Then, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio, on Oct. 22, 2016. 
Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Trump contradicts his own talking points on Russia scandal

For months, Donald Trump rejected the idea that Russia intervened in the American presidential election. A month after his improbable victory, the Republican called the allegations “ridiculous.”

In time, however, even Trump couldn’t deny the evidence put together by the U.S. intelligence community, and a month after dismissing the controversy as absurd, the president was compelled to acknowledge reality. At a pre-inauguration press conference, a reporter asked Trump if he accepts the findings that show “Vladimir Putin ordered the hack of the DNC.”

Grudgingly, at long last, he replied, “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia.”

This morning, Trump has apparently gone back to his original posture. The president tweeted:
“The Democrats had to come up with a story as to why they lost the election, and so badly (306), so they made up a story - RUSSIA. Fake news!”
As part of the same series of messages, Trump also complained about “illegal leaking” and his belief that media “makes-up stories and ‘sources.’” The president added that “low-life leakers … will be caught!”

Let’s get a couple of things out of the way. First, Trump’s obsession with his underwhelming electoral-vote totals is becoming increasingly pitiful. The president seems to think he’s helping himself with this sad rhetoric, but he couldn’t be more wrong.

Second, the contradictions are starting to pile up. If we’re talking about stories that the media “made up,” then there are no leakers to catch. He’s really going to have to get this story straight: are the recent reports the result of leaked information or are they fake news? They can’t be both, so Trump is going to have to pick one and go with it.

But even putting that aside, is the president seriously prepared to go backwards and argue that Russia didn’t launch an espionage operation to intervene in the election? After he already said he believes Russia stole Democratic materials?

This is bizarre, even for Trump. Democrats didn’t “come up with a story,” U.S. intelligence agencies did. The president should have some basic familiarity with these details – because he was briefed directly on the subject.

Does he not remember? Has Trump decided he no longer believes the information he accepted a month ago?

Donald Trump, Intelligence, Russia and Scandals

Trump contradicts his own talking points on Russia scandal