OPINION | Trump's lame playbook: When the going get's tough...blame Hillary
© Getty

There are so many things ridiculously wrong with where we find ourselves on the Russia investigation — it would take pages to outline.

Setting aside lie after deceiving lie the administration has spewed in its efforts to cover up the myriad of meetings Trump officials have had with the Russians — meetings they all forget until they get caught — and what we are left with are the pathetic excuses, diversions and obfuscations they fall back on to justify what is happening.  

ADVERTISEMENT
The latest talking point? The real collusion was Hillary Clinton’s campaign with the Ukrainian government

 

In responding to the bombshell revelation that Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump Right way and wrong way Five things to know about the elephant trophies controversy MORE Jr. enthusiastically accepted an offer of damaging information on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Pelosi blasts California Republicans for supporting tax bill MORE from the Russian government, the White House deflected, saying, “If you are looking for an example of a campaign coordinating with a foreign country or a foreign source, look no further than the DNC, which actually coordinated opposition research with the Ukrainian embassy.”

Here's why the ludicrous spin doesn’t hold water and shows just how afraid and desperate the Trump administration is: 

First of all, the facts do not bear out this silly spin. The DNC responded immediately, saying it never colluded with a foreign government. The DNC director of research, Lauren Dillon, said she held her position at the DNC for four years and has had zero contact with a foreign government. 

The talking point comes from a January Politico story that describes the efforts of a Ukrainian-American who had worked as a consultant to the DNC, to discredit a top Trump adviser.

But several stories have misstated her role. She was a DNC contractor whose job it was to handle outreach to ethnic Americans. In no way was she directed or authorized to work with any foreign government to dig up opposition research on anyone.

Second, context is critical. Russia launched an unprecedented attack on our democracy last election cycle, hacking campaign computers and emails, weaponizing the content and even attempting to breach state election systems and voter rolls.

Russia’s meddling became public knowledge just days after the Trump campaign held its meeting with the Russian lawyer, yet the Trump campaign did not report any of it to authorities. 

Instead, the president, members of his family and his aides gave cover to the Kremlin by refuting the intelligence community’s assessments and even encouraging Russia to go after more damaging information about the Democratic nominee.

Third, this false attack is a deflection pattern followed by Trump and his White House every time they are backed into a corner on the Russia issue. When something new is revealed on Russia, they immediately attack the DNC or Hillary Clinton. It shows just how irritated, sensitive and exposed Trump is on the Russia investigation.

Back in mid-December 2016, when the first reports emerged that U.S. intelligence agencies believed that Vladimir Putin had personally ordered the attack on our elections and aimed to help Trump win, Trump tweeted, “Are we talking about The same cyberattack where it was revealed that head of the DNC illegally gave Hillary the questions to The debate?” 

In January 2017, when the intelligence community released its official assessment of Russia’s interference campaign, Trump tweeted, “Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place. The Republican National Committee had strong defense!” 

February brought us the stories about Michael Flynn's firing and/or resignation. On Feb. 16, during a news conference, Donald Trump again attacked the DNC.

This time he did so for their lack of cybersecurity measures: “The DNC did not do that. And if they did it, they could not have been hacked. But they were hacked and terrible things came in.”

On March 20, Comey testified before Congress and confirmed the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Trump tried to deflect by falsely suggesting the DNC wasn’t sharing information with the FBI.  

Every time Trump has felt boxed in by a new negative headline on Russia, he has tweeted false accusations that the DNC was not sharing server information with the FBI’s investigators. 

Who can forget the infamously-ridiculed tweet Trump authored from the G-20 Summit saying that the only thing the leaders were talking about was John Podesta and how he refused to give over the DNC server to the FBI and CIA? 

When Trump got back from his disastrous G-20 meetings and touted his joint cybersecurity task force with Putin, which was widely (and necessarily) mocked, he responded by yet again attacking the DNC about their servers. 

So pathetic. Attacking the DNC and Hillary Clinton is the Trump administration's go-to, tired, weak maneuver. It cannot hide the mountain of revelations that is threatening to crumble on top of them at any moment. #SAD!

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.