On Friday night the bombshell news hit the airwaves. That was when the (not failing) New York Times reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had investigated whether President Trump was working for Russia.
Since then there has been a lot written about this new, shocking information. Trump attacked the Times for publishing the information. Republicans defended Trump’s attacks while Democrats pounced on the revelations, saying that they show that the president not only colluded with Russia but in fact committed treason as a Russian spy.
And the American people seem to be in a state of shock. The new information is almost too much to believe. Could the occupant of the White House really be working on behalf of Russia instead of on behalf of the United States?
Still, as the Washington Post points out in an insightful article today, with all of the hubbub and the recriminations, there is still one thing missing: Trump has never actually denied that he has been working for Russia.
Trump did go on Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News show Saturday night, where he said that the implication that he was working for Russia was“insulting.” However, despite his lengthy comments, he never actually addressed the question of whether it was true or not. He never said that it was untrue.
For the sake of accuracy, we are showing Trump’s entire rambling comments in their entirety below:
PIRRO: The New York Times reported that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation the day after you fired James Comey in May of ’17. And the investigation was whether you were actively working for Russia or unwittingly.
So, I’m going to ask you: Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?
“I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked. I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written. And if you read the article, you’d see that they found absolutely nothing.”
“But the headline of that article — it’s called “The failing New York Times” for a reason, they’ve gotten me wrong for three years. They’ve actually gotten me wrong for many years before that.”
“But you look at what’s going on, you know, I fired James Comey. I call him Lying James Comey because he was a terrible liar, and he did a terrible job as the FBI director. Look at what happened with the Hillary Clinton and the e-mails and the Hillary Clinton investigation, one of the biggest screw-ups that anybody’s ever seen as an investigation.”
“And what happened after I fired him? Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, his lover, Lisa Page, they did it. And, you know, they’re all gone. Most of those people, many, many people from the top ranks of the FBI, they’ve all been fired or they had to leave are. And they’re all gone. This is what they were talking about. And, obviously, nothing was found.”
“And I can tell you this, if you ask the folks in Russia, I’ve been tougher on Russia than anybody else, any other — probably any other president period, but certainly the last three or four presidents, modern day presidents. Nobody’s been as tough as I have from any standpoint, including the fact that we’ve done oil like we’ve never done it, we’re setting records in country with oil and exporting oil and many other things. So, which is, obviously, not great for them, because that’s what they — that’s where they get their money for the most part. But many other things.”
‘So I think it was a great insult. And the New York Times is a disaster as a paper. It’s a very horrible thing they said, and they’ve gone so far that people that weren’t necessarily believers are now big believers, because they said that was a step too far. They really are a disaster of a newspaper.’
In the president’s semi-coherent 350-word response he never says that the content of the Times article was wrong. He never says there is no FBI investigation. And he never says he is not a Russian asset, or a Russian spy.
Saying that he was insulted is not the same as saying that the reporting is false.
Also, it’s not clear why Trump attacked the newspaper and the article they published.
As the Post points out:
“The article didn’t say “Trump was a Russian asset”; it said the FBI launched an inquiry into the matter. Trump’s hostility would seem better reserved for the FBI than for the paper that revealed what his backers have argued was an overzealous inquiry. This is both killing the messenger and changing the subject. And that just so happens to be a good way to rhetorically avoid the actual question Pirro was asking him.”
It turns out that many Republicans in Washington also have noticed that Trump has so far not denied that the Times article is true, or that he has been working for Russia all along. And they are not happy about it.
Admittedly there are many unanswered questions in the Mueller probe, and in other federal investigations into Donald Trump and his presidency. But one of the biggest ones is this: Why hasn’t Trump denied he is a Russian asset?
The answer might be that he is a Russian asset, and he knows that Mueller has evidence to prove he is a Russian asset, so he doesn’t want to lie about it in public. If so, this could be the first time that Donald Trump has ever been reluctant to lie to the American people, since his entire candidacy and presidency have been built on lies.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.