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Donald Trump told the 'lie of the year'

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"Lie of the Year" goes to ... who else? Jeanne Moos reports on a Presidential whopper. But which one?

Posted: Dec 18, 2019 3:10 AM
Updated: Dec 18, 2019 3:10 AM

Every year, the fact-checking service PolitiFact picks the biggest whopper told by a politician. This isn't the standard-issue deception or misleading statement; this is a lie that has implications well beyond just the lack of truth. This is a lie for the ages. As PolitiFact puts it:

"The distinction is awarded to a statement that is more than ridiculous and wrong. The Lie of the Year — the only time PolitiFact uses the word 'lie' — speaks to a falsehood that proves to be of real consequence and gets repeated in a virtual campaign to undermine an accurate narrative."

Past winners for lie of the year include 2018's online efforts to discredit the gun control activism of students of Parkland, Florida and Barack Obama's false pledge in 2013 that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it."

This year's biggest lie? President Donald Trump's repeated assertions that the Ukraine whistleblower got the story about his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky all wrong.

"Since the Sept. 26 release of the whistleblower complaint about his call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump has insisted more than 80 times that the whistleblower's account is fake, fraudulent, incorrect, 'total fiction,' 'made up,' and 'sooo wrong,'" reads the PolitiFact piece, later adding: "Despite what Trump claims, the whistleblower got the call 'almost completely' right."

In fact, that may be underselling the disparity between the accuracy of the whistleblower's complaint and Trump's claims of its inaccuracies.

Remember that the heart of the whistleblower complaint was the July 25 call -- and a belief that Trump was using his powers as president to further his personal and political interests. Which, according to the transcript of the call the White House released in September, is what happened. To revisit:

1) Trump tells Zelensky that the US does a lot for Ukraine.

2) Trump reminds Zelensky that Ukraine doesn't reciprocate.

3) Trump asks Zelensky for a favor: to look into a debunked conspiracy theory that the hacked Democratic National Committee server is in Ukraine.

4) Trump asks Zelensky to look into Joe and Hunter Biden.

Now, you can debate whether that's an impeachable offense. Hell, you can even debate whether it's wrong -- although that debate seems a lot harder for me to see both sides of. But even so, it's impossible to dispute that what the whistleblower said in terms of the nature and content of the call was accurate in virtually every way.

Again, PolitiFact is right:

"The whistleblower, who to Trump's consternation remains unidentified, raised the concern that the president's actions leading up to and on that phone call amount to interference in the coming presidential election. Agree or disagree with the conclusion, or whether the president's conduct warrants impeachment, the actions described in the complaint stand up to factual scrutiny."

Trump's effort to discredit the whistleblower are solely a defense mechanism. Because he believes he can do no wrong -- a dangerous belief for anyone, especially a president -- then anything that appears to show Trump acting in inappropriate ways has to be "sooo wrong" or a "total fiction." And because Trump appears to lack any sense of why whistleblower provisions and protections are in place, he spent the last months suggesting that a) the whistleblower doesn't exist b) the whistleblower is actually House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (California) or c) the whistleblower must be forced to reveal his or her identity to Trump.

It's hard to overstate the chilling effect Trump's attacks on the whistleblower will have. Imagine if you were weighing using the established whistleblower law to shine a light on some corporate (or political) malfeasance. Would you feel AT ALL comfortable doing so in the environment that Trump has created? No way.

What that means is that Trump is actively undermining the legal rights of whistleblowers. That's the President of the United States making it much harder for people who see wrongdoing to come forward and have the reasonable expectation of privacy and anonymity.

Good choice, PolitiFact.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

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Reported Deaths: 693
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Hinds92024
Lauderdale69957
Madison68721
Scott62310
Neshoba56534
Jones52519
Forrest51137
DeSoto4936
Leake39512
Rankin3736
Holmes37324
Jackson30013
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Attala27715
Monroe25324
Leflore25030
Lincoln25022
Newton2504
Harrison2457
Lamar2275
Yazoo2233
Pearl River20731
Pike20211
Adams19015
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Noxubee1696
Washington1636
Warren1587
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Bolivar14911
Wayne1480
Jasper1483
Covington1411
Clarke13517
Smith13311
Kemper13110
Chickasaw12812
Lafayette1254
Lee1175
Carroll11410
Coahoma1133
Marion1129
Winston1051
Clay1043
Lawrence991
Simpson930
Hancock8711
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Wilkinson859
Itawamba857
Grenada823
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Tunica523
Walthall510
Perry492
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Jefferson400
Choctaw352
Stone300
Pontotoc283
Franklin272
Tishomingo260
Quitman250
Tallahatchie251
George201
Benton140
Alcorn141
Greene111
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 16310

Reported Deaths: 590
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2085112
Jefferson167397
Montgomery144634
Marshall6609
Tuscaloosa63212
Lee52632
Franklin4986
Shelby47019
Tallapoosa41063
Butler39113
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Walker2821
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Houston1854
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Marengo1506
Choctaw1487
Russell1480
Lauderdale1452
Hale1416
Wilcox1327
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Randolph1247
Marion11711
St. Clair1081
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Dale960
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Greene914
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Winston770
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Washington656
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Monroe342
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