President Donald Trump lashed out with fresh anger tweetstorm about the intensifying Russia probe over the weekend, accusing Democrats of enabling a foreign adversary to interfere in the 2016 election and attacking the FBI as well as his own national security adviser.
In a defiant and error-laden tweetstorm that was remarkable even by his own combative standards, Trump stewed aloud about the latest indictments brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller against Russians for their elaborate campaign to denigrate the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, and push voters toward Trump.
The president seized on Mueller’s evidence of the expansive scope of the Russian influence efforts to claim that the indictments exonerated him and proved there was “no collusion”. But the special counsel’s investigation of possible complicity between Russia and the Trump campaign is continuing, as is the examination of whether Trump has sought to obstruct justice.
In a string of 10 Twitter messages – which began after 11pm Saturday and ended around noon on Sunday (4am Monday AEDT), and which included profanity and misspellings – Trump opened a window into his state of mind, even as Trump’s representatives at a global security conference in Germany advised jittery allies to generally ignore the president’s tweets.
Trump’s latest attacks built on remarks last week in which he misrepresented the evidence revealed by Mueller. He tweeted falsely “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election.” He blamed President Barack Obama’s administration for doing “nothing” to stop the intrusion. Trump rebuked national security adviser HR McMaster for publicly saying the evidence of Russian interference was “incontrovertible”.
And he held the FBI responsible for last week’s devastating shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 dead. Trump tweeted that the bureau was committing so many resources to the Russia probe that it missed “all of the many signals” about the shooter.
One topic Trump avoided in his missives was the punishment of Russia from an angry tweetstorm, the president did not spell out how his administration might seek to retaliate against the Russians or how it may try to protect the US electoral system from continued attacks, which the nation’s intelligence chiefs warned last week should be expected.
“What is it we’re going to do about the threat posed by the Russians?” James Clapper, who was director of national intelligence during the 2016 election, said on CNN. “He never talks about that. It’s all about himself.”
In fact, Trump blamed the various domestic investigations into Russia’s intrusions – as opposed to the interference itself – for sowing discord in America.
The president tweeted Sunday: “If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the US then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!”
Trump sent the messages from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where he was ensconced for two days. He spent much of the time watching cable news, venting to friends about the Russia investigation and complaining that it has been driving so much press coverage, according to people who have spoken to him. The president also surveyed Mar-a-Lago Club members about whether he ought to champion gun control measures in the wake of last week’s school massacre in nearby Parkland, telling them that he was closely monitoring the media appearances by some of the surviving students, according to people who spoke with him there.