(Getty/Saul Loeb)

How likely is it that Trump will commit perjury?

"Trump doesn't deal in reality"


Charlie May
January 29, 2018 1:22PM (UTC)

Anxiety amongst those close to President Donald Trump has been running high ever since he told reporters he was "looking forward" to being interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller, during an impromptu conversation with reporters in the Oval Office last week.

"Trump doesn't deal in reality," one source told Axios on Sunday. "He creates his own reality and he actually believes it."

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But the primary concern is that the president would not be able to sit down with Mueller's team without perjuring himself, the source said.

How likely is it that the president will commit perjury? As someone who is notorious for lies, things look quite bleak for Trump. Even a brief look at the past will exemplify why some close to Trump may fear he'd commit perjury, as he's had to testify under oath before, and it could be telling for what's to come.

Trump biographer Timothy O'Brien, in his column for Bloomberg elaborated:

Speaking from experience, I think the president's attorneys should grab their worry beads. Trump sued me for libel in 2006 for a biography I wrote, "TrumpNation," alleging that the book misrepresented his business record and understated his wealth. Trump lost the suit in 2011, but during the litigation my lawyers deposed him under oath for two days in 2007. We had the opportunity to ask Trump about his business and banking practices, his taxes, his personal finances and his professional relationships.

[. . .]

Trump ultimately had to admit 30 times that he had lied over the years about all sorts of stuff: how much of a big Manhattan real estate project he owned; the price of one of his golf club memberships; the size of the Trump Organization; his wealth; his speaking fees; how many condos he had sold; his debts, and whether he borrowed money from his family to avoid going personally bankrupt. He also lied during the deposition about his business dealings with career criminals.

Trump has seldom, if ever, given public apologies or admitted to wrongdoing, and instead tends to double down in an attempt to deflect and spin things in his favor.

"Trump also has a well-known inability to stick to the facts and a tendency to dissemble and improvise," O'Brien wrote. "While under oath, he’ll try to avoid saying that he’s lied in the past until he’s presented with documentation proving otherwise."

Multiple people within the president's orbit have read O'Brien's Bloomberg column, according to Axios.

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While an interview with Mueller's team, and the terms of such an interview, are not set at the moment, the face-off is sure to be one that will draw controversy. Last week, after Trump told reporters he'd love to sit down with Mueller's team and testify under oath, Trump's lawyer John Dowd said, "I will make the decision on whether the President talks to the special counsel . . . I have not made any decision yet," Axios reported.

Republicans have already sought to undermine Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged ties to the Russian government, along with the help of pro-Trump media coverage.


Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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