Fact Check: No, Trump Did Not Admit Russia Helped Him Get Elected

Trump with press (Win McNamee / Getty)
Win McNamee / Getty

The mainstream media and the political left are celebrating what they are describing as an admission by President Donald Trump that Russia helped him win the 2016 presidential election.

On Thursday morning, Trump tweeted: “Russia, Russia, Russia! That’s all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax…And now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected. It was a crime that didn’t exist. So now the Dems and their partner, the Fake News Media,………say he fought back against this phony crime that didn’t exist, this horrendous false accusation, and he shouldn’t fight back, he should just sit back and take it. Could this be Obstruction? No, Mueller didn’t find Obstruction either. Presidential Harassment!”

The awkwardly worded phrase “Russia helping me to get elected” is being treated as a confession, a Freudian slip that reveals the president’s true state of mind — though he also called the idea “a crime that didn’t exist,” and a “false accusation” in the same tweets, suggesting that Trump was simply rejecting the allegations about collusion as a whole.

The New York Times ran a story about Trump’s comments under the headline, “Trump Admits to Russia ‘Helping Me to Get Elected’.” The story rocketed to the top of social media as Trump’s detractors circulated the tweets, and the story.

The Times added that Trump “has avoided saying publicly that Russia helped him win the presidency in 2016 through its election interference.” The implication of that sentence is that Trump might have said so, or thought so, privately. It also presumes Russia actually helped him win.

Yet moments later, on the White House lawn, Trump said: “No, Russia did not help me get elected. Do you know who got me elected? Do you know who got me elected? I got me elected. Russia didn’t help me at all. Russia, if anything, I think, helped the other side. What you ought to ask is this: do you think the media helped Hillary Clinton get elected?”

Trump also pointed to alleged “collusion between Hillary Clinton and Russia,” which many Republicans believed was key to the creation of a discredited “dossier” by former British spy Christopher Steele, who was being paid indirectly by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. The dossier was allegedly used by the FBI to apply for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to conduct extensive surveillance on Trump campaign associates.

Trump has acknowledged before that Russian intelligence agencies attempted to interfere with the election, even if he has also accepted, likely for diplomatic reasons, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s public assurances that it did not.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation concluded that Russian operatives sought to help Trump win, though critics argue that the primary goal of Russian interference — some of which targeted Republicans — was to sow chaos. (Even Hollywood leftist Michael Moore was duped into participating in an anti-Trump rally organized by Russians.)

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.