Officials to CNN: Trump falsely claimed that China called to ask for more trade talks in order to boost markets

Via the Week, the word “lie” isn’t used in the report but they’re accusing him of deliberately misstating what happened with China in order to goose the markets. He knows people are panicked about the trade war escalating, he’s worried that a market slide will crush his chances next year, so he’s exaggerating an olive branch from China in hopes of discouraging a selloff.

But there’s always another possibility, that POTUS just doesn’t know what’s going on in his own administration. Or at least doesn’t know it well enough to state it accurately.

Here’s what he said at the G-7 on Monday:

The Chinese responded to that by denying that any calls had been made. And so we were left with a test of credibility between the deceitful, murderous ChiCom regime and Donald Trump.

The Chinese were telling the truth, said two sources to CNN:

Still, Trump flashed signs of optimism this week that the trade war could be resolved, saying he’s received calls from Chinese officials saying they wanted to restart talks. Though Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin insisted there had been “communication,” aides privately conceded the phone calls Trump described didn’t happen they way he said they did.

Instead, two officials said Trump was eager to project optimism that might boost markets, and conflated comments from China’s vice premier with direct communication from the Chinese.

The comments from the vice premier came in a public statement simply noting that China is committed to negotiations and hoping for a mutually beneficial end to the trade war. The idea of them calling the White House and asking for new talks, as Trump imagined it, made it sound like they were on the verge of capitulating after he hiked tariffs on them again late last week. They aren’t. All they did was put out a press release to try to keep markets calm.

The Dow finished a few hundred points higher on Monday after Trump fibbed about the calls from China. Anti-Trumpers on social media have seized on the CNN report this morning and are screaming about market manipulation, a crime under the Securities and Exchange Act that prohibits attempts to affect stock/currency prices by publicizing false or misleading information. Have we learned nothing from the obstruction arm of the Russiagate probe, though? The president is above the law under the DOJ’s interpretation of Article II of the Constitution. If anyone’s going to hold Trump accountable for encouraging suckers to buy shares this week in the false belief that the ChiComs were about to surrender, it’ll have to be Pelosi. And we know how that’ll go.

Here’s Kayleigh McEnany on CNN last night insisting that Trump never lies. Exit question: How much has the risk of POTUS lying outright to people’s faces about trade and the economy already been priced into the market? Normally this would be a moment to tut-tut him about squandering the credibility of the government, knowing that there may come a moment of crisis when it’s important for the public to believe what the president is telling them. But c’mon.