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Here is Donald Trump’s response to yesterday’s devastating testimony by former FBI director James Comey:

Ezra Klein says that Trump isn’t even trying to offer a coherent argument here:

It would be a mistake to think of what Trump is doing here as persuasion. He is not trying to offer a more consistent or credible account of events than Comey did. He is not marshaling evidence that disproves Comey’s testimony, or offering alternative explanations for the interactions Comey recorded.

No fair-minded person would look at Comey’s testimony and the White House’s pushback and see anything of value in the latter. Trump isn’t crafting believable lies or arguing with how Comey understood events or even trying to convince observers of an alternative timeline. He’s bullshitting.

I disagree. Not about Trump being a bullshitter, of course. He is. But as always, keep his audience in mind. Trump’s tweets aren’t aimed at me or Ezra or the editors of the New York Times. They’re aimed at his base supporters, many of whom will see little about the Comey hearing other than what Trump says.

For that audience, this is an extremely coherent, consistent, and persuasive statement. They didn’t watch the hearing, and they don’t read Vox or Mother Jones. This is it. And given the opportunity to have first crack at their headspace, Trump doesn’t bother spinning or exaggerating. He just flat-out says he was totally vindicated, and he says it as if this were common knowledge.

And why not? He doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. If his base will buy it, there’s no reason to be subtle.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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