Trump just tried to blame Obama for Russia's 2016 election interference

News & Politics

As analysts and reporters continue to pore over Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, President Donald Trump is in Florida, and he's — what else? — tweeting out nonsense:

Trump has tried to blame President Barack Obama for Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election before, but to do it on the day when the Mueller revealed so much more about his campaign's duplicity is truly brazen, even for him.

As Vox's Zach Beauchamp laid out about the report:

We learned that two Trump campaign officials, campaign manager Paul Manafort and Manafort’s deputy Rick Gates, were regularly providing polling information to a Russian national whom Gates believed to be a “spy.”

We learned that, after Trump publicly called on Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s emails, he privately ordered future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to find them. Flynn reached out to a man named Peter Smith who (apparently falsely) told a number of people that he was in contact with Russian agents.

We learned that Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos attempted to arrange meetings between Trump and Putin, and that Trump personally approved Papadopoulos’s work on this front.

Mueller does not charge anyone with criminally conspiring to help the Russians, but he reveals that Trump and his campaign's public efforts to encourage Russian interference were amplified by even more nefarious, private efforts.

As for his claim that the "vote" was not affected by the Russian election interference, there's little support for such a claim, which is difficult to assess. There's no credible evidence that the Russians somehow manipulated vote tallies, but their aggressive propaganda efforts to damage the Hillary Clinton campaign and help Trump could potentially have swung the election toward him, or at least affected voters on the margin.

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