Trump Accuses Robert Mueller's Team of 'Meddling' in the 2018 Elections

Trump is now going well beyond just saying that the investigation team is biased against him.

Donald Trump began the morning where he has started so many mornings in the last week: Attacking the investigators looking into foreign influence in his campaign. But he didn’t stop with the usual proclamations that the investigation was merely unwarranted, or with false statements about findings.

Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump  

The 13 Angry Democrats (plus people who worked 8 years for Obama) working on the rigged Russia Witch Hunt, will be MEDDLING with the mid-term elections, especially now that Republicans (stay tough!) are taking the lead in Polls. There was no Collusion, except by the Democrats!

4:00 AM - May 29, 2018
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The idea that 13 members of Mueller’s team are even Democrats, much less either “hardened” or “angry” is entirely Trump’s invention, but Trump is now going well beyond just saying that the investigation team is biased against him. Instead, he’s attempting to turn Robert Mueller from the man who is investigation the subornation of an American election into the meddler who must be stopped. It’s not projection. It’s what in earlier days would have been called vile calumny.  It’s also what in legal terms is simply known as slander. 

Slander is the act of saying something untrue about someone with the purpose of causing harm. In the United States, it’s extremely difficult for any public figure, whether a politician or a special counsel, to succeed in a case of slander or defamation. To do so they have to prove the person making the statement didn’t just know they statement they were making was false, but acted with genuine malice. Robert Mueller and the members of his team are highly unlikely to ever levy that charge, but there is no doubt Trump has met the requirements. 

Donald Trump is committing a crime, in the furtherance of a crime, with the specific intent of harming not just the investigation, but the nation. That’s not treason, not in the legal sense, because that too has a strict definition. But it is a staggering betrayal of the nation’s trust and lasting assault on justice.

Trump continued this tirade the way he has for the last several days, by turning the assault toward the Democratic Party.

Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump  

Why aren’t the 13 Angry and heavily conflicted Democrats investigating the totally Crooked Campaign of totally Crooked Hillary Clinton. It’s a Rigged Witch Hunt, that’s why! Ask them if they enjoyed her after election celebration!

4:09 AM - May 29, 2018
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It’s unclear what Trump is speaking to here. Clearly there was no after election celebration by the Clinton campaign. Which makes it incredibly simple for Trump or anyone else in the Fox News—White House duet to claim that some member of Mueller’s team would have been at a Clinton celebration. If there had been a celebration. Which there was not. Or maybe it’s just a pitiful, sneering attempt at mean-spirited humor. That seems possible.

Trump then apparently finished this triptych of lies with what looks like at least a temporary sign off from his proclamations.

Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump  

Sorry, I’ve got to start focusing my energy on North Korea Nuclear, bad Trade Deals, VA Choice, the Economy, rebuilding the Military, and so much more, and not on the Rigged Russia Witch Hunt that should be investigating Clinton/Russia/FBI/Justice/Obama/Comey/Lynch etc.

4:27 AM - May 29, 2018
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Whether that’s “Sorry, I’m too busy to talk about this further” or “Sorry, I can’t allow this investigation to continue” isn’t clear. And for once, that lack of clarity in Trump’s statement is likely by design.

But all of Trump’s statements in this set, as well as those over the long weekend, go toward the same end: An attempt to vilify not just every Democrat, but any Republican who ever worked with a Democrat. The posts included a list of enemies, and a set of declarations that will have future generations thinking that “trumped up charges” began with this man.

There’s an ugliness here that goes well beyond Trump’s effort to sabotage the investigation, or even beyond the damage he’s doing to the nation’s reputation and justice system. 

 

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Mark Sumner is the author of the nonfiction work "The Evolution of Everything" as well as several novels including "Devil's Tower."