Politifact on Tuesday named the claim that Russia's election hacking is a "made-up story" as its 2017 “Lie of the Year.”
The fact-checking website said that despite “a mountain of evidence” that Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election, President TrumpDonald TrumpDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz elected to Baseball Hall of Fame Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul MORE continues to insist otherwise.
“Trump continually asserts that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election is fake news, a hoax or a made-up story, even though there is widespread, bipartisan evidence to the contrary,” Politifact’s Angie Drobnic Holan writes.
As special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin has ramped up, the president and his lawyers have repeatedly said that there was “no collusion.”
In an interview with NBC in May, Trump said that the concept of Russian interference was “made up” by Democrats as an “excuse” for losing the election.
“You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story,” he said at the time. “It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won ... This was an excuse for having lost an election.”
Politifact writes that Trump’s blanket insistence that there was “no collusion” implies that he does believe Russia interfered, just not involving him personally.
“Trump could acknowledge the interference happened while still standing by the legitimacy of his election and his presidency — but he declines to do so,” Holan writes. “Sometimes he’ll state firmly there was 'no collusion' between his campaign and Russia, an implicit admission that Russia did act in some capacity. Then he reverts back to denying the interference even happened.”
A Tuesday poll from Quinnipiac University found that the majority of Americans believe that Trump has tried to derail the investigation, and more than half say that the Trump campaign tried to collude with Russia.
The Politifact readers’ poll also chose Trump’s claim as “the year’s most significant falsehood.”