Close Friend Identifies Trump as a Pathological Liar

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2018 -- U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg (not seen) at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on Jan. 10, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Washington could "conceivably" re-enter into the global Paris climate agreement, from which he announced the withdrawal last year. (Xinhua/Ting Shen)
Xinhua News Agency/Xinhua News Agency

Before more time goes by, I wanted to flag this item from Jonathan Swan’s Axios newsletter. An item entitled “White House Perjury Panic” explains that the President’s aides and lawyers are terrified of his doing an interview with Robert Mueller or his investigators. That seems wise. But in the piece there’s this passage …

What I’m hearing: One source, who knows Trump as well as anyone, told me he believes the president would be incapable of avoiding perjuring himself. “Trump doesn’t deal in reality,” the source said. “He creates his own reality and he actually believes it.” (The president’s attorney, Ty Cobb, did not respond to a request for comment.)

As is so often the case with the President, this is both entirely unsurprising and almost beyond belief. This is close to the definition of a pathological liar, someone who cannot help constantly lying and also manages to convince himself of the veracity of his lies based on their situational convenience. This is why sociopaths often have an easy time beating polygraph tests: they don’t have the cognitive and somatic disequilibria that most people experience when they lie.

We’re hearing a lot about how the President’s staffers fear a “perjury trap.” But what seems clear from this and other reporting is that for the President a perjury trap wouldn’t be checkmating him into a situation in which he must either lie or incriminate himself. It’s just letting him talk, asking him about almost anything. He just can’t help lying. Of course, this isn’t a surprise. We see the President all the time. He lies constantly – even when he doesn’t get a lot of benefit from doing so.