Saturday, June 24, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He went from one extreme on Russian election interference to the other.

Trump has (understandably) been growing increasingly obsessed with the investigations into whether he or his campaign assisted Russia in its attempts to get him elected. But until yesterday, Trump had adamantly refused to acknowledge it had happened at all. Instead, he repeatedly called it a hoax by Democrats angry at having lost the election, and compared the U.S. intelligence community to Nazis when he believed they had leaked the Steele dossier. Trump also pressured top intelligence officials to publicly absolve him and his campaign of any collusion. (They refused.)

Trump was in full denialist mode on the matter as late as Thursday afternoon. Today, via Twitter, he offered yet another, very different take: Russia did seek to interfere in the election, and because the Obama administration was aware of it and failed to stop it, they should be investigated--and not him.

All of this is apparently in response to a Friday Washington Post article in which Obama administration sources pointed out that because of candidate Trump's unprecedented insistence that the election was "rigged," they were unable to publicly confront Russia for fear of creating more of the chaos and mistrust that was the Russians' goal in the first place.

Why would any normal person have a problem with this?

  • It's a little late now for Trump to start acting bothered by Russia's sabotage of American democracy.
  • It's bad if, confronted with a threat to American democracy itself, a president's first impulse is to deny it happened, and his second impulse is to loudly assign blame.