"The Art of the Lie": New Report Details Trump's Year Bereft of Integrity, Accountability

Entitled “The Art of the Lie,” a new report offers damning assessment of President Donald Trump’s first year in office, cataloguing what it describes as his presidency’s massive miscarriage of government integrity and accountability.

Released Monday, a day before Trump delivers his State of the Union address, by a pair of watchdog organizations, the report (pdf) breaks up the failures into 20 categories, starting with “Trump Lies, False and Misleading Claims, Untruths,” and ending with “Deregulatory Task Forces Operating in Secret.”

“Some of Trump’s wrongful actions have been high-profile; others are more subtle. But President Trump’s record must be preserved and documented. That is the purpose of this report,” Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn and Democracy 21 president Fred Wertheimer write in the introduction to the report.

Describing the president as “a nonstop, habitual, and compulsive liar,” the report cites a Washington Post analysis that found Trump made an average of 5.9 false or misleading claims a day during his first year at the White House. With his year-long display of disregard for the truth, the report says, Trump “has undermined the right of citizens to know what their government is doing and to work from a common base of information. He has subverted our nation’s credibility and effectiveness on the world stage.”

Further, his “insistence on repeatedly telling lies and his inability to distinguish between truth and fiction has endangered our constitutional system of government,” it adds.

Another example of failures in term of his administration’s integrity and accountability are his web of conflicts of interests. “Because Trump remains the financial beneficiary of his business operations, his conflicts of interest as president are pervasive,” the report notes. Problematic conflicts of interests extend also to Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, both of whom have White House positions. Like Donald, “Kushner and Ivanka Trump have also failed to fully divest from their respective business interests,” the report states.

Such problems are manifested in the president’s cabinet as well. In fact, it is “rife with ethics problems and conflicts of interests,” the report says. It notes, for example, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s potential conflicts of interests from his continued role as president of Steven T. Mnuchin, Inc, which manages some of his investments. The public is in the dark because his investments have not been disclosed, the publication notes.

Another problem with the cabinet heads is that they “are methodically deconstructing the agencies” they run.

EPA head Scott Pruitt is a prime example, though Betsy DeVos seems to be on similar mission of government destruction, the report argues. Under her direction, “the Department of Education [has been] cutting back staff and offering buyouts.” Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, meanwhile—who has no relevant experience—has been carrying out a similar role. The report cites recent reporting by The Economist, which noted, “it is hard not to conclude that the governing principle at HUD is to take whatever the Obama administration was doing, and do the opposite.”

The documentation of failures on government integrity and accountability issues goes on.