Speaking to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, Trump dismissed the claim—bolstered again over the weekend by the CIA—that Russia hacked the DNC and the RNC, but only released the emails of the former to promote Trump’s candidacy and undermine Hillary Clinton. “Ridiculous,” Trump said. “It’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it. … Every week it’s another excuse. We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the Electoral College.” Reince Priebus flatly told Chuck Todd that the RNC wasn’t hacked over the summer. And while Republican congressional leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell acknowledged that any alleged hacking is serious, they have so far refused to green light an investigation into it. In a statement, Ryan’s office said:
Speaker Ryan has said for months that foreign intervention in our elections is unacceptable. ... The speaker can not comment on or characterize the content of classified briefings but he rejects any politicization of intelligence matters.
Trump returned to the issue first thing on Monday:
Because he views human existence as a zero-sum game, he’s incapable of giving an inch. Instead, he is relying on his usual playbook: there are partisan counterfactuals (making the fairly obvious point that, if the roles were reversed, some Democrats would dismiss claims of a hack), lol nothing matters (arguing that because we’ll probably never have a smoking gun, we should just move on), and gaslighting (claiming that the hacks were not prominently discussed before the election).
But, intentionally or not, Trump is only pouring gasoline on a fire that’s beginning to rage out of control, and he’s seemingly only doing so because he can’t stand the legitimacy of his presidency being questioned. Just as importantly—and with apologies for the mixed metaphor—he’s also painting himself into a corner. Trump could plausibly dismiss the partisanship on display here and call for a congressional investigation, which is what you would expect someone in his position to do. But instead, he’s dismissing a wealth of evidence and trying to rewrite reality.