Again With The “Collusion”…
Trump made some last-minute edits to the statement he read “clarifying” the remarks he made during his news conference with Putin, which the Washington Post’s Philip Bump fascinatingly details here. Those edits included scribbling in the words “THERE WAS NO COLUSION” (sic) with a Sharpie. That’s something Trump never forgets…
In fact, during Trump’s brief “clarification” session, he brings up “collusion” three times, with lots of detailed “proofs” of why there was none, including Trump’s favorite of all time: “a lot of people have come out strongly on that…”
And if you go back and watch the joint news conference you realize that if you force yourself to ignore all the real incendiary stuff, “collusion” is the one common theme to which Trump keeps returning. Again and again. Specifically, how there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Except no one’s accusing anyone of that right now. All the charges brought so far from the Special Counsel’s investigation have to do with evidence Russian Military hacked and otherwise attempted to influence the election.
Yet Trump can’t seem to get there. He can’t seem to separate what Russia did, with what Trump and his campaign may have done. The most obvious possible explanation for this is there is no difference. But one would think Trump would still want to argue these things are separate, not that it doesn’t matter as long as he’s not involved.
We’ll show you. Let’s look at where Trump goes with almost all of his answers during the news conference, regardless of the question, and regardless of what else he’s talking about. First question he’s asked ends up like this:
For those of you who don’t have time to watch the video, what he says is:
“There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it. People are being brought out to the fore. So far that I know, virtually none of it related to the campaign. And they’re going to have to try really hard to find somebody that did relate to the campaign. It was a clean campaign. I beat Hillary Clinton easily. And frankly we beat her, and I’m not even saying from the standpoint… We won that race. And it’s a shame that there can even be a little bit of a cloud over it. People know that. People understand it. But the main thing, and we discussed this also: zero collusion.”
And here’s a clip of Trump’s answer to the very next question asked. Hint: it’s all about how there was no collusion. And BTW, this was a question posed to Putin; Trump answered it anyway:
The abridged version:
“Just to say it one time again, and I say it all the time: there was no collusion….We ran a brilliant campaign and that’s why I’m President.”
So what explains Trump’s obsession with “collusion”?
Other than what we mentioned above: that he sees Russian interference and collusion with the Trump campaign as one and the same because it is one and the same, we can only think of one thing:
Trump appears to believe that as long as there’s no proof of collusion, he’s not responsible for anything related to any bad deeds Russia might or might not have done, and all discredit falls on President Obama, Hillary Clinton, the D.N.C., the F.B.I., the Justice Department, and those who have chosen to pursue the “ridiculous” investigation.
Additionally, he seems to think the whole “disaster” as he calls the Russia probe, is really about whether he won the election on his own or not. Trump never abides sharing credit with anyone. As if pointing a finger at Russia for attacking the U.S. is tantamount to admitting he alone was not the engine of his own triumph.
Conversely, anyone alleging a Russian incursion into the electoral process could only possibly be interested in taking credit away from Trump, not in being a Patriot and defending Democracy.