Trump Goes Off Script, Continues To Side Against The U.S. Intelligence Community On Russia
The Rantt Rundown: Tuesday, July 17 – Day 544 of the Trump presidency
After President Trump attempted to create the perception of him “walking back” one of his statements at the Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, you likely saw several headlines and push notifications that looked something like this:
That is not what happened.
In scripted remarks to reporters, President Trump made a dishonest attempt to “clarify” just one of the countless capitulating statements to Vladimir Putin.
BREAKING: President Trump claims he misspoke while discussing election meddling during news conference with Putin: “In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t.’ … The sentence should’ve been: ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia'” pic.twitter.com/2bA9EionD1
— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 17, 2018
But, in those same remarks, Trump also continued his consistent effort to cast doubt on whether Russia attacked our democracy. In doing so, the President of the United States sides with a foreign adversary over the U.S. Intelligence Community.
To be clear, Trump still seemed to waffle in his acceptance of U.S. intelligence: “I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.” (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/Gp4hzEbZBc
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 17, 2018
Any tweet or push notification that doesn’t include the quote “could be other people also. A lot of people out there,” is advancing a false narrative. https://t.co/RhBDGN0pD3
— Adam (@aalali44) July 17, 2018
The entire world heard what he really said.
President Trump at the news conference with Putin on Russian interference in the US election: President Putin said it’s not Russia, “I don’t see any reason why it would be” https://t.co/nPWxwvrWp4 pic.twitter.com/7qGzsS18vY
— CNN (@CNN) July 16, 2018
This is such a lame walk back.
We know where he stands.
Did he also “misspeak” when he said the U.S. is also to blame, attacked the Democrats, and called the U.S. foolish on the world stage while capitulating to a murderous dictator who just attacked American democracy?
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) July 17, 2018
Photos of the scripted remarks revealed what Trump wrote in the margins and what he omitted…(collusion is misspelled btw.)
NY Times photo of Trump’s notes from today. He wrote in, in Sharpie, “There was no collusion,” and CROSSED OUT, “and those involved in meddling should be brought to justice.” pic.twitter.com/44EYyhAkmm
— Dana Gould (@danagould) July 17, 2018
Even if he did misspeak in that single moment, which no one with eyes and ears believes he did, Trump did not “clarify” his tirade about Clinton’s 33,000 emails, his claim about the idea of Russian interference being an excuse Democrats came up with for losing the election, or the fact he called the Russia investigation a witch hunt and the U.S. foolish. The entirety of the summit was riddled with surrender.
This also doesn’t reverse President Trump’s years of money ties to Russian oligarchs, his campaign’s contacts with Russian operatives, or his overall conciliatory policy position towards Russia. Not to mention, Trump’s post-summit tweets undermine his statements.
This half-baked statement was clearly designated for a specific target audience: Republicans on Capitol Hill and conservative media. This gave them breathing room to try and obfuscate what Trump meant and attempt to quell the unanimous backlash. But as we saw, President Trump continues to contradict himself in the aftermath.
One can only hope the media covers this appropriately.
Please don’t let “misspoke” become the new “falsehood”
President Trump did not misspeak. He knew exactly what he was saying in Helsinki. He is not “walking back” his comments. He is lying.
— zak ali (@_zakali) July 17, 2018
Even the lights fact-checked him.
Lights go out while President Trump says he has “full faith” in US intelligence agencies.
“Woops, they just turned off the light. That must be the intelligence agencies. There it goes. Okay. You guys okay? Good. That was strange. But that’s okay.” pic.twitter.com/kWJXCTzeO3
— Talal Ansari (@TalalNAnsari) July 17, 2018
It was actually Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Chief of staff John Kelly accidentally turned the lights off today as POTUS was clarifying his Helsinki comments in the Cabinet Room, and WaPo photog Jabin Botsford took this shot. https://t.co/xYoLzdk99q pic.twitter.com/O8iEFahqAA
— Dan Zak (@MrDanZak) July 17, 2018
In other news…
Russian intelligence agencies are planning to ramp up operations targeting western countries now that the World Cup and the Trump-Putin Helsinki summit have ended, according to sources familiar with intelligence collected by the United Kingdom, the US and other allies.
- In an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, President Trump doubled down on many of his talking points, and in one moment questioned why the United States is upholding Article 5.
Trump says he’s bothered by provisions of NATO that require the US to come to the defense of other member countries. pic.twitter.com/2xY1FjBTSn
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 18, 2018
- At an event in South Africa commemorating what would’ve been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, former President Barack Obama spoke out.
One day after Trump met with Putin, Obama defended democratic values & blasted authoritarianism, bigotry & the “politics of fear, resentment, & retrenchment.”
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) July 17, 2018