Hang All the Members of
the Liars’ Club?
Victor Davis Hanson
May 16, 2023
Federal prosecutors last week announced the indictment of U.S. Representative George Santos (R-N.Y.) on a host of charges, including misuse of federal campaign funds and wire fraud, almost all of them resulting from his pathological lies.
Certainly, Santos deserved the attention of prosecutors for lying on federal documents and affidavits that may have helped him win a congressional seat as well as personal lucre.
But if that’s the case, why haven’t federal prosecutors also gone after Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)? She clearly lied her way into a Harvard Law School professorship and an erstwhile presidential candidacy by claiming, in part, quite falsely she was a Native American, supposedly Harvard’s first indigenous law professor.
Her Senate colleague, Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), flatly lied (he said he “misspoke”) about being a Vietnam War veteran. He never confessed to “misspeaking” about his résumé until caught. Both senators, apparently like Santos, gained political traction in their various campaigns from such lies, but the two apparently never put them in writing, or at least not as blatantly as did Santos.
New Federal Standards?
Are federal and state prosecutors now setting a new moral and legal standard by criminalizing Santos’ lies? If true, congratulations—it is long overdue.
Now can we please extend the long arm of the law to reach far beyond a bit player like Santos?
Why not reboot with the really big liars? Their lies far more undermined the integrity of our key agencies and indeed our national security.
So let us start with John Brennan, the former CIA director. He lied on two separate occasions, in one case while under oath before the U.S. Senate. His untruths were not mere campaign finance fabrications. They involved falsely swearing that the CIA did not spy on the computers of Senate staffers (“Let me assure you the CIA was in no way spying on [the committee] or the Senate.”). He also lied that U.S. drone missions in prior years had not killed innocent bystanders (“There hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities that we’ve been able to develop.”).
Brennan, only when caught, admitted to both lies. But he faced zero consequences and, in fact, was soon rewarded with an on-air analyst job at MSNBC.
Then we come to James Clapper, the former director of the Office of National Intelligence. Like Santos, he lied. But unlike Santos, Clapper was under oath to Congress. And further unlike Santos, Clapper was not a small fish, but a whale in charge of coordinating the nation’s intelligence bureaus.
Clapper’s lies mattered a great deal, especially when he swore to Congress that the National Security Agency did not spy on Americans. (“No, sir. Not wittingly.”) When caught, Clapper confessed that he gave “the least untruthful answer.” (“I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner by saying ‘no.’”). He faced zero consequences for his perjury. And like Brennan, he marketed his anti-Trump phobias into a comfortable cable news gig.
Note well that both Clapper and Brennan likely lied again when they signed the infamous Hunter Biden laptop letter, with a wink and nod suggesting it was a hallmark example of “Russian disinformation.”
Then we come to the former interim FBI Director Andrew McCabe. He is also currently working as a cable news commentator. McCabe admitted to lying—according to the inspector general, “done knowingly and intentionally”—four separate times to federal investigators, three times under oath. McCabe misled the country in matters that concerned a national election, more specifically lying that he had not leaked to the media to massage media narratives about the FBI’s investigation of the Clinton Foundation.
Then there is James Comey, another former FBI head, who confirmed McCabe had lied. He simply claimed on 245 occasions to House investigators and members that he either had no memory or had no knowledge when asked under oath to explain some of the wrongdoing of the FBI during his directorship. Remember, Comey and the FBI signed off on the authenticity of Steele’s document material to obtain a FISA warrant, when they knew it was unreliable and Steele was not credible. Comey also likely leaked to the media a confidential memo officially memorializing a private conversation with the president of the United States.
Should we include yet another former FBI director? Robert Mueller swore under oath to Congress that he knew little about Fusion GPS (“I’m not familiar with that”) and more or less had ignored the Steele dossier. (“It’s not my purview.”) Mueller’s claims cannot be true because revelations about both were the very catalysts that prompted his own special counsel appointment.
Will the Santos prosecutors go after Anthony Fauci, the recently retired head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases?
Fauci seemingly lied under oath to the Senate when he preposterously claimed the money he channeled through a third party to the Wuhan virology lab did not entail support for gain-of-function virology research. (“The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”) Many virologists were aghast at Fauci’s claims since they knew gain-of-function research conducted in China—the point being to skirt U.S. laws—was precisely what the U.S.-subsidized researchers in China were doing.
Prosecutors are currently looking at the various shenanigans of Hunter Biden, whose lies may even be a match for those of George Santos. Joe Biden’s son apparently lied on his firearms background check affidavit when applying for a handgun purchase—so far, with impunity.
When asked point blank on national television whether his lost laptop was his own—he had signed a receipt for it at the repair shop—Biden refused to give a yes or no answer.
Hunter Biden has apparently de facto lied for years when he purportedly did not report either his entire income or his real business expenses accurately, or that he was the father of a child he conceived with an ex-stripper in Arkansas.
If Hunter’s lies do not match the number of Santos’ prevarications, his were at least far more significant. His lie that the laptop was not his prompted current Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a former top Biden 2020 campaign aide, to call up Mike Morell, former interim CIA director. Morell’s mission was to round up as many intelligence authorities as he could to lie on the eve of a presidential election that the laptop had “all the hallmarks” of “Russian disinformation.” He found 51, including himself. Apparently, some active members of the CIA pitched in as well to lend the letter additional authenticity.
