The raspberry road that led to Abu Ghraib was paved with bland assumptions that people who had repeatedly proved their untrustworthiness, could be trusted. There is much made by people who long for the days of their fourth form debating society about the fallacy of “argumentum ad hominem”. There is, as I have mentioned in the past, no fancy Latin term for the fallacy of “giving known liars the benefit of the doubt”, but it is in my view a much greater source of avoidable error in the world. Audit is meant to protect us from this, which is why audit is so important.
There has been a consistent pattern in which Little Donald denies something, the truth is revealed, and then he admits to what has been proven while making more easily disprovable lies. Has the pattern now stopped? As Yglesias says, anyone who believes this has probably already paid the $100,000 nonrefundable charge for a Ph.D from Trump University:
But there is still such a thing as common sense. I don’t believe Trump Jr.’s account, and neither should you. He’s a man with negative credibility on this matter, and despite his father’s talismanic invocation of the word “transparency,” he’s been anything but transparent about it.
It’s certainly conceivable that he’s telling the truth and no valuable information changed hands. But when you are caught lying over and over again about a meeting — first by saying it never happened and then slowly being caught out in lie after lie — a reasonable observer is going to doubt you when you claim that this time you’ve fully come clean.
Until Trump Jr. answers a lot more questions and produces a lot more information, there’s no reason to assume good faith on his part. The benefit of the doubt is a valuable commodity, and it’s one that those at the highest levels of Trumpland have squandered.
But as the old saying says, fool me twice, shame on me. Trump Jr. has already tried to fool us four or five times about this meeting, and there’s absolutely no reason we should trust him. Fox News, tellingly, has in part already moved on to justifying collusion, showing little faith from Trumpworld that the denials of collusion will hold up over the long run. Those of us who aren’t in the tank ought to muster at least the same level of skepticism.
As a couple of commenters has observed, the most likely Trump endgame is “sure, we collaborated with the Russians to beat Crooked Hillary, we won, fuck you.” The fact that Fox News is already there is pretty telling.
As a counterpoint from an anti-anti Trump “left” that is considerably slower on the uptake than Fox & Friends, let’s consider this particularly derpy illustration of the “Hitchens Pinciple” — that is, when someone preemptively describes their argument as being “contrarian” there is a 95% chance this means “idiotic”:
This is risible from soup to nuts, obviously, but I especially like the chickenshit qualifying “the Russian ratfucking scandal is like Birtherism” line with “not with his claims of his foreign birth.” Since the analogy is intelligence-insultingly false if it has any actual content, back away just enough so that if anyone calls you on it you didn’t really mean it. And the “actually Trump collaborating with the Russians is excellent political news for the Republican Party” punchline — perfect.