Trump always lashes out when he’s cornered. He told me so years ago.

The president’s tweets and public remarks will only get wilder as the Russia investigation narrows.

In less than two hours, he managed to criticize his own FBI; peddle a new conspiracy theory; attack James B. Comey, Hillary Clinton and ABC; and draw more attention to the Russia probe that has already implicated several of his aides.
.. As someone who spent hundreds of hours observing Trump so I could write “The Art of the Deal,” I find his increasingly extreme behavior entirely consistent and predictable.
.. For five decades now, Trump’s pattern has been that the more aggrieved and vulnerable he feels, the more intensely he doubles down on the behaviors that have always worked for him in the past.
Sunday’s tweetstorm won’t be the last time the president indulges in self-pity, deceit and deflection. In all likelihood, it will get worse.
.. Trump’s first move in the face of criticism has always been to assume the role of victim. “Unfair” has long been one of his favorite words. He always perceives himself as the victim, so he feels justified in lashing back at his perceived accusers.

.. Here’s how he explained the tactic in “The Art of the Deal”:

“When people treat me badly or unfairly or try to take advantage of me, my attitude, all my life, has been to fight back very hard.”

And this:

“Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition.”

In the weeks ahead, Trump will also probably double down on lying, even as he falsely accuses others of being dishonest. Consider his remarkable recent suggestion to aides that his remarks on the “Access Hollywood” tape about assaulting women might not be real — even though he has already publicly acknowledged that they were his, and apologized for them. Trump regularly rewrites his narrative, using what Kellyanne Conway has called “alternative facts,” to fit whatever he wants to believe and convey in any given moment. This is classic “gaslighting” — a blend of lying, denial, insistence and intimidation designed to fuel uncertainty and doubt in others about what’s actually true.

In the time I spent with Trump, I concluded that lying became second nature to him long ago, both because he lacked any conscience about being deceptive and because he discovered that he could get away with it. “Truthful hyperbole” is the sanitized term I gave lying in “The Art of the Deal,” with Trump’s blessing. I have never met someone, before or since, who was untruthful so effortlessly.

In Trump’s mind, he is only doing what’s required to win. Here’s the way he describes himself in “The Art of the Deal”: “Despite what people think, I’m not looking to be the bad guy when it isn’t absolutely necessary.”

.. The more threatened Trump feels by troublesome facts, the more preposterous the lies he will tell.

.. To get the outcome he wants, he’s willing to be scorned, parodied and even reviled in ways most of us are not. “I’m the first to admit,” he said in “The Art of the Deal,” “that I am very competitive and that I’ll do nearly anything within legal bounds to win.” He is willing to flatter, cajole and seduce, or bully, threaten and humiliate, depending on which approach he thinks will work best.

..  I watched him switch between these modes countless times during the 18 months I spent around him.

.. If he was getting what he wanted from someone on a call, he’d invariably sign off with, “You’re the greatest, you’re the best.” If he wasn’t getting his way, he was equally comfortable hurling insults and making threats.

.. The more frequent and aggressive Trump’s tweets become, the more threatened and vulnerable he is probably feeling. But he also knows that this approach can work.

.. The other predictable pattern for Trump is his approach to loyalty. He expects it unconditionally — more so when his behaviors prompt backlash — but he provides it only as long as he gets unquestioning adulation in return.

.. One of the most revealing relationships in Trump’s life was with Roy Cohn, best known as the chief counsel to Sen. Joseph McCarthy

.. For more than a decade, Cohn fought hard on Trump’s behalf and was fiercely loyal to him. They often spoke multiple times in a day. But when Cohn became ill with AIDS in 1984, Trump dropped him immediately.

..  I can’t remember a single occasion during the time I spent around Trump when he seemed genuinely interested in the welfare of another human being, including any of his three then-young children. And at that time, he was under vastly less stress than he is now. If either Jared Kushner or Donald Trump Jr. become Mueller’s next target, I can’t help wondering what Trump will perceive as his self-interest.

 

Judge Tells Uber Lawyer: ‘It Looks Like You Covered This Up’

The last-minute evidence quickly mounted. A letter and an email full of damning claims. Apps that sent self-destructing messages. A payment of $4.5 million to an employee who threatened to be a whistle-blower — and an additional $3 million to his lawyer.

