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Blaming everyone else, Trump has yet to condemn Russia for election interference

In numerous tweets Trump issued attack after attack, but remained silent towards Russia in the wake of indictments


Charlie May
February 18, 2018 6:55PM (UTC)

In a series of tweets that began on Saturday night and spilled into Sunday morning, President Donald Trump continued to downplay attempts the U.S. intelligence community has said were made by Russia to interfere with the 2016 election.

The tweets have largely been in response to Friday's indictment of 13 Russians by a federal grand jury. Since May, special counsel Robert Mueller has been leading the investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. But even in the tweets that didn't pertain to Russia, it was clear the president was in the mood to attack.

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Trump told the country to "get smart" and said that Russia has succeeded if their goal was to "create discord."

While the indictments unveiled by Mueller on Friday do not allege collusion with the Trump campaign, or having impacted the election tally, Trump has yet to issue any harsh words for Russia. Instead, he targeted H.R. McMaster, his national security adviser who said the evidence that Russian meddled in the 2016 election was "incontrovertible."

"As you can see with the FBI indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain," McMaster told a Russian delegate at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, the New York Daily News reported.

Trump went on to tweet that McMaster had left out information that he claimed to be important.

He also suggested the FBI had focused too much on the Russia investigation, and therefore missed the opportunity to stop the Valentine's Day shooting in Parkland, Fla., that claimed 17 lives.

It certainly wouldn't be a typical tweetstorm if Trump didn't take shots at his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.

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But by Sunday morning Trump had a new target and, of course, it was a familiar one. The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff, of California, was both attacked and complimented in the very same tweet by the president.

Schiff got the last word in on Sunday morning and said on CNN that the indictments in no way vindicated the president.

"But this is a president who claims vindication anytime someone sneezes," Schiff said on "State of the Union."

Trump seemed to finally give an inch, and wrote that "I never said Russia did not meddle in the election," even though it was reported by CNN earlier last week that he still hadn't believed Russia interfered. Nonetheless, he concluded with his assertion of innocence, and expressed his campaign never participated in any collusion.

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Continuing his theme of attack, Trump targeted yet another familiar foe: CNN. The president retweeted a cartoon tweeted by an unverified account that depicted an old an decrepit illustration of CNN's Wolf Blitzer, who said, "Update! We should see evidence of Russia-Trump collusion any day now."

In all, Trump continued to divert attention from a national security issue in order to save himself from any blame, which has even been criticized by some Republicans. Trump has been quick to issue attacks, and condemn the actions of any and all who oppose him, but remains totally silent and unwilling to advance the conversation further on how to protect future U.S. elections.

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Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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