Friday, February 16, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He falsely claimed that the indictment of Russians for conspiring to help him win the election proved his innocence in any Russian conspiracy.

Today, the Office of the Special Counsel released a federal grand jury indictment of 13 Russian individuals and three Russian organizations for conspiracy against the United States. The lengthy bill of indictment describes an espionage and intelligence-gathering operation that fed a vast, highly sophisticated disinformation campaign conducted over the internet and with support from American citizens. The indictment says that the object of the conspiracy was to interfere with the election and thereby erode Americans' faith in the legitimacy of their government and elections.

Trump's reaction was to declare, in a statement and on Twitter, that the indictment actually exonerated him. He claimed that the Mueller investigation showed "that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump Campaign and Russia and that the outcome of the campaign was not changed or affected."

The indictment in no way exonerates Trump or the Trump campaign. It does not say that the Russians' efforts to affect the outcome of the election was unsuccessful. 

It does, however, indicate that the indicted Russians were working with other co-conspirators "known to the grand jury" but not specified in the indictment. It also identifies the Trump campaign as the intended beneficiary of the Russians' efforts by mid-2016.

Why is this important?

  • It's wrong to lie.
  • It shouldn't take this much effort to get a president to acknowledge an ongoing attack on the United States.