White House perjury panic
I can't overstate the level of anxiety among sources close to Trump after the president told the NYT's Maggie Haberman last week he was willing and eager to submit himself to a live interview under oath with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
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.)
A number of people in the president's orbit have read this article by Bloomberg's Timothy O'Brien: "I've Watched Trump Testify Under Oath. It Isn't Pretty."
In the article, O'Brien writes:
- "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.
- "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."
Be smart: Trump's lawyers are already signaling they are deeply uncomfortable about the prospect of a live, freewheeling session between Trump and Mueller. Shortly after Trump made his brash declaration, Trump's attorney John Dowd told CNN: "I will make the decision on whether the President talks to the special counsel... I have not made any decision yet."
Worthy of your time: The Washington Post has a juicy story on how Trump — who is obsessed with personal loyalty — remains perilously at odds with his own Justice Department.