President Trump seems to be saying more and more things that aren’t true

Since Saturday, Trump has tweeted false or misleading information at least seven times on the topic of immigration and at least six times on a Justice Department inspector general report into the FBI’s handling of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. That’s more than a dozen obfuscations on just two central topics — a figure that does not include falsehoods on other issues, whether in tweets or public remarks.

.. in June, Trump has been tweeting at the fastest rate of his presidency so far, an average of 11.3 messages per day. 

.. The president often seeks to paint a self-serving and self-affirming alternate reality for himself and his supporters. Disparaging the “fake news” media, Trump offers his own filter through which to view the world — offering a competing reality on issues including relationships forged (or broken) at the Group of Seven summit in Canada, the success of the Singapore summit with the North Koreans, and his administration’s  “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration.

..  “As far as I can tell, the best way to understand anything he says is what will best serve his interests in the moment. It’s irrespective to any version of the truth.”

.. Trump had made 3,251 false or misleading claims in 497 days — an average of 6.5 such claims per day of his presidency.

.. Trump’s use of repetition is a particularly effective technique for convincing his supporters of the veracity of his false claims, in part because most people have a “truth bias,” or an initial inclination to accept what others say as true.

.. “When liars repeat the same lie over and over again, they can get even more of an advantage, at least among those who want to believe them or are not all that motivated either way,”

.. “So when people hear the same lies over and over again — especially when they want to believe those lies — a kind of new reality can be created. What they’ve heard starts to seem like it’s just obvious, and not something that needs to be questioned.”

.. While Congress could pass a legislative fix, Republicans control both the House and the Senate — making it disingenuous at best to finger the opposing party, as the president has repeatedly done.

.. Trump again falsely painted the humanitarian crisis as a binary choice. “We can either release all illegal immigrant families and minors who show up at the border from Central America, or we can arrest the adults for the federal crime of illegal entry,” he said. “Those are the only two options.”

.. twice in the past four days has singled out Germany as facing an increase in crime. “Crime in Germany is up 10% plus (officials do not want to report these crimes) since migrants were accepted,” Trump wrote. “Others countries are even worse. Be smart America!”

.. In fact, the opposite is true. Reported crime in Germany was actually down by 10 percent last year and, according to German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the country’s reported crime rate last year was actually at its lowest point in three decades.

.. The president has also falsely claimed that the inspector general report “exonerated” him from Mueller’s probe, when the report did not delve into the Russia investigation.

.. On a conference call Tuesday morning, for instance, a senior Health and Human Services official said the new policy was focused on deterrence and was working — contradicting the public comments of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who has publicly said that family separation is not a policy, is not new and is not about deterrence.

.. the past week may mark an “inflection point” in how both the media and the public treat Trump’s mistruths.

.. “The lies have been so bald and discernibly false, I think people have felt license to challenge him and use the word ‘lie’ more freely than they have in the past,”

The World Is Evolving and Ricky Gervais Isn’t

20 percent of trans people report having been homeless at some point because of their gender identity, 55 percent report being harassed by homeless shelter residents and staff, and 29 percent have been turned away from shelters for being trans.

.. Gervais graphically speculated about Caitlyn Jenner’s gender confirmation surgery, repeatedly referred to her as a big strong man, relentlessly called her by her pre-transition name and compared gender dysphoria to a human choosing to identify as a chimpanzee.

.. presenting your spasms of discomfort as something relatable — makes it harder for trans people to find a safe place to sleep.

.. The Trump/Brexit era is a rich, famous, white, middle-aged man declaring the world to be in decline the moment he stops understanding it.

.. What they’re actually reacting to is the message deep at the heart of the March for Our Lives, of Black Lives Matter, of the Women’s March: The world is bigger than you, and it belongs to us too.

.. Gervais and his co-host, Stephen Merchant, did a recurring segment called “Do We Need ’Em?” in which the producer, Karl Pilkington, chose an animal he found strange or useless (jellyfish, for instance) and interviewed a scientist about whether or not we should “keep” them.

“What are they adding to the world?” he once asked Gervais and Merchant about giraffes. “What are they doing?”

.. It’s baffling that Gervais can have so much reverence for physical evolution and so little for intellectual evolution. He might find trans people silly, but you know who doesn’t? Teenagers.

.. It is frightening, I assume, when you are accustomed to being not just a voice of authority in your field but the archetype of authority in your civilization, to be challenged and feel those challenges stick.

 

Mueller braces for challenges to his authority

The special counsel has won some early court victories in the Russia investigation, but with charges filed defense attorneys and others are lining up to rein in the probe.

.. the criminal case against former Donald Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates speeds toward a possible spring 2018 trial
.. Kevin Downing, Manafort’s lead attorney …. Downing also said he may try to prevent Mueller’s prosecutors from presenting some of their evidence during the criminal trial.

.. “’Distort, detract, deny’ is a common playbook for defense lawyers,” said Julie Myers Wood, a former Whitewater prosecutor. “And if the allegations are serious here, I wouldn’t expect the lawyers to sit back or withhold any tool in a quest to undermine the perception of Mueller’s legitimacy.”

.. Past independent counsel and special prosecutor cases are rife with legal battles that can come to rival the actual investigation. Michael Deaver, a former senior aide to President Ronald Reagan, tried without success to halt an independent counsel conflict-of-interest probe into his post-White House work by claiming the investigator held a grudge against him.
During the Iran-Contra probe, Lt. Col. Oliver North similarly failed to get the Supreme Court to consider his bid to block the investigation.
.. Trump himself told the New York Times in July that he would consider it “a violation” if Mueller’s investigators looked into his personal finances. And the president’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, told POLITICO on Thursday he is primed to lodge formal objections with either Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if the Russia investigation took a wide or unexpected detour into issues like an old Trump real-estate deal.
.. “Whenever you operate in uncharted legal territory, and this would be an example, you’d expect defense lawyers to push the envelope and edges
.. In a case like Manafort’s, Mueller may be wise to hand it over to DOJ for prosecution
.. But Rotunda also said a court is unlikely to give a defendant standing to object to Mueller’s jurisdiction. “The only entity that could object is the DOJ,” he said.
..  U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has proposed should go to trial starting May 7
.. Jackson also told the attorneys for Mueller and the defense that she’s considering issuing a gag order that limits the public statements both sides may make about the case.
.. Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled last month in the special counsel’s favor when he tried to seek grand jury testimony from an attorney for Manafort and Gates.
.. Richard Ben-Veniste, a former Watergate prosecutor, said that he expected defense lawyers representing indicted defendants to keep on challenging Mueller’s authority and jurisdiction. “I would also expect such challenges to be unavailing,” he said, “as Mueller’s authority to act is on firm legal ground.”