Politics & Policy

The Corner

Trump Was in a Fever to Defend the Legitimacy of His Election

Further to Andy’s piece on the homepage, a couple of passages in Thursday’s reporting on the Mueller investigation jumped out at me.

One is from that Washington Post piece:

Officials said one of the exchanges of potential interest to Mueller took place on March 22, less than a week after Coats was confirmed by the Senate to serve as the nation’s top intelligence official.

Coats was attending a briefing at the White House with officials from several other government agencies. When the briefing ended, as The Washington Post previously reported, Trump asked everyone to leave the room except for Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Coats told associates that Trump had asked him whether Coats could intervene with Comey to get the bureau to back off its focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its Russia probe, according to officials. Coats later told lawmakers that he never felt pressured to intervene.

A day or two after the March 22 meeting, Trump telephoned Coats and Rogers to separately ask them to issue public statements denying the existence of any evidence of coordination between his campaign and the Russian government.

Then, there’s the Wall Street Journal version:

While Mr. Ledgett was still in office, he wrote a memo documenting a phone call that Mr. Rogers had with Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. During the call, the president questioned the veracity of the intelligence community’s judgment that Russia had interfered with the election and tried to persuade Mr. Rogers to say there was no evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russian officials, they said.” 

Perhaps Flynn has the goods on Trump and maybe Trump was colluding with the Russians and is now covering his tracks. I’m prepared to believe both of these things — just as soon as there’s some real evidence for them. In the meantime, the facts we know suggest that Trump was obsessed with getting two things out there: 1) that there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, when so far everyone who might have access to such evidence says they haven’t seen any; 2) that the FBI wasn’t investigating him, when Comey repeatedly told him the FBI wasn’t investigating him.

In other words, it appears so far that Trump is guilty of ham-handedly and inappropriately trying to make public things that were . . . true. 

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

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