.. On Wednesday, Judge Alsup continued to upbraid Uber’s lawyers for not being more forthcoming with evidence. “I have never seen a case where there were so many bad things done like Uber has done in this case,” he said.

.. The letter that caused the trial to be delayed was written by a lawyer for Richard Jacobs, a former employee in Uber’s security team, to Angela Padilla, the company’s deputy general counsel. Thirty-seven pages long, it detailed a list of questionable behavior at Uber, including spying on competitors and using special laptop computers and self-destructing messaging apps that would hide communications.

.. On Wednesday, Ms. Padilla testified that the letter, which has not been made public in its entirety, was “clearly extortionist” and filled with “fantastical” information.

.. Mr. Jacobs responded, Ms. Padilla said, by sending an email to Travis Kalanick, the company’s chief executive at the time, and others complaining of criminal and unethical behavior inside Uber.

That email to Mr. Kalanick also didn’t surface in the long evidence discovery process between Waymo and Uber lawyers, and was presented in court for the first time on Wednesday.

.. Judge Alsup said to Ms. Padilla that “on the surface, it looks like you covered this up” and tried to keep the letter out of the hands of Waymo’s lawyers.

.. The company did share the letter from Mr. Jacobs’s lawyer with three different United States attorney offices, because Mr. Jacobs had threatened to take his claims to federal prosecutors and Uber wanted to “take the air out of his extortionist balloon,” Ms. Padilla testified.

.. Mr. Jacobs received $2 million up front and was to receive $1 million spread over 12 months and $1.5 million in stock, also spread out over 12 months. The deal included a so-called clawback measure that would require him to return the money if he discussed his claims with outsiders
.. Judge Alsup questioned why Uber would pay so much to an employee making bogus claims. “To someone like me, an ordinary mortal, and to ordinary mortals out there in the audience — people don’t pay that kind of money for B.S.,” the judge said.
.. A Waymo spokesman, Johnny Luu, said in a statement: “Today’s revelations fit Uber’s pattern of destroying and withholding reams of evidence relevant to our trade secrets case, and that those at the very top of Uber were aware of these inexcusable practices. We look forward to the additional discovery granted by the court and to presenting our case in front of a jury at trial.”

s A woman approached The Post with dramatic — and false — tale about Roy Moore. She appears to be part of undercover sting operation.

A woman who falsely claimed to The Washington Post that Roy Moore, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama, impregnated her as a teenager appears to work with an organization that uses deceptive tactics to secretly record conversations in an effort to embarrass its targets.

In a series of interviews over two weeks, the woman shared a dramatic story about an alleged sexual relationship with Moore in 1992 that led to an abortion when she was 15. During the interviews, she repeatedly pressed Post reporters to give their opinions on the effects that her claims could have on Moore’s candidacy if she went public.

..  The organization sets up undercover “stings” that involve using false cover stories and covert video recordings meant to expose what the group says is media bias.

.. O’Keefe declined to answer repeated questions about whether the woman was employed at Project Veritas. He also did not respond when asked if he was working with Moore, former White House adviser and Moore supporter Stephen K. Bannon, or Republican strategists.

.. After Phillips was observed entering the Project Veritas office, The Post made the unusual decision to report her previous off-the-record comments.

“We always honor ‘off-the-record’ agreements when they’re entered into in good faith,” said Martin Baron, The Post’s executive editor. “But this so-called off-the-record conversation was the essence of a scheme to deceive and embarrass us. The intent by Project Veritas clearly was to publicize the conversation if we fell for the trap. Because of our customary journalistic rigor, we weren’t fooled, and we can’t honor an ‘off-the-record’ agreement that was solicited in maliciously bad faith.”

.. That same day, Gateway Pundit, a conservative site, spread a false story from a Twitter account, @umpire43, that said, “A family friend in Alabama just told my wife that a WAPO reporter named Beth offer her 1000$ to accuse Roy Moore.” The Twitter account, which has a history of spreading misinformation, has since been deleted.

..  Nov. 14, a pastor in Alabama said he received a voice mail from a man falsely claiming to be a Post reporter and seeking women “willing to make damaging remarks” about Moore for money. No one associated with The Post made any such call.

