“Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP. Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!” Trump tweeted late on Sunday, in a sign that he’s clearly desperate.
At first, the White House was making the idiotic excuse that he never was briefed on reports that Russia was paying the Taliban bounties on American soldiers. It was the absolute wrong approach for two reasons – 1) It could be easily proven that he was briefed and 2) If he was completely unaware of this and not paying attention to that particular briefing – is that really something you want the president of the United States to admit to? It only means that he’s screwing up everything else.
It’s a no-win dilemma for Donald Trump, so now he’s not even trying to cover up the truth – except of course, to his base, by claiming that this is all yet another conspiracy against him from The New York Times. It’s hard to sell that to anyone except his most die-hard supporters when even conservative-leaning outlets like The Wall Street Journal are reporting on it. This also comes as congressional Republicans, even the ones like Lindsey Graham who suck up to him regularly, are demanding answers.
It’s clearer than ever at this moment that Trump is moving by the seat of his pants, hoping to muddy the waters as much as possible before it can get much uglier. He’s willing to turn his base against people like Graham if it means boosting himself in the court of public opinion.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making