Juan Williams: Trump, the conspiracy theory president

Juan Williams: Trump, the conspiracy theory president
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We know — from him — that President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE is a man of “great and unmatched wisdom.”

So why is the president busy asking the Ukrainians, British, Italian and Australians for help in proving Russia is not to blame for interference in the 2016 presidential campaign?

Last week, the GOP majority in the Senate signed off on findings that Russia was responsible for “brazen interference” in the 2016 campaign. Specifically, the Senate Intelligence Committee report concluded the Russians acted to hurt the Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSupreme Court agrees to hear 'faithless elector' cases Poll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire Climate 'religion' is fueling Australia's wildfires MORE campaign while actively “supporting Donald Trump at the direction of the Kremlin.”


Not only that, but the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrHillicon Valley: Apple, Barr clash over Pensacola shooter's phone | Senate bill would boost Huawei alternatives | DHS orders agencies to fix Microsoft vulnerability | Chrome to phase out tracking cookies Senators offer bill to create alternatives to Huawei in 5G tech Voting machine vendors to testify on election security MORE (R-N.C.), said Russia continues to sow discord in the United States by “flooding social media with false reports, conspiracy theories, and trolls…to breed distrust of our democratic institutions and our fellow Americans.”

The two and a half year-long Senate investigation has the same basic findings as special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE’s report. It is the same conclusion reached by U.S. intelligence agencies: Russia wanted Trump to win and pushed pro-Trump propaganda on close to 150 million Americans through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google.

But in his “unmatched wisdom” Trump is pursuing delusional conspiracy theories about who is to blame.

When Trump spoke to Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, on a late July phone call, he asked for a “favor.”

“The server,” Trump told Zelensky, “They say Ukraine has it…They say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it, if that’s possible.”

By the way, Trump’s request for Zelensky to produce information on the magical server preceded his putting the strong arm on his Ukrainian opposite number for dirt on his top political opponent, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Hill.TV's Krystal Ball on Sanders-Warren feud: 'Don't play to the pundits, play to voters' MORE, as well as Biden’s son Hunter.

The latter request set off calls for impeachment.

But the first thing on Trump’s mind after reminding the Ukrainian president “that we do a lot for Ukraine,” was to put the squeeze on him to investigate CrowdStrike.

That is the American private security company hired by the Democratic National Committee in 2016 to find out who hacked their systems. The answer from “CrowdStrike” was that Russia had infiltrated the Democrats’ operation to help Trump win the White House.

Trump apparently wants to rewrite history by shifting blame from Russia and pinning it on someone he described to Zelensky as “one of your wealthy people.”

The Justice Department said in September that Attorney General Bill Barr asked Trump to contact these countries to help find “the origins of the U.S. counterintelligence probe of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign.”

Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiDems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process House Democrats release second batch of Parnas materials Republicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment MORE also has said the president enlisted him to identify the real culprit behind disruptions in the 2016 race.

And last week two Ukrainians with ties to Giuliani were indicted on alleged campaign finance violations for funneling money to a congressman — former Rep. Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsTenth Congressional Black Caucus member backs Biden Giuliani held phone call with Maduro amid Venezuela crisis Texas GOP rep predicts heavy Democratic presence in state ahead of 2020 MORE (R-Texas). They were also involved, the New York Times reported, in an effort to oust the U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine “on the grounds that she had not shown sufficient loyalty to the president as he pursued his agenda there.”


The Times reported that Giuliani sent the men to Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, with two missions. First, “to find people and information that could be used to undermine the special counsel’s investigation,” and second to “damage” Biden, the Democrat whom many polls project could beat Trump in the 2020 election.

Again, the first order of business was to find information to turn attention away from Russia’s helping hand to Trump in the 2016 election.

And that fit with Trump’s comment, while standing next to Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinDOJ releases new tranche of Mueller witness documents Russia's shakeup has implications for Putin, Medvedev and the US The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to lay out impeachment case to senators next week MORE in Helsinki in July 2018, that Russia was not responsible for interfering in the 2016 election. Referring to Putin, Trump said: “He just said it is not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

The idea that there is a hidden tech device somewhere in the Ukraine that proves Russia is not responsible for hacking and interfering in the 2016 race goes beyond bizarre.

“If we take [Trump] at face value, if we believe what he’s saying to Zelensky, the conclusion appears to be that he’s unable to distinguish between conspiracy theories and the intelligence briefings he receives that are backed up by hard evidence and forensics,” Thomas Rid, a Johns Hopkins University political scientist who specializes in computer-based disinformation attacks, told Wired magazine last month.

Now, in the wake of Trump’s phone call pressuring Zelensky, a Fox News poll last week found 51 percent of Americans are “extremely” or “very” troubled by Trump’s “dealings with the Ukrainian president.”

Trump does not like the poll, either.

Barr and Giuliani may soon be on the case.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.