.. When Reinhard suggested bringing another reporter, Phillips wrote, “I’m not really comfortable with anyone else being there this time.”

.. Phillips also repeatedly asked the reporter to guarantee her that Moore would lose the election if she came forward. Reinhard told her in a subsequent text message that she could not predict what the impact would be. Reinhard said she also explained to Phillips that her claims would have to be fact-checked. Additionally, Reinhard asked her for documents that would corroborate or support her story.

.. Phillips had said she lived in Alabama only for a summer while a teenager, but the cellphone number Phillips provided had an Alabama area code.

Reinhard called NFM Lending in Westchester County, but they said a person named Jaime Phillips did not work there.

.. Also working at Veritas is former television producer Robert J. Halderman, who was sentenced to six months in jail in 2010 after he was accused of trying to blackmail late-night host David Letterman.

..  When McCrummen put her purse near Phillips’s purse to block a possible camera, Phillips moved hers.

.. Phillips said she didn’t want to get into the details of what she had said happened between her and Moore.

.. When asked who at the Daily Caller interviewed her, Phillips said, “Kathy,” pausing before adding the last name, “Johnson.”

Paul Conner, executive editor of the Daily Caller, said Monday that no one with the name Kathy Johnson works for the publication and that he has no record of having personally interviewed Phillips

.. As the interview ended, Phillips told McCrummen she was not recording the conversation.

“I think I probably just want to cancel and not go through with it at this point,”

.. “I’m not going to answer any more questions,” she said. “I think I’m just going to go.”

.. By 7 p.m. the message on the GoFundMe page was gone, replaced by a new one.

“Campaign is complete and no longer active,” it read.

David Boies’s Complicated Conflicts

Did the superstar lawyer cross ethical lines in his representation of Harvey Weinstein?

“Lawyers are not permitted to engage in dishonesty or deceit,” Kathleen Clark, a Washington University law professor who specializes in legal ethics, told me. “Black Cube seems to make its living by engaging in dishonesty and deceit, at least in part.”

.. he hired several other lawyers to represent him,” he wrote. Those lawyers then sought out Black Cube and other investigators and wrote up a contract for their services. Boies, by his own telling, then returned to sign a contract drafted by other lawyers between a client he wasn’t representing and private investigators he didn’t choose or oversee in a matter he says he had declined to take part.

.. He and his firm have a long relationship with Weinstein. In 2015, the Hollywood producer hired Boies to represent him in contract negotiations with the Weinstein Company

.. During those negotiations, the company’s board of directors learned of confidential settlements between Weinstein and three or four accusers. Boies told the Times he had given some legal advice to Weinstein for one of those settlements but did not specify which.

.. The New Yorker speculated that Boies’s involvement with the Black Cube letter may have been an effort to keep secret the investigators’ activities through attorney-client privilege. But that privilege would only exist between Weinstein and Boies, not between Boies and a third party, Clark said. “There’s another privilege that’s less powerful called work-product privilege, which can apply if information is developed in anticipation of litigation,” she explained. The first paragraph of the contract between Boies Schiller and Black Cube asserts that the work was for “litigation-support services,”

.. Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor who focuses on legal ethics, said it’s not unusual for law firms to hire private investigators, especially for corporations and wealthy clients. But he noted that firms are obligated to ensure those investigators abide by the same ethical boundaries as the lawyers themselves. “Most prominently, a lawyer cannot contact an opposing client whom he knows is represented by counsel,” Gillers pointed out. “You can’t go talk to an opponent. You have to go through his lawyer.

.. The New York State Bar Association’s rules of professional conduct instruct lawyers and law firms to “[not] engage in any conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.” Those rules also forbid lawyers from taking adverse action against a current client by negotiating against them or representing an opponent in litigation. But state disciplinary bodies, which are often underfunded, typically only enforce these rules against the worst offenders in the legal community, Gillers said.

.. law firms usually try to avoid conflict-of-interest situations because of the potential financial impact.
.. The fear of lawsuits also acts as a deterrent. “Firms worry about civil liability, malpractice liability, breach-of-fiduciary-duty liability, they worry about disqualification from a matter,” Gillers said. “And they worry about adverse publicity.”