Trump Admits Russia Helped Him “Get Elected”

But the president is still calling Mueller’s probe a “Witch Hunt.”

Douglas Christian/ZUMA

In a Thursday morning tweet, President Donald Trump publicly acknowledged for the first time that Russia helped him “get elected” in the 2016 presidential election, a stunning admission that came while he continued to insist special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation was a “Witch Hunt Hoax.”

The tweets, which were quickly deleted and then republished to fix a typo, follow a surprise press conference given on Wednesday by Robert Mueller in which the special counsel said that his office could neither clear the president of obstruction justice, nor, due to a longstanding Justice Department policy protecting the president from indictment, formally charge him.

“If we had had confidence the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller told reporters in his first public remarks in more than two years.

Moments after Mueller’s news conference, Trump took to Twitter to continue to claim innocence and declare that the “case is closed” in the Russia probe. His subsequent tweets, however, appear to contradict that very sentiment.

The rare, if brief, admission undercuts Trump’s persistent denials of Russia’s efforts to help him get elected as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to block legislation securing US elections from foreign interference. Amid the chaotic tweets, Hillary Clinton on Thursday condemned Trump for resisting calls to protect future elections.

Trump later walked back the acknowledgment, telling reporters, “No, Russia did not help me get elected.”

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.