Donald Trump Is Having a Very Bad Friday

“He ignored questions about Russia and affairs with women.”

Zuma

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Hours after indictments against Russian nationals on charges of election meddling were announced, President Donald Trump finally emerged from the White House on Friday afternoon to board Marine One. Reporters on the scene shouted questions at him, and a line from their pool report sums up the kind of day the president has had: “He gave a thumbs up and seemed to yell something that we couldn’t hear over the noise from the helicopter. He ignored questions about Russia and affairs with women.”

A few hours before the indictments were announced, The New Yorker had published an explosive story outlining how Trump allegedly used financial transactions and legal help to cover up multiple affairs. Many speculated that the story was the reason Melania Trump opted not to join her husband aboard Marine One on their way to Air Force One.

Once aboard Marine One and away from reporters, Trump took out his phone to fire off a tweet emphatically claiming that the indictment announcement proved there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia. 

Trump’s tweet appears to misread the indictment, which revealed that some of the Russians had been in contact with “unwitting individuals” from the Trump campaign. As Mother Jones predicted earlier, the president’s declaration of vindication is a misinterpretation of the fact that these initial charges don’t include collusion. (In announcing the indictment, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was careful to emphasize that no Americans were implicated in the scheme in the current indictment, but did not preclude further indictments that would include Americans.) The tweet was also significant in that Trump characterized Russian interference efforts as an “anti-US campaign,” after having previously dismissed them as a hoax.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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