President Donald Trump has provided clarification on a tweet he made early on May 30 where he appeared to mistakenly suggest Russia had helped him win the 2016 presidential election.
Responding to reporter questions before boarding the Marine One, the president reiterated that Russia had nothing to do with his election victory.
“No, Russia did not help me get elected,” he responded after a reporter asked him about his tweet. “You know who got me elected? I got me elected. Russia didn’t help me at all.”
“Russia, if anything, I think helped the other side,” he added. “What you ought to ask is this: Do you think that the media helped Hillary Clinton get elected? She didn’t make it. But you take a look at collusion between Hillary Clinton and the media. You take a look at collusion between Hillary Clinton and Russia. She had more to do … with Russia than I did.”
Earlier today, Trump made a series of tweets in response to media coverage of Robert Mueller’s statement that the special counsel made on May 29.
“Russia, Russia, Russia! That’s all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax…And now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected. It was a crime that didn’t exist,” the president wrote.
Russia, Russia, Russia! That’s all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax…And now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected. It was a crime that didn’t exist. So now the Dems and their partner, the Fake News Media,…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2019
….say he fought back against this phony crime that didn’t exist, this horrendous false accusation, and he shouldn’t fight back, he should just sit back and take it. Could this be Obstruction? No, Mueller didn’t find Obstruction either. Presidential Harassment!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2019
“So now the Dems and their partner, the Fake News Media, say he fought back against this phony crime that didn’t exist, this horrendous false accusation, and he shouldn’t fight back, he should just sit back and take it. Could this be Obstruction? No, Mueller didn’t find Obstruction either. Presidential Harassment!”
Several media outlets jumped on the wording of Trump’s tweet, claiming that Trump had admitted that Russia had a role in his win during the elections, even though Trump repeatedly denied these allegations in the tweet and in the past.
Mueller’s report from his nearly two-year-long investigation had concluded that there was no evidence to suggest the Trump campaign and Russia colluded to influence the 2016 presidential election.
The New York Times ran a story with the headline “Trump admits to Russia ‘helping me to get elected.” Similarly, MSNBC, CNN, the Hill, The Washington Post, and Vox published stories highlighting the apparent error in the tweet.
Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, took to Twitter to criticize the New York Times for the story, describing their behavior as “disgusting and unprofessional.”
“The nytimes clearly knows this is NOT TRUE,” Parscale wrote. “@realDonaldTrump stated unequivocally during his presser this is FALSE. The editors at @nytimes want nothing more than to take one typo and have it redefine 10,000 on the record comments. Disgusting and unprofessional!”
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) May 30, 2019
Trump has repeatedly slammed the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt.” Trump said on March 20, “There was no collusion, there was no obstruction, there was no nothing.”
The Justice Department released a redacted version of Mueller’s report on April 18. The more-than 400-page report details how the special counsel concluded that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. The report also found that the special counsel did not find enough evidence to substantiate that the president obstructed justice.
On May 29, Mueller formally announced an end to the Russia investigation and reiterated his report findings. He added that he would not make further comments about the investigation and said anyone with further questions about the probe should refer to his report as his testimony.
The special counsel also clarified why his office did not decide whether to bring an obstruction of justice charge against the president. He said the decision was influenced by a DOJ policy which prohibits charging a sitting president with a federal crime, adding that the special counsel refrained from making a determination out of a desire to be fair to the president.
“And beyond department policy, we were guided by the principle of fairness. It would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge,” Mueller said.
“Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider,” he added. “That is the office’s final position and we will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the president.”
Responding to Mueller, Trump said, “Nothing changes from the Mueller Report.”
“There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you,” he added.
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.