(CNSNews.com) - President Trump seemed to concede on Thursday that Russia helped him win the 2016 election. But a short time later, he contradicted himself when he spoke to reporters on his way out of Washington, saying, "No, Russia did not help me get elected."
Reacting to all the Thursday-morning cable news coverage of Robert Mueller's appearance, Trump tweeted in the 8 a.m. hour:
"Russia, Russia, Russia! That’s all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax...And now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected. It was a crime that didn’t exist. So now the Dems and their partner, the Fake News Media say he fought back against this phony crime that didn’t exist, this horrendous false acquisition (sic), and he shouldn’t fight back, he should just sit back and take it. Could this be Obstruction? No, Mueller didn’t find Obstruction either. Presidential Harassment!"
"No, Russia did not help me get elected. You know who got me elected?” Trump asked. "I got me elected. Russia didn't help me at all.
“Russia, if anything, I think helped the other side. What you ought to ask is this: Do you think that the media helped Hillary Clinton get elected? She didn't make it. But you take a look at collusion between Hillary Clinton and the media. You take a look at collusion between Hillary Clinton and Russia. She had more to do…with Russia than I did. I had nothing to do.”
Trump also said Russia probably wishes Hillary had won because "nobody has been tougher on Russia than me."
Trump on various occasions has faulted the Obama administration for not doing more to stop the Russian efforts:
“If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?” he tweeted in December 2016, the month after winning the presidency.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in his statement on Wednesday, said there were "multiple systemic efforts" by Russia to interfere in the 2016, and Mueller closed by saying that "deserves the attention of every American."
Mueller also addressed Russian interference at the beginning of his remarks:
As alleged by the grand jury in an indictment, Russian intelligence officers who are part of the Russian military launched a concerted attack on our political system.
The indictment alleges that they used sophisticated cyber-techniques to hack into computers and networks used by the Clinton campaign. They stole private information and then released that information through fake online identities and through the organization WikiLeaks.
The releases were designed and timed to interfere with our election and to damage a presidential candidate. And at the same time, as the grand jury alleged in a separate indictment, a private Russian entity engaged in a social media operation where Russian citizens posed as Americans in order to influence an election.
Mueller noted that Volume I of his report "details numerous efforts emanating from Russia to influence the election. This volume includes a discussion of the Trump campaign's response to this activity as well as our conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy."