President Donald Trump has tried to rewrite history about what happened in his Russia scandal. Now that he's approaching the 2020 election, he's fighting to shed his reputation for the culture of corruption.
Even though Attorney General Bill Barr wrote a false summary of Robert Mueller's final Russia report, Americans still didn't buy it. Trump went on a victory lap tour as the investigation was coming to a close. He kept claiming that he was vindicated, even if Mueller's report said the antithesis. But a Washington Post/ABC poll showed that most Americans believe in Mueller's findings over Trump's spin.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that Trump is trying to make another pitch to voters that he did nothing wrong, just after Republicans denied Americans a legitimate impeachment trial.
"The U.S. intelligence community long ago produced evidence of Russia’s illegal interference in the 2016 presidential election to try to boost Donald Trump’s candidacy," wrote The Post. In fact, every U.S. and international intelligence agency (except Russia's) agreed that Russia was behind the hacks of the DNC and RNC. "Then the special counsel investigating the matter detailed myriad ways President Trump sought to stymie the probe. And then Robert S. Mueller III testified to Congress about Trump’s conduct — and warned of Russia’s continued interest in thwarting U.S. elections."
It has been seven months since Mueller testified before Congress about the Russia investigation, and it's possible voters' memories are short enough to let Trump have the edge.
"Still, Russia is foremost on Trump’s mind. Since even before he was sworn in as president, Trump has viewed the FBI’s Russia investigation as a dark cloud over his administration that threatened to delegitimize his claim on the office," The Post continued. "And more than three years in, Trump remains haunted by all things Russia, according to advisers and allies, and continues to nurse a profound and unabiding sense of persecution.:
"As his reelection campaign intensifies, Trump is using the powers of his office to manipulate the facts and settle the score," the report continued, saying that his advisers are now determined to protect any of Trump's allies who've been involved in the scandal.
Because Trump views the Russia scandal as a "sham," he thinks any person charged or convicted of crimes in the Russia investigation should go free. That isn't exactly the way the justice system works, however.
“As Bob Mueller said — and the entire intelligence community confirmed — Russia is still coming at us,” said former U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg. “Not only is the president offering a false narrative to the American people about that threat, but there is no leadership from him on this incredibly important issue. We are still being attacked. It is as if the Russians invaded Alaska, and the president either said they are not actually there or that they are there, but it does not really matter because we have 49 other marvelous states.”
New York University history professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat equated Trump to a builder who's merely trying to rebuild his own story just in time for the election.
“It’s all about manipulating information and recasting the narrative to be what you need it to be,” Ben-Ghiat said. “Even more than censoring, which is old-school, rulers like Trump — and Putin is the master at this — manipulate opinion by manipulating information.”
Read the full report from The Washington Post.