Phew, what a year it was! The one-trick phony in the White House lied an average of 15 times a day, all-Republican rule crashed and burned with a government shutdown, and Brett Kavanaugh really likes beer.
But the biggest story of all was the multifaceted exposure of the Trump crime scene. For that reason, I invite you to begin the new year old by testing your scandal aptitude. Here are my dirty dozen questions.
1. Which of these enterprises is not under federal or state investigation?
a) Trump Organization
b) Trump presidential campaign
c) Trump inaugural committee
d) Trump administration
e) Trump National Golf Club
f) Trump Steaks Ltd.
2. In Helsinki last summer, when Trump was asked whether he held Russia accountable in any way for the 2016 election invasion, he replied:
a) “We have the worst laws.”
b) “I was dealt a lot of bad hands.”
c) “I think that the United States has been foolish.”
d) “I’m not the president of the globe.”
e) “My whole life has been heat.”
3. True or false: Jerome Corsi, the right-wing operative who allegedly served as a conduit between Russia-backed WikiLeaks and the Trump camp, was similarly outed in the 2004 presidential campaign as one of the “Swift Boat” liars who smeared John Kerry’s Vietnam war service.
4. Earlier this year, Trump said: “What’s happening is a disgrace.” To what was he referring?
a) Michael Cohen dropping a dime on him.
b) Michael Flynn dropping a dime on him.
c) Stormy Daniels talking about spanking him with a magazine.
d) The Justice Department trying to hold him accountable.
5. Trump lavishly praised Putin as “extremely strong and powerful” because…
a) Putin denied invading our election on Trump’s behalf.
b) Putin hosted the best beauty contests with the best girls.
c) Putin successfully destroyed press freedom in Russia.
d) Putin jailed political enemies whenever he felt like it.
6. Who said what? Match the former Trump insider — Rex Tillerson, Jim Mattis, John Kelly, Henry McMaster, Gary Cohn — with his reported description of Trump:
c) “fifth or sixth grader”
d) “dumb as s—t”
7. Michael Cohen recently confessed in federal court that he’d arranged hush money for two Trump extramarital paramours, seeking to hide the trysts from voters — and that he’d done so “at the direction” of Trump. Last April, when the press asked Trump point blank whether he knew about those payments, he replied:
a) “Whatever payments I make go directly to charity, but you people never write about that.”
b) “Why don’t you ask me about Little Rocket Man?”
c) “That’s a Democrat question.”
d) “Whatever Michael does is very legal and very cool.”
8. After our intelligence agencies conclusively nailed Russia for its pro-Trump election invasion, Trump insisted that he had “never said that Russia did not meddle in the election.” That was a baldfaced lie, because he’d previously said…
a) “I don’t believe they interfered.”
b) “It could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”
c) “It was the DNC that did the hacking.”
d) “It’s probably more likely that Michael Avenatti and Horseface did the hacking.”
e) “It’s very hard to say who did the hacking.”
f) All of the above
9. Who is Natalia Veselnitskaya?
a) The Russian spy who pleaded guilty earlier this month to charges that she sought to infiltrate our presidential election via her contacts in the GOP and NRA.
b) The Kremlin-connected informant who met secretly at the Trump Tower in June ‘16 with Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Donald Trump Jr.
c) The name of an alleged Russian hooker mentioned in the famed Steele dossier.
d) A prominent Russian troll farm hacker indicted by Mueller for conspiring to defraud the United States.
e) The fictional Russian spy played by Keri Russell on “The Americans.”
10. If a Democrat had dared to campaign for the presidency while simultaneously pursuing a multi-million dollar Moscow business deal with the Russians (as Trump did, according to federal court documents), Republicans on Capitol Hill would have…
a) held even more hearings than they did on Benghazi.
b) called it a treasonous act of collusion.
c) created the hashtag #BetrayedAmerica.
d) shrugged it off and said, “Very legal and very cool.”
e) squirted lighter fluid on their hair and tossed a lit match.
11. Which of these items does not accurately describe Matthew Whitaker, the Trump hack who has been installed as acting attorney general?
a) Served on the board of a sleazy company that was shut down by federal regulators in 2017.
b) Allegedly worked behind the scenes with Roger Stone to post Democratic documents stolen by Russia.
c) Collected over a million dollars as the leader of a mysterious right-wing foundation that had no other employees.
d) Lied on government documents, falsely claiming that he was an Academic All-American while playing college football.
12. True or false: In October, when Trump told the U.N. General Assembly that his regime “has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of the country,” he was laughed off the podium.
ANSWERS: 1. (f – Trump Steaks has long been defunct.) 2. (c – although the other quotes are real) 3. True 4. (d) 5. (a) 6. (a-Kelly, b-Tillerson, c-Mattis, d-Cohn, e-McMaster) 7. (e) 8. (a,b,c,e) 9. (b) 10. Seriously, you’re wondering? 11. (b) 12. False. Amidst the ridicule, he stayed at the podium. Then he said, “Didn’t expect that reaction.” But we certainly did.
Dick Polman is the national political columnist at WHYY in Philadelphia and a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Pennsylvania. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.