By Ryan Teague Beckwith
Updated: August 14, 2018 4:07 PM ET | Originally published: June 7, 2018

President Donald Trump has made at least 209 separate arguments about the Russia investigation.

Since the first questions were raised about the Russian influence operation in 2016, Trump has put forward defenses, raised doubts and thrown out attacks and counter-claims at a rate that dwarfs the typical presidential response to an investigation.

To arrive at that number, TIME combed over statements from the Trump campaign, transition team and administration and key figures such as Donald Trump Jr. and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to isolate the major arguments. (We did not include Trump allies in Congress or the media.)

Trump typically starts making his case by praising his friends and bashing his enemies.

When his associates have fallen under investigation, he’s noted that they are “good men” — Donald