President Donald Trump, in a flurry of Sunday morning tweets, denied he ever doubted Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, repeated campaign comments that appeared to sow doubt about the identity of the real culprit, and boasted about his upset victory.
“I never said Russia did not meddle in the election,” Trump tweeted. “I said ‘it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.’ The Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia — it never did!”
The tweets came two days after the FBI indicted 13 Russian nationals and three companies with stealing identities and spending money in a scheme to interfere with the 2016 presidential election in favor of the Trump campaign.
Trump’s Sunday morning Twitter volley, which included the use of off-color language, also followed a Saturday tweet where he mentioned a litany of familiar targets, while appearing to chastise H.R. McMaster, his national security adviser, who said the Russia indictment left no doubt who was behind the election meddling.
“General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!”
In another tweet, he laid blame on the administration of former President Barack Obama for its handling of the allegations against Russia, citing comments made to NBC News Friday by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a ranking member of the House intelligence committee.
Trump tweeted Sunday: “Finally, Liddle’ Adam Schiff, the leakin’ monster of no control, is now blaming the Obama Administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 Election,” Trump tweeted. “He is finally right about something. Obama was President, knew of the threat, and did nothing. Thank you Adam!”
Trump, in the tweets, continued to seek out credit for his upset victory in November 2016.
“Now that Adam Schiff is starting to blame President Obama for Russian meddling in the election, he is probably doing so as yet another excuse that the Democrats, lead by their fearless leader, Crooked Hillary Clinton, lost the 2016 election. But wasn’t I a great candidate?”
In his comments, Schiff did not blame the Obama administration for the Russia meddling, but said Trump’s predecessor should have exposed the Russians’ actions much earlier.
In a subsequent tweet, Trump wrote, “If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. 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!”
Talk of the indictments reverberated on the Sunday morning talk show circuit.
Schiff, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said he did not believe that the indictment suggested that a determination had been made that there was no collusion.
“This is a president who claims vindication anytime someone sneezes.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who briefly led Trump’s presidential transition, told ABC’s “This Week,” it was too early to determine the scope of Mueller’s investigation, noting the special counsel’s probe is “not over yet,” and there are “lots of other places for Mueller to look.”
Asked if he believed the indictments released Friday, proved there was no collusion by the Trump campaign, Christie said: “Well, it proves there’s no collusion to this point . . . we have to see where he goes next.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said although the Mueller indictments note that Russians attempted to boost support for his failed presidential bid against Hillary Clinton via social media, his campaign had not been interviewed by Mueller’s team.
Sanders, calling the Russian election meddling “an effort to undermine American democracy,” urged the president to take a tougher stance against Russia in the wake of the Mueller indictments.
“We have got to say to the Russians . . . ‘you are not going to get away with it,’” Sanders said.
Former Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta, appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” accused Trump of not doing enough to denounce and punish Russia for meddling in the 2016 election, noting that he had yet to sign-off on sanctions approved by Congress last year.
“If this is information warfare, I think he’s the first draft dodger in the war,” Podesta said.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware), also called on Trump to enact more sanctions against Russia, telling CBS’s “Face the Nation,” “there are actions we should be taking to increase the pressure on Russia to back off.”