A top-down system of liars, led by a president who spews deception anytime his lips are moving, creates an environment where the very concept of truth is murky and elusive.
After South Carolina police officer Michael Slager was exonerated by a jury for shooting a fleeing African-American Walter Scott eight times, despite a damming video proving the man posed no threat him, prosecutors charged Slager with obstruction of justice for lying under oath.
Slager's defense is that he suffers from the same Swiss-cheezed memory caused by stress as Jeff Sessions.
The new tack being taken by his legal team is to insist that Slager’s falsified description of his encounter with Scott—which is directly contradicted by cell phone video—wasn’t motivated by self-interest or his desire to avoid jail time. Instead, Slager’s lawyers argue, those seeming falsehoods are a natural consequence of the pressure the officer was under. "A Swiss cheese memory is a symptom of stress,” Slager’s lawyers wrote in court papers, “not an indicator of lying.”
They go on to compare Slager’s truthiness problem with that of Sessions, who over multiple congressional hearings used the phrase "I don't recall” more than 85 times in response to questions. The attorney general has also backtracked on answers he previously provided under oath, miraculously and quite suddenly remembering details, specifically those that potentially absolve him of guilt, when presented with evidence.
It’s curious that Sessions, as writer Eric Levitz notes, “has no clear memory of the meeting, but has a vivid recollection of behaving admirably during it.” Despite the sheer unbelievability of his ever-changing testimony, the attorney general insisted his new insights weren’t straight-up textbook perjury, but an honest failure to retain information, which seems like a problematic issue for a man who heads a department dedicated to getting the facts straight. [emphasis mine]
... if Sessions wants us to believe the nonstop speed of the campaign trail served as a mind eraser, murdering a man in cold blood would be at least as hard on one’s ability to remember events with clarity. His defense team wrote:
"Unlike Slager, who had been in what he perceived as a life and death struggle before he made his statements, Sessions had time to prepare for his congressional testimony, yet still often got it wrong. Why? According to Sessions, he was working in chaotic conditions created by the Trump campaign. This was undoubtedly stressful, though not as stressful as having shot a man to death, or dealing with the aftermath of that, or facing the death penalty or life in prison. As Sessions made clear in his statement, a failure to recall, or an inaccurate recollection, does not a liar make."