The president took to Twitter this morning to once again reverse his position about Russian interference in the upcoming 2016 election and decided to engage in a simplistic and disgraceful form of deflection.
Melding obvious lie to baseless assertion, Trump had the nerve to declare that “no president had been tougher on Russia” than he had and that because of that, Russia would be working to elect Democrats during the upcoming midterm elections.
I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2018
The tweet was almost certainly sent at the urging of the president’s handlers, who are desperate to get the president to take a hostile position on Russia and actually stick to it for more than three days before impulsively walking it back.
Last week, the president answered “No” to a question about whether or not Russia was targeting the United States’ 2016 midterm elections, in complete contradiction of the warning that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats had sounded on Monday: “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.”
On Friday, Coats went even further and compared the warning signs to the warnings before the 9/11 terror attacks: “The warning lights are blinking red again. Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.”
While we suppose it’s a positive step that Trump is acknowledging that the Russians will be attempting to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections, it’s unlikely that the President will do anything to stop it, since President Putin made it very clear at the Helsinki Summit that he wanted Trump to win in 2016 and is certainly going to continue to do so.
Just last week in Helsinki, Vladimir Putin responded, "Yes, I did" when asked point-blank if he wanted Trump to win in 2016. https://t.co/WCZXfXG5u5
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) July 24, 2018
The worst possible scenario is that this “Russia is supporting the Democrats” is another fictitious narrative that will nevertheless be endlessly parroted by right-wing media and then used as an excuse by the Trump administration to unleash even more voter suppression measures in the name of electoral integrity.
We cannot allow the president and his cronies to get away with this astounding about-face and ridiculous lie — though thankfully, we probably won’t have to, as the president has shown that he’s probably going to start feeling insecure about the existential threat to the legitimacy of his tremendous electoral college victory and dismiss it all as a fake news hoax in a few days.
It could even be a few hours.