Donald Trump, both before the election and after his swearing in, has consistently maintained that he did not believe that Russia either interfered with the election or attempted to do so. If you are hearing otherwise, here is the record:
- “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. [Hillary Clinton is] saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t — maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?” (First presidential debate, Sept. 26, 2016)
- “[Clinton] has no idea whether it is Russia, China or anybody else… Our country has no idea.” (Third presidential debate, Oct. 19, 2016)
- “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’” (Trump statement on Washington Post report that CIA assessed Russia was trying to help Trump win, Dec. 9, 2016)
- “They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place. I mean, they have no idea.” (Trump interview on Fox News Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016)
“The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!” (Trump tweet, Jan. 3, 2017)
- “Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’ – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info! (Trump tweet, Jan. 4, 2017)
- “The dishonest media likes saying that I am in Agreement with Julian Assange – wrong. I simply state what he states, it is for the people….to make up their own minds as to the truth. The media lies to make it look like I am against “Intelligence” when in fact I am a big fan!” (Trump tweets, Jan. 5, 2017)
- “The Democratic National Committee would not allow the FBI to study or see its computer info after it was supposedly hacked by Russia….. So how and why are they so sure about hacking if they never even requested an examination of the computer servers? What is going on?” (Trump tweets, Jan. 5, 2017)
On Tuesday of this week, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked, “Does the president believe that Russia interfered in the 2016 election?”, to which Spicer answered, “I have not sat down and talked to him about that specific thing.”
And to close the loop, Trump tweeted this on June 22:
Former Homeland Security Advisor Jeh Johnson is latest top intelligence official to state there was no grand scheme between Trump & Russia.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2017
After all of that, now on June 24 – we see Trump doing a 90 degree turnaround, with this:
Just out: The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2017
This last tweet constitutes a complete repudiation of his previous position on the subject. It may be that Trump did not consider the implication of this tweet, since he was concentrating on feeding his political base with some red meat about the former president.
Even so, it adds up to one more piece of evidence that Trump has no grounded position on any number of critical matters of policy.
Trump’s instability and lack of impulse control is troubling and goes against the grain of what we think of the standards we expect in a Commander In Chief – emotional intelligence, consistency, gravitas and being competently informed.