- Tom Brenner/The New York Times
- President Donald Trump: “If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord... they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams,”
By KATIE ROGERS
© 2018 New York Times News Service
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump, in a series of angry and defiant tweets Sunday morning, sought to shift the blame to Democrats for Russia’s virtual war to meddle in the 2016 election, saying that President Barack Obama had not done enough to stop the interference and denying that he had ever suggested that Moscow might not have been involved.
“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,” Trump wrote.
From his Florida estate, the president has spent the weekend stewing over news coverage of an indictment secured last week against more than a dozen Russians by Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading an investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia.
The indictment says that while the Russians began their scheme in 2014 with the goal of undermining the U.S. democratic system, they eventually shifted their focus to trying to help elect Trump and disparage his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The president has repeatedly seized on the fact that the efforts started before he became a candidate, but has glossed over the conclusion that they evolved toward supporting his candidacy. The indictment does not assert any wrongdoing by the president or anyone affiliated with him.
In another tweet Sunday, Trump, who has tried since the campaign to sow doubts about who was behind the election intrusions, said that he had “never said Russia did not meddle in the election,” quoting a comment he made in a 2016 presidential debate.
“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,” Trump wrote. “The Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia — it never did!”