Donald Trump claimed during a GOP debate last September that he never tried to buy off Jeb Bush for casino gambling in Florida. When Bush argued that Trump did give him money, Trump responded by saying, “I promise, if I wanted it, I would have gotten it.”
While the claim that he never tried to buy off Bush is by far not the most ridiculous one that Trump has made during the election season, from a legal perspective, it may be one of the most serious.
In a deposition in 2007, Trump directly contradicted the claim he made during the Republican debate. He was asked by a lawyer if he ever did “anything to obtain any of the details with respect to the Florida gaming environment.” Trump responded — under oath — by telling the lawyer that he did “a little bit” to try to get those details.
When pressed to find out exactly what he did, Trump explained further, “I actually spoke with Governor-elect Bush; I had a big fundraiser for Governor-elect Bush…and I think it was his most successful fundraiser, the most successful that he had had up until that point, that was in Trump Tower in New York on Fifth Avenue.”
Newsweek reporter Kurt Eichenwald, who broke this story Friday afternoon, describes the situation Trump now finds himself in perfectly:
‘Donald Trump committed perjury. Or he looked into the faces of the Republican faithful and knowingly lied. There is no third option.’
Eichenwald explains in his article that the lie Trump told — either to the lawyer or to those watching the Republican debate — shows something serious about his character: the fact that he will do whatever he can, even blatantly lie, in order to avoid admitting he didn’t get what he wanted — which in this case was casino gambling in Florida. Eichenwald added that Trump’s lie matters because “it shows how shameless Trump is and how reckless.”
Trump has lied repeatedly throughout this election, and he has yet to be held truly accountable. Sure, various media outlets have pointed out these lies, but Trump has not faced any legitimate penalties for them.
As Eichenwald argues, these two separate stories that Trump has told must be investigated immediately if he does win the presidential election. He reminds Republicans that, when Bill Clinton was impeached for lying under oath about his affair, they “established the standard that failing to tell the truth while testifying — even in the most understandable of circumstances — rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Donald Trump once claimed that, even if he were to stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot people, his supporters would remain loyal to him. While he has not yet done anything that drastic, he has lied again and again, and yet his supporters stand by him. The election is 45 days away; it is time for those who have stood by Donald Trump to do as Eichenwald implores them and “carefully consider whether they want to vote for a man who at best has treated them like fools over the past year and at worst committed a crime.”
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