How do otherwise smart and successful people get sucked up into President Donald Trump's untruths about immigrants at the border, Saudi Arabia's possible actions, Kim Jong un's promises, Russia's intentions, the 2016 election, and more?

Republican James Comey, former FBI director, summed it up in the May 1 New York Times. He said that Attorney General William Barr, a smart and accomplished lawyer, surprisingly dismisses Trump's lies by calling them simply a result of "frustration and anger." What kind of justification is that for lying to the American people about important issues? In addition, Comey wondered how Barr could justify Trump's wanting to get rid of Special Counsel Robert Mueller even before Mueller completed his investigation. Didn't President Richard Nixon do something similar for which he resigned in shame?

Comey said it starts with silently listening while the president lies, thereby being pulled into a "silent circle of consent." You allow the "deeply unethical" person to pull it off so you can be seen as part of the team.

Comey ended with a lament for Republicans who believe much of what Trump says. "Then you are lost," he said. "He has eaten your soul."

Indeed, that may be exactly what has happened.

Patricia Richard-Amato