Just one day before special counsel Robert Mueller sent his final report to the Department of Justice, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke was on the campaign trail telling voters that Donald Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.
“You have a president, who in my opinion, beyond the shadow of a doubt, sought to, however ham-handedly, collude with the Russian government ― a foreign power ― to undermine and influence our elections, the sanctity of the ballot box, the ability for each and every single one of us to make informed decisions about those who seek to represent us and hold positions of public trust,” O’Rourke said at an event in South Carolina on Saturday.
This claim was entirely disproven by the reported contents of Mueller’s findings, as summarized in a letter from attorney general William Barr. But O’Rourke wasn’t the first Democratic politician to prematurely condemn the president or insinuate that his administration has been cooperating with Russia.
Just after launching her presidential campaign in late January, Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), attacked the Trump administration for weakening the status of the United States around the world, claiming in part that “we have foreign powers infecting the White House like malware.”
Another Democratic presidential candidate, New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, got in on the action as well, tweeting late last month:
A campaign for President of the United States should never be in the business of scheming with foreign adversaries to tamper with our elections. I just thought that went without saying.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) February 27, 2019
At a February event in Iowa for her presidential campaign, meanwhile, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren asserted that “by the time we get to 2020, Donald Trump may not even be president.”
“In fact, he may not even be a free person,” Warren added. When she later was asked to clarify her remark, the senator replied, “It’s no longer just the Mueller investigation. They’re everywhere, and these are serious investigations, so we’ll see what happens.”
Now, these Democratic candidates — along with many of their fellow politicians — are calling for the release of the full Mueller report, which is all well and good. But they shouldn’t be let off the hook for misleading Americans about the investigation and jumping to conclusions about the Trump administration before having all the facts.