As former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified to Congress about the Russia scandal and the federal investigation’s findings, one of the day’s central themes was simple: dishonesty.
We learned that Donald Trump and his team lied about what transpired in 2016 during the Russian attack on our elections. We learned that the president lied after the Mueller report’s completion, falsely telling the public, for example, that the document offered him a “complete and total exoneration.”
But in a weird twist, we also learned that Team Trump lied immediately after Mueller wrapped up his testimony. As a Washington Post analysis explained:
Before Robert S. Mueller III’s Capitol Hill testimony had ended, President Trump’s reelection campaign sent out an email summarizing what the former special counsel said. Or, really, summarizing what they wish he had said.
“MUELLER CONFIRMS: NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION, TOTALLY UNPRECEDENTED TREATMENT,” the email’s headline reads…. According to the email, “Mueller confirmed what we’ve known from the very beginning: there was NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION, and the treatment of President Trump is TOTALLY UNPRECEDENTED.”
There was no such “confirmation” from Mueller or anyone else. The events described in the Trump campaign’s message were fiction.
The president added in the letter to supporters, “How many times do I have to be exonerated before they stop?”
It was probably a rhetorical question, but I’ll take a moment to answer it with a related question: how about once? Perhaps the questions about Trump and the Russia scandal would fade if he were exonerated a single time? Maybe there’s reason for public skepticism after Trump’s seventh bogus exoneration claim?
Purportedly quoting a Fox News personality, the Republican added on Twitter this morning that Mueller was “exposed” yesterday “as being best friends” with former FBI Director James Comey. Putting aside how irrelevant the two men’s tenuous personal ties are, at no point yesterday was any such thing proven.
If yesterday’s congressional hearings were such a great victory for the White House, why can’t Trump and his team tell the truth about what happened? Why concoct an alternate reality?
On July 24, 2018, Donald Trump told a group of followers, “Just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”
On July 24, 2019, after Mueller’s testimony concluded, Trump delivered an eerily similar message.