It’s the little lies that get you, not the big ones


One of the things that one learns about lying is that it is the little lies that get you caught. If you are trying to lie your way out of trouble, the best strategy is to talk as little as possible. Put out the big lie that matters and then shut up. It is when you try to add to it in the effort to create added verisimilitude that you trip yourself up and fall flat on your face.

Donald Trump’s problem is that he loves to talk (and Tweet) and this creates more problems. The latest is his threat to fired FBI director James Comey that he may have tapes that support his version of the conversations he had with Comey. Clearly that was meant to intimidate Comey into not contradicting him.

But what that comment has done is focus attention on whether he has a system in place to surreptitiously record conversations that he has with people. If so, then investigators can subpoena those recordings, forcing him to either deny their existence or have their contents revealed. Recall that it was the tapes and what they contained and what had been erased that largely led to president Nixon’s downfall.

Seth Meyers sums up this week’s Trump chaos.

Comments

  1. says

    The latest is his threat to fired FBI director James Comey that he may have tapes that support his version of the conversations he had with Comey. Clearly that was meant to intimidate Comey into not contradicting him.

    Yeah, that was unbelievably weird of Trump. Basically, he said, “I’m lying” because everyone is going to believe Comey. To say that Trump has created himself a credibility problem is an understatement.

  2. mnb0 says

    “the best strategy is to talk as little as possible.”
    This may give the impression that you’re hiding something. There are two better strategies.
    1. Embed the lie in several verifiable truths.
    2. Best strategy is not lying at all but just omit inconvenient stuff; talk a lot about the rest.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    … it is the little lies that get you caught.

    Trump will therefore continue forever, since all his lies are YUGE.

  4. lanir says

    Trump is an awful liar because he does it so often he can’t possibly fool anyone for long. He has a very narrow window to take advantage of anyone believing him because it won’t last for long.

    I mostly learned how to lie from a novel or two. I rarely lie as I can’t be bothered to remember what I’ve told to whom but the basic rules for doing so as I remember them are below. I think the only one Trump actually uses is #4, which is why he’s so divisive. The people who want to believe him really want to think he’s not just some smarmy, insecure, self-centered jackass while the rest of us rail against being saddled with this moron and his actions.

    To lie effectively you should:
    1. Keep it simple.
    2. Remember lies of omission or statements you can “fix”* before they’re verified are better than outright falsehoods.
    3. Make sure to tell the most convenient truths while lying.
    4. Know your audience and remember to tell lies that people want to believe.

    The oddest part of this is that unless you regularly depend on #4, it means the best liars are people who are generally pretty honest.

    * Kids do this all the time. An example is telling a parent over the phone that you performed some chore already and buying yourself time to complete it in a hurry before they get home.

  5. jrkrideau says

    This whole fiasco reminds me of an author/reporter in the UK just as the News of the World scandal was gaining moment. In an interview, I think with the BBC, he said that his publisher would never agree to publish a book about as it was too unbelievable even as fiction.

    I loved the indignation of the White House when they discovered that TASS had released the photos of the Trump–Lavarov meeting. Err, what did they expect? TASS to sit on them? Maybe Sergey wanted some pictures for his scrap book ?That’s not why a press photographer takes pictures.

    Oh wait! We have a complete exclusive? That should be worth a pretty ruble or two. Mr Lavarov won’t mind, those pictures make him look good in the local press. Break out the Georgian champagne boys and girls!

    That clip of Putin made me laugh; he seems to have a great sense of humour.

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