In what should come as a surprise to literally no one, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Donald Trump — in his heart of hearts — still does not believe that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. CNN spoke with three anonymous sources who are supposedly “familiar with the president’s thinking,” who claim he is still unconvinced.
This is despite the fact that his own intelligence chiefs, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and FBI Director Chris Wray, all testified once again on Tuesday that they supported the January 2017 findings of intelligence community that Russia did indeed interfere.
“There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 US midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” Coats said at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats.
Of course, whether or not Russia interfered is mutually exclusive from whether or not the Trump team colluded with the authoritarian regime — as special counsel Robert Mueller continues his investigation. It makes perfect sense that Trump would want to brush aside the findings, since he has a difficult enough time accepting that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, so the last thing he would want to do is admit that maybe he had help.
“Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it,” Trump said back in November after meeting with Vladimir Putin at the APEC summit in Vietnam. He later walked back his remarks, claiming that he believed that Putin believed Russia didn’t meddle.