Note that Morell swears Blinken called him to solicit signers of the bogus letter, while Blinken claims he did not. So either the current secretary of state or the former interim director of the CIA is lying—or they both are. Again, among the first to sign the fraudulent intelligence letter were Brennan and Clapper. They apparently had earned a reputation as team players, given that both men had been willing to lie under oath to Congress. Misleading the nation again about the laptop to aid Joe Biden’s campaign was small potatoes.
Biden, on spec, promulgated the lie when he said in his second debate with Trump, “There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plant. Five former heads of the CIA, both parties, say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage. Nobody believes it, except his good friend Rudy Giuliani.”
A subsequent poll suggested the Bidens’ concocted laptop lies may have influenced voters to side with Biden in the election. If true, that was a lie that should be of far more interest to current federal prosecutors than Santos’ crazy fairy tales.
The Lies of the “Big Guy”
So we come to the greatest prevaricator of all.
Joe Biden flat-out lied on numerous occasions, such as when he claimed that he never discussed the family shake-down business with Hunter Biden.
Joe Biden, in fact, turns up on the laptop as someone deeply connected to Hunter Biden’s quid pro quo companies (“10 [percent] for the Big Guy”). Tony Bobulinksi, a former business associate of Hunter’s, has sworn that Joe and his brother Jim Biden were deeply involved in their foreign leveraging efforts.
A photo shows Joe Biden with Hunter’s “business” associates. Will the current Santos prosecutors turn their attention to the Oval Office occupant’s financial records to determine whether his lavish private homes and lifestyle were viable under his reported stated income?
Biden lied to Americans dozens of times to get elected. The tragic death of his wife in a car accident was not due to the drunkenness and fault of a truck driver. That was a horrific smear designed to shift blame onto an innocent man and gain sympathy for himself.
He lied that his son, Beau, died while serving in Iraq.
Biden dropped out of the 1988 presidential race after he was caught lying about his college records and plagiarizing a speech from a British politician.
So we know that in the past, Joe Biden’s lies have left a mark on history in a fashion that Santos’ never will.
When Biden prefaces his whoppers with “No joke!” or “This is God’s honest truth!” and especially when he swears, “My word as a Biden!” then it is a fair bet that he is lying.
When Biden entered office, he lied about the number of Americans previously vaccinated under the Trump Administration and preposterously claimed there had been no COVID vaccine available.
He lied that his loan forgiveness amnesty passed Congress by two votes. In fact, Biden simply declared amnesty by fiat and never submitted the request to Congress at all.
He repeatedly lies that billionaires pay only three percent of their income in taxes on average. He lies about minor details, from giving his Uncle Frank a purple heart to matters of national concern, such as the price of gas when he entered office. It was most certainly not $5 a gallon!
Biden constantly lies about his résumé. He was never a long-haul truck driver. Nor was he a star athlete almost headed for the Naval Academy on a sports scholarship if only Dallas Cowboys legend Roger Staubach had not beat him out.
“I was appointed to the academy in 1965 by a senator who I was running against in 1972. I didn’t come to the academy because I wanted to be a football star. And you had a guy named Staubach and Bellino here. So I went to Delaware.”
His house was never almost destroyed by a fire. He was never raised “politically” as a Puerto Rican. Biden never pinned the Silver Star on a Navy Afghanistan war hero for bringing back the body of a fellow soldier from a deep ravine. He was never arrested, either in South Africa or in Atlanta, for demonstrating on behalf of civil rights.
No foreign leader can believe Biden. He never traveled 17,000 miles with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He lied about his own Amtrack travel. He lied about his record on inflation and economic growth. He lied about upping Social Security payments. (It was a larger-than-usual automatic cost-of-living increase spurred by his inflationary policies.) He lied about the nature of the Trump tax cuts.
Biden keeps lying that the southern border is “secure” even as nearly 2 million people have crossed illegally on his watch and tens of thousands more are massed to enter the country as Title 42 restrictions are lifted.
He insists that five police officers died at the hands of protestors on January 6, 2021. In truth, the one person we know for certain who died violently that day was Ashli Babbitt, an unarmed protester who was shot and killed by a Capitol Police lieutenant with a checkered record, whose identity was suppressed for months while Babbitt’s past was sullied by the press.
Biden’s defenders hint that either he is cognitively compromised and thus not responsible—as if he has told the truth the last 40 years when he was hale!—or his lies are mere “exaggerations”unlike the “lies” of Trump—as if lying about the death of one’s spouse or son or school record or resume or major legislation or his presidency is a mere “exaggeration.”
As a general rule, since 2015, if any federal bureaucrat or elected official lied in service of opposing Donald Trump, he was exempted from consequences. If not, he was properly held responsible for his lying. So the more that the fake Steele dossier, the Russian collusion hoax, and the Russian disinformation laptop lie warped the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, the more the promulgators of those falsehoods never faced any consequences for their untruths.
So, yes, let federal prosecutors go after the lying George Santos to set a precedent that the lying of government officials has consequences.
But in the great scheme of lying things, Santos is a prevaricating minnow who was snagged to great acclaim because the lying sharks swim and circle with impunity.