President Donald Trump really wants to emphasize that, according to him, there was “no collusion” with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
After his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday, Trump gave a prepared statement to reporters during a meeting with members of Congress to clarify a few things — including saying that he does believe the US intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
It took mere minutes following the remarks for people to quickly notice an addition to his typewritten statement, thanks to an image from CNN reporter Kevin Liptak. It appears someone scrawled “There was no colusion” in capital letters on the side of the script.
Trump was reading for a typewritten script during his "clarification" moment but he made some handwritten additions, including: "THERE WAS NO COLLUSION" pic.twitter.com/0IfleZm8yJ— Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) July 17, 2018
The same editor, wielding a thick black marker (one of Trump’s trademarks), also appears to have deleted the sentence fragment “Anyone involved in that meddling to justice” immediately following Trump’s assertion that “I have on numerous occasions noted our intelligence findings that Russians attempted to interfere in our elections.”
The statement to reporters directly contradicted what Trump had said at the Monday press conference, where he suggested that he trusted Putin’s word over that of US intelligence agencies, which have provided damning evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election: “I don’t see any reason why it would be [Russia],” he said.
Trump claimed Tuesday that he intended to say “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be [Russia]” — and that he thought the meaning was “obvious.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation hasn’t uncovered conclusive proof of collusion (that we know of). But Mueller has found plenty of evidence that points in that direction. While it’s unclear who wrote that popular phrase so largely and openly on the side of prepared statements, it’s a refrain that Trump has returned to time and again in his tweets (where it’s usually spelled correctly):
Now that I am back from Singapore, where we had a great result with respect to North Korea, the thought process must sadly go back to the Witch Hunt, always remembering that there was No Collusion and No Obstruction of the fabricated No Crime.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2018
There was No Collusion with Russia (except by the Democrats). When will this very expensive Witch Hunt Hoax ever end? So bad for our Country. Is the Special Counsel/Justice Department leaking my lawyers letters to the Fake News Media? Should be looking at Dems corruption instead?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2018
A.P. has just reported that the Russian Hoax Investigation has now cost our government over $17 million, and going up fast. No Collusion, except by the Democrats!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 1, 2018