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 TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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 ClintonAs Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Harris rips Gabbard over Fox appearances during Obama years Steyer, Gabbard and Yang shut out of early minutes of Democratic debate 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 BurrMcConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial 'not too lengthy a process' Bipartisan senators urge national security adviser to appoint 5G coordinator GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy 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 MuellerHouse impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' 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 BidenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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 GiulianiBiden: Impeachment hearings show 'Trump doesn't want me to be the nominee' Sondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep FBI sought interview with whistleblower at heart of impeachment probe 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 SessionsBottom Line The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - GOP snags mic with impeachment protest Former Pete Sessions staffer to comply with subpoena in federal probe investigating Giuliani, associates 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 PutinAs Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Yang jokes first thing he'd say to Putin as president is 'Sorry I beat your guy' Biden: Impeachment hearings show 'Trump doesn't want me to be the nominee' 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.