: That's right. Just be damned sure you say I don't...
HALDEMAN: Yeah...
PRESIDENT: remember; I can't recall, I can't give any honest, an answer to that that I can recall. But that's it.