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Here is Donald Trump’s response to yesterday’s devastating testimony by former FBI director James Comey:

Ezra Klein says that Trump isn’t even trying to offer a coherent argument here:

It would be a mistake to think of what Trump is doing here as persuasion. He is not trying to offer a more consistent or credible account of events than Comey did. He is not marshaling evidence that disproves Comey’s testimony, or offering alternative explanations for the interactions Comey recorded.

No fair-minded person would look at Comey’s testimony and the White House’s pushback and see anything of value in the latter. Trump isn’t crafting believable lies or arguing with how Comey understood events or even trying to convince observers of an alternative timeline. He’s bullshitting.

I disagree. Not about Trump being a bullshitter, of course. He is. But as always, keep his audience in mind. Trump’s tweets aren’t aimed at me or Ezra or the editors of the New York Times. They’re aimed at his base supporters, many of whom will see little about the Comey hearing other than what Trump says.

For that audience, this is an extremely coherent, consistent, and persuasive statement. They didn’t watch the hearing, and they don’t read Vox or Mother Jones. This is it. And given the opportunity to have first crack at their headspace, Trump doesn’t bother spinning or exaggerating. He just flat-out says he was totally vindicated, and he says it as if this were common knowledge.

And why not? He doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. If his base will buy it, there’s no reason to be subtle.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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