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Trump blames everyone but Russia

President Donald Trump, ensconced in his opulent private club of Mar-a-Lago this weekend, had a screed of combative t...

Posted: Feb 19, 2018 8:40 AM
Updated: Feb 19, 2018 8:40 AM

President Donald Trump, ensconced in his opulent private club of Mar-a-Lago this weekend, had a screed of combative thoughts.

None, however, offered answers.

Here in South Florida, the weekend air was filled with raw emotion in the wake of the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook. Local television broadcasts featured searing calls to action and demonstrations from students and parents alike.

Trump, inside his estate and restrained from golfing for two straight days for fear of bad optics, was seemingly following along - and unleashed on Twitter.

Just 40 miles north of Parkland, the President blasted the FBI for missing warning signs about the shooter - and promptly turned the subject back to himself by suggesting the bureau was too preoccupied with the Russia investigation and could have prevented the shooting.

The string of rants - which aides were given no heads up about - made clear that if anyone was preoccupied by Russia, it was surely the President.

With a pair of national crises before him - another deadly shooting and another wave of evidence that Russia interfered in an American election - Trump demonstrated Sunday morning which was occupying more of his attention: Rather than outlining steps to protect the nation against more shootings or tampering in upcoming elections, he made the moment about himself.

Trump has yet to detail what he or his administration plan to do to punish Russia for meddling in the 2016 election. Special counsel Robert Mueller, in a thorough indictment released Friday, detailed how hundreds of Russian operatives -- including a close associate to Russian President Vladimir Putin -- interfered in the election by organizing political events and used social media to tout Trump and criticize Hillary Clinton.

In a series of tweets -- over a dozen since the indictment was revealed -- Trump has repeatedly said his 2016 campaign did not collude with Russian operatives ("no collusion!" he wrote), labeled Adam Schiff, the ranking member on the House Intelligence committee, a "leakin' monster of no control" and lamented the fact that "they are laughing their asses off in Moscow."

The tweets come hours before Trump will meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan, a lawmaker who has tried to avoid commenting on the President's Twitter missives. The messages threaten to overshadow a previously planned meeting on the party's legislative agenda and mid-term election outlook.

And they are a sign that neither embattled White House chief of staff John Kelly - on property for the weekend at Mar-a-Lago - or other advisers who met with the president on Saturday can keep him on track.

"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. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow," he wrote. "Get smart America!

The messages shed light on a President who has been almost entirely focused on the past -- how the Russian allegations impact the legitimacy of his presidency and accusations against his 2016 campaign -- and not how he will work to stop Russia from meddling in the future.

In a written statement released Friday, Trump's prescription for combating Russia was for the country to "come together as Americans" and "stop the outlandish partisan attacks, wild and false allegations, and far-fetched theories, which only serve to further the agendas of bad actors, like Russia, and do nothing to protect the principles of our institutions."

The statement did not detail how his administration would penalize the country for their 2016 efforts.

The weekend messages also show that there is little Trump won't use to undercut Mueller's investigation.

Late on Saturday night, Trump linked the admitted mistake by the FBI around last week's school shooting in Parkland with the Russia investigation. The Wednesday shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killed 17 people.

"Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable," he wrote. "They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign - there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!"

The FBI announced on Friday that they failed to act on a tip about Nikolas Cruz, the confessed shooter in the Parkland school massacre. A person close to Cruz, according to the FBI, contacted them on February 5 to report concerns. But the bureau did not appropriately follow established protocols in following up on the tip.

Trump echoed Fox News and other conservative media who seized on the admitted mistake, using it as the latest data point in the President's months long campaign to undercut Mueller's investigation.

Trump's issues with Mueller have long been clear: He views any suggestion that Russia helped tip the election in his favor as an insinuation that he isn't a legitimate president, a charge that openly frustrates him.

But by ignoring Russia's impact on the election, Trump has done little to confront Putin for meddling.

The Trump administration decided last month not to impose new sanctions on Russian individuals for meddling in the 2016 election, bucking Congress by instead putting out a "name and shame" list of prominent Russian business and political figures.

Trump has raised questions as to whether Russia actually meddled in the election by repeatedly calling it a hoax and CNN reported this month that Trump remains unconvinced that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, even as his intelligence chiefs unanimously told a Senate panel Tuesday that Russia meddled in 2016 and is planning to do so again in 2018.

The President also told reporters in Vietnam last year that he accepts Putin's denials on 2016 meddling.

Trump even went as far as to undercut his own national security adviser via Twitter this weekend, telling his 48 million followers that "General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems."

McMaster told an audience in Munich, Germany, that the Mueller indictments released Friday show evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 election is "now really incontrovertible."

The burst of tweets may offer a window into the president's thinking. His decision to go after his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, underscored what aides have been describing in recent days as a souring relationship.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 578494

Reported Deaths: 9202
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion798821282
Lake43601664
Allen31380537
Hamilton27675303
St. Joseph26409369
Elkhart23873336
Vanderburgh18192211
Tippecanoe16999116
Porter14183158
Johnson14120277
Hendricks13560236
Madison10312209
Vigo10297171
Clark9952128
Monroe8933105
Delaware8638129
LaPorte8589153
Kosciusko777375
Howard7712136
Warrick624990
Hancock621995
Bartholomew616094
Floyd5971105
Wayne5811155
Grant5716108
Dubois533570
Boone523167
Morgan501485
Marshall487084
Henry483262
Cass464959
Noble453956
Dearborn443343
Jackson410145
Shelby394376
Lawrence374172
Clinton359838
Gibson348556
DeKalb333063
Montgomery329150
Knox323339
Harrison317242
Miami305043
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Scott212837
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Sullivan185831
Spencer176917
Fountain175125
Washington170216
Starke169241
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Owen155536
Carroll150115
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Rush145618
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Perry141327
Franklin139333
Parke12718
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Pike111325
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Pulaski93636
Newton87820
Brown84428
Benton83010
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Martin68013
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Switzerland6035
Union6033
Ohio4547
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 807293

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin95508704
Cuyahoga80262964
Hamilton59783436
Montgomery40858396
Summit32488697
Lucas29495575
Butler29100225
Stark24048388
Warren18471135
Lorain17563207
Mahoning16430334
Lake14941134
Clermont14703103
Delaware1349574
Licking12353132
Trumbull12096297
Fairfield1184280
Greene11338132
Medina10815164
Clark10334261
Wood9742153
Allen9355126
Miami867373
Portage8628104
Richland8604111
Marion7231112
Tuscarawas6987172
Columbiana6922124
Pickaway689050
Wayne6599162
Muskingum648939
Erie5729117
Hancock529088
Ross518287
Scioto508753
Geauga469955
Darke450589
Ashtabula431467
Union422327
Mercer419485
Lawrence417051
Sandusky413262
Auglaize407059
Shelby404621
Seneca404354
Huron399738
Jefferson391565
Belmont378140
Putnam359370
Washington357039
Athens35469
Madison331128
Knox329022
Ashland322538
Fulton319043
Defiance311476
Crawford306769
Preble306434
Brown289617
Logan284828
Ottawa275534
Clinton272741
Williams265757
Highland255618
Jackson250743
Guernsey234625
Champaign233727
Fayette218929
Morrow21754
Holmes215562
Perry215317
Henry206147
Hardin200932
Coshocton194517
Van Wert193744
Wyandot186948
Gallia186226
Adams160815
Pike160116
Hocking157423
Carroll143216
Paulding137521
Noble116138
Meigs99021
Monroe93827
Harrison8428
Morgan75826
Vinton64013
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