In recent weeks, Donald Trump has relied heavily on a series of brazenly false claims about the Russia scandal and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, though it’d be a mistake to assume he’s done adding to the list.
The president has said Mueller found no evidence of collusion, which we know is false. He’s said the investigation turned up no evidence of obstruction, which is the exact opposite of the truth. The Republican has even said the Mueller report “totally exonerated” him, which some Republicans believe, despite the claim being plainly untrue.
Overnight, however, Trump added a new one:
“The Mueller Report strongly stated that there was No Collusion with Russia (of course) and, in fact, they were rebuffed at every turn in attempts to gain access “
Right off the bat, we already know that the Mueller report didn’t “strongly state” there was “no collusion.” (I’m starting to suspect Trump didn’t actually read the report. Call it a hunch.) In fact, the special counsel strongly stated that the probe didn’t examine the “collusion” question, and instead considered evidence of conspiracy between the Trump campaign and its Russian benefactors.
And on that front, instead of clearing the Republican operation, Mueller concluded there was insufficient evidence to bring charges.
But it’s the idea that Russians were “rebuffed at every turn” that stands out. A Washington Post analysis described the presidential tweet as “immediately, obviously and somewhat amusingly untrue.”
For those who hold a looser standard of collusion than does Mueller, a central example of a questionable Trump campaign interaction with Russian interests is in the meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016. You know that meeting. It’s the one where a music promoter working for the family of a powerful Russian developer emailed Donald Trump Jr. to say that the Russian government wanted to aid Trump’s campaign, and Trump Jr. “rebuffed” them by saying “if it’s what you say, I love it.”
May we all be similarly rebuffed by those we love.
The Mueller report is in fact replete with examples of Trump campaign members and allies doing the opposite of rebuffing overtures from Russia.
The list wasn’t short and featured familiar stories of all kinds of people in Trump’s orbit “rebuffing” Russians by meeting and exploring opportunities with them.
Let’s make this plain: either Donald Trump is once again lying to the public or he hasn’t the foggiest idea what “rebuffed” means.