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Oh, So That’s What He Meant

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 17: U.S. President Donald Trump talks about his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a meeting with House Republicans in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on July 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. Following a diplomatic summit in Helsinki, Trump faced harsh criticism after a press conference with Putin where he would not say whether he believed Russia meddled with the 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Yesterday, Donald Trump shocked the world by standing next to Vladimir Putin and proclaiming that he believes the Russian president over his own intelligence community. When asked at a joint appearance in Helsinki whether he believes Putin or U.S. intelligence on the question of whether Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, Trump responded in part by saying “I don’t see why it would be Russia.”

Everyone got mad, in both parties. CNN called it “The most shameful, stunning moment of the Trump presidency.” (I guess they forgot about the time he went to bat for the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, but that’s a conversation for another day.) Today, the president attempted to clarify the debacle. He meant “I don’t see why it wouldn’t be Russia,” OK? It’s sort of a double negative:

Minutes later, he added, “I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place. And then, because he apparently couldn’t help himself, “Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.”

We’re glad the American people are now 100 percent clear where our president stands on this important issue.