Sometimes a good defense is a better offense. No one understands this better than President Donald Trump, who unfortunately uses this strategy to deceive the American people.
Case-in-point: Trump went on a multi-tweet rant Wednesday morning, peddling suppositions and unfounded conspiracy theories as fact while doing so.
Trump has, on a few occasions over the past week, made reference to revelations that an FBI informant made direct contact with several members of his 2016 presidential campaign, insinuating (without evidence to back up his claim) that this individual was a “spy” working for the FBI on behalf of former President Barack Obama.
He repeated that assertion on Wednesday morning, suggesting that the informant was placed within the campaign by the “previous Administration for political purposes” and paid a large sum of cash in order to do so.
If the person placed very early into my campaign wasn’t a SPY put there by the previous Administration for political purposes, how come such a seemingly massive amount of money was paid for services rendered - many times higher than normal...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2018
...Follow the money! The spy was there early in the campaign and yet never reported Collusion with Russia, because there was no Collusion. He was only there to spy for political reasons and to help Crooked Hillary win - just like they did to Bernie Sanders, who got duped!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2018
Trump also made reference to the “criminal deep state,” a conspiracy theory held by many far-right conservatives that alleges holdouts from the Obama administration still working in executive branch offices are purposely undermining the Trump presidency — allegations that are without any sort of merit whatsoever.
Trump also suggested that the informant never reported on collusion efforts between the Trump campaign and Russia. There are two things to consider here: first, Trump has no way of actually knowing that; and second, even if the informant didn’t report on collusion, that doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t see suspicious activity that made them question whether it was a possibility. Nor does it mean that collusion didn’t happen, although there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that it did with or without this informant.
In another tweet, Trump took out of context the words former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in an interview with "The View."
“Trump should be happy that the FBI was SPYING on his campaign” No, James Clapper, I am not happy. Spying on a campaign would be illegal, and a scandal to boot!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2018
Of course, that’s not what Clapper said. Clapper explained to the hosts of that program that investigators were interested in why Russia was so involved in Trump’s campaign efforts.
“[The FBI was] spying on, a term I don't particularly like, but on what the Russians were doing,” Clapper suggested. “Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage or influence, which is what they do.”
Host Joy Behar then said, “Well, why doesn't [he] like that? [Trump] should be happy.”
“He should be,” Clapper answered.
Those comments are a far cry from what Trump tweeted.
Trump also gave a new name for his conspiracy theory — “spygate’ — in one additional tweet, saying it “could be one of the biggest political scandals in history.”
SPYGATE could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2018
But that moniker, as well as every insinuation Trump made this morning, should be soundly rejected. It all boils down to this: Trump is fearful of the investigation surrounding himself and those around him. He’s doing what he does best: taking an offensive approach, forcing others to have to react to his statements.
It’s an ingenious political strategy, really, but it also deserves to be called out. Everything Trump said this morning is either a lie or a purposeful misdirection. It’s hand-waving, plain and simple, and the American people should not fall for this president’s shameful antics.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters