Dramatis Personae

The Masks of the Drama

(T)he main characters in a dramatic work written in a list. Such lists are commonly employed in various forms of theater, and also on screen. Typically, off-stage characters are not considered part of the dramatis personæ.

In order to get this you need to understand that in most Classic Theater the Actors wore masks. It certainly makes replacement with an Understudy easier. Barefaced Theater is a relatively recent development.

Now that we’ve had a little History Trivia I’ve found this neat piece by Paul Waldman that has a handy checklist of the Players and their Lies.

Lies, lies and more lies: This is not how innocent people act
By Paul Waldman, Washington Post
November 30, 2018

There’s one thing we should all be able to agree on: If they were all innocent, they’d be telling the truth about what they did and didn’t do. That’s because the truth would exonerate them. What has happened instead is that one person after another, from the president on down, has lied about their actions, their contacts with Russia, and the decisions they made.

In short, they’re acting like the guiltiest bunch of people since Richard Nixon’s Committee to Reelect the President.

Sometimes a lie is a crime, but it’s always an indication that the person telling it has something they want to conceal. So let’s run down a list of those around Trump who have lied, dissembled, concealed, and misled about what they did with regard to Russia. To be clear, this will not include the many lies these people told about matters having to do with other topics:

Donald Trump: The president lies about just about everything, but in particular he has lied on matters related to Russia. The latest exposure of his dishonestly comes out of the plea agreement from his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who supplied evidence that the Trump Organization was actively pursuing a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow while Trump was running for president. Trump asserted yesterday in response to Cohen’s plea, “I mean, we were very open with it. We were thinking about building a building [in Russia].” In fact, throughout the campaign he claimed again and again that he had no business interests in Russia, saying things like “I don’t know Putin, have no business whatsoever with Russia, have nothing to do with Russia.”

To take just one other example, when it was revealed that Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner held a meeting in 2016 with a group of Russians they believed would supply them with damaging information on Hillary Clinton, President Trump personally dictated a misleading statement intended to deceive the public about what the meeting was actually about. Trump’s representatives, including lawyer Jay Sekulow and spokesperson Sarah Sanders, then issued denials that Trump wrote the statement. They later admitted that these denials were false and Trump had in fact dictated it.

Donald Trump Jr.: When the story of his meeting with the Russians first broke, Don Jr. claimed it was for the purpose of discussing adoptions of Russian children. This lie lasted one day — until emails were exposed showing him excitedly planning the meeting to acquire dirt on Clinton.

Michael Cohen: Trump’s former lawyer now admits that he lied to Congress about the Trump Organization’s efforts to secure a big Moscow real estate deal to conceal the fact that Trump’s financial dealings with Russia continued throughout the 2016 GOP presidential primaries.

Michael Flynn: Trump’s first national security adviser pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation.

K.T. McFarland: McFarland initially told FBI agents she had never had a conversation with Flynn about his contacts with Kislyak and their discussion of sanctions on Russia. Later she “revised her statement,” saying she and Flynn did indeed talk about it.

Jared Kushner: The presidential son-in-law omitted meetings he had with Russians from his security clearance forms requiring him to detail all recent contacts with foreign nationals. Kushner also claimed that he had no idea what the subject of the infamous Trump Tower meeting was, because he failed to read to the bottom of the email he had been forwarded where it said it was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Paul Manafort: Earlier this week Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III charged that the former Trump campaign chairman broke their cooperation agreement by lying to investigators about multiple matters, including his contacts with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian associate of his believed to have ties to Russian intelligence.

Rudy Giuliani: The president’s TV lawyer falsely claimed that when Trump Jr., Manafort, and Kushner met with a group of Russians led by a Russian lawyer to get dirt on Clinton supplied by the Russian government, they didn’t even know the lawyer was Russian.

Jeff Sessions: During his confirmation process, the former attorney general claimed on three separate occasions under oath that he had no contact with any Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. This was false. In fact, he met with Ambassador Kislyak three times.

George Papadopoulos: The former Trump foreign policy adviser pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his efforts to acquire damaging information on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government through an intermediary.

Erik Prince: The founder of mercenary company Blackwater and brother of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Prince arranged a January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles with a prominent Russian businessman in an apparent attempt to create a back channel for communication between the Trump administration and Russia. But he testified under oath that the meeting with the Russian official was a chance encounter that happened over a beer. Mueller obtained evidence that this characterization was false, and Prince recently said he has cooperated with the special counsel’s inquiries. Prince also appears to have lied about a meeting he had with Donald Trump Jr. during the campaign.

Roger Stone: Donald Trump’s longtime friend and advisor claims that his uncanny knowledge during the campaign of what Wikileaks was about to reveal about Democrats came not because he was communicating with the group but because he was employing “posture, bluff, hype.”

Jerome Corsi: The conspiracy theorist claims that despite getting an instruction from Stone to communicate with Wikileaks leader Julian Assange — and despite sending Stone specific information about what Wikileaks was soon to release — he never actually communicated with the group directly or indirectly. Instead, he says he determined that they would soon release emails belonging to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta by brilliantly sleuthing through publicly available documents. Corsi also admits that he and Stone cooperated to concoct a “cover story” to explain Stone’s advance knowledge of the Podesta email dump.

For all we know, there may be more names added to this list by the time the full scope of the scandal is revealed. What we can say for sure is that Trump, his family members, his employees, and his associates are acting like they’re not just guilty, but spectacularly guilty. To think otherwise you’d have to be willfully blind.

Wherefore to Dover, sir?!

Because I would not see thy cruel nails
Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister
In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.
The sea, with such a storm as his bare head
In hell-black night endur’d, would have buoy’d up
And quench’d the steeled fires.

Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain.
If wolves had at thy gate howl’d that stern time,
Thou shouldst have said, ‘Good porter, turn the key.’
All cruels else subscrib’d. But I shall see
The winged vengeance overtake such children.

See’t shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.
Upon these eyes of thine I’ll set my foot.

Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly!
Where is thy lustre now? – Act III, Scene 7