President Donald Trump appears to have found a point of agreement with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, relaying to his Twitter followers remarks by the New York senator that Democrats have only themselves to blame for their party’s disappointing performance in last November’s election, not Russian hacking.
“After 1 year of investigation with zero evidence being found, Chuck Schumer just stated that ‘Democrats should blame ourselves, not Russia,’” the president wrote online.
Trump did not specify a source for the remark he quoted Schumer as making, but the sentiment was similar to one the minority leader expressed in an interview with The Washington Post previewing the Democrats’ forthcoming economic agenda.
“When you lose to somebody who has 40 percent popularity, you don’t blame other things — Comey, Russia — you blame yourself,” Schumer told the Post. “So what did we do wrong? People didn’t know what we stood for, just that we were against Trump. And still believe that.”
While Trump is correct that smoking-gun evidence of his campaign’s collusion with Russian government efforts to interfere in last year’s election has not been publicly discovered, the issue is the subject of multiple ongoing investigations, including two on Capitol Hill and another led by special prosecutor Robert Mueller.
Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a top White House adviser, is scheduled to testify Monday on Russia’s interference efforts before a closed hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee. In a pre-submitted opening statement, Kushner declared that he did not collude with any foreign government, nor did anyone else involved in the Trump campaign that he was aware of.
Kushner’s multiple contacts with Russian individuals, including former Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, have drawn scrutiny even as he has denied any wrongdoing. Kushner, too, was among the Trump campaign officials, along with Donald Trump Jr. and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who met last summer with a Russian attorney who Trump Jr. had been led to believe possessed damaging information on Democrat Hillary Clinton sourced from the Russian government.
Trump Jr. later said he did not receive any useful information on Clinton and that much of the meeting focused on issues related to sanctions imposed by Russia against the U.S. and vise-versa. In his pre-submitted testimony, Kushner said he did not read the email exchange in which the damaging information on Clinton was advertised and did not know that that was to be the focus of the meeting.
The president himself has regularly decried the ongoing Russia investigations as a “witch hunt” and has publicly expressed frustration about the appointment of Mueller as special prosecutor. He has also suggested that allegations that his campaign colluded with the Kremlin’s efforts to interfere in the election amount to little more than an excuse by Democrats upset by their inability to beat him last November. Former President Barack Obama, Trump has said, should have done more to stop the interference efforts as they were happening but did not because he was afraid of upsetting what was at the time widely expected to be an easy victory for Clinton on Election Day.