Last week we saw a great deal of writing on the topic of Trump’s “tapes” tweets, but most commentators seem to have now accepted that there were never any tapes.
As Robert Hanlon famously said, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
It seems Trump is dumb enough to have threatened James Comey with no way to follow through, and such an empty threat would fit a pattern of behavior related to (as David Frum wrote) Trump’s inability to put any pressure on North Korea and apparent willingness to let Russia get increasingly belligerent in the skies over Syria.
Therefore, perhaps the most likely explanation is the relatively innocuous one: that there were no tapes; and that Trump is simply in way over his head.
But not enough attention has been paid to the only other possibility.
If there were tapes, of course, Trump would have to lie about having them, unless they showed Comey to be the liar.
He clearly has no compunctions about dissembling to the American public. And if he has tapes (and worse, if he destroyed them), Mueller can get to the truth in his interviews with White House staff.
And, when and if Mueller does that, even Trump’s most fervent supporters must begin to see him for what he is: a con man, and not even a very good con man.