TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump leaves after speaking during the first meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in the...
SAUL LOEB

Trump appears to forget basic details of the Ukraine scandal timeline

Donald Trump has boasted on multiple occasions that he has “one of the great memories of all time.” It’s therefore odd when he forgets recent events from his own presidency.

For example, Trump’s description of the failure of his health care initiative tends to garble up the timeline of events. The Republican’s description of the failure of his immigration initiative has run into the same problem: the president has struggled to keep track of which developments happened at which time.

And now it’s happening again with Trump’s impeachment scandal. Here, for example, was what the president told Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro over the weekend:

“[House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff] made up a conversation. He made a conversation that didn’t exist. He never thought in a million years that I was going to release the real conversation. And when it did, the whistleblower turned out to be totally inaccurate.”

There’s a lot wrong with this, but note how badly Trump has screwed up the timeline of events. He seems to believe the White House released the now infamous call summary after Schiff paraphrased it. It’s a key point to Trump’s defense, and it gets what actually happened backwards.

In the same Fox News interview, Trump added:

“Even if you listen to the very good conversation that I had [with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky] – a very, very good, no-pressure, congenial conversation with the new president of Ukraine – he had some things that were not flattering to say about [former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch]. And that came out of the blue. So, you know, it would be nice to have somebody that he liked, because he’s going – the person will have to deal with the president of Ukraine.”

That’s not what happened. As the White House’s own call summary showed, it was Trump who brought up the ambassador, not Zelensky.

The unflattering interpretation of these events is that the American president, unraveling under pressure, has resorted to brazenly lying about basic and easily checkable details.

The alternative explanation is that the president with “one of the great memories of all time” can’t remember key details he learned earlier this month about developments that he personally experienced over the summer.