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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Denying reality is easier for Trump than selling his alternative 'facts'

FBI Director Christopher Wray poses for a photo

FBI Director Christopher Wray poses for a photo after an interview with The Associated Press, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, in Washington. Wray says the problems found by the Justice Department watchdog examining the origins of the Russia probe are “unacceptable." (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin

As his spectacle of a presidency runs its course, Donald Trump will no doubt find it easier to keep dismissing plain realities than to prove the fictions he offers as alternative "facts."

Trump's big denial of the week came when he insisted that a Justice Department inspector general report didn't say what it said.

The report plainly crushed his claim that the initial  Russia probe carried through to completion by Robert Mueller arose from some sinister "deep state" plot.

Given its content, FBI Director Christopher Wray issued what ordinarily would have been a routine response for an agency leaderr. He vowed to correct procedural flaws that occurred in the Russia investigation but said it was important that the FBI was found justified in opening a probe.

But that was out of line with the hallucination Trump was peddling to Americans.

“I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me,” Trump said Tuesday on Twitter. “With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!”

Trump, who's never set out to reform the FBI in any real way, has a habit of bashing his own appointees in the intelligence community and law enforcement. When convenient, he just makes a public-relations piñata of the FBI and the Justice Department.

Trump can pillory Wray with impunity, knowing most people won't read the 300-page IG report. Many will accept what Trump tells them about its contents — even if it's entirely possible the president has not cracked the report himself.

The hard part comes in selling the imagined scenarios with which he tries to replace the facts he denies. 

Try reconciling the following rant about the IG report with reality:

“This was an overthrow of government, this was an attempted overthrow and a lot of people were in on it and they got caught, they got caught red-handed. I think I'm going to put this down as one of our great achievements. Because what we found and what we saw — never, ever should this happen again in our country."

This is baseless, but it dovetails with him.s ongoing Ukraine mirage. Trump acts as if the case is clear, that the Bidens were corrupt, that U.S. Democrats and Ukraine operatives were in league against him.

If this was apparent, though, why would President Volodymyr Zelensky's government need to investigate? Neither he nor Attorney General William Barr will sensibly answer that question.

Give no awards for brilliance, audacity or sleuthing to House Democrats. They practically had the case for this quick and probably doomed partisan impeachment thrust upon them.

After all, Trump had openly demanded the announcement of a contrived Ukraine probe. By the sworn testimony of his own high-level appointees, this would clear the way for U.S. defense aid and an Oval Office meeting for Zelensky.

Trump then made his contempt for congressional inquiries clear by withholding documents and witnesses.

The president's conduct more than anyone else's made plausible the Judiciary Committee's interpretation of the facts. "President Trump used the powers of the presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States, and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process," the panel concluded.

Denying that, and then having the Senate's Republican majority acquit him in the resulting trial, should prove easy for the president.

The hard part would be trying to convince anyone outside the GOP bubble that his conspiracy theories, phantasms, and smears against others have any merit.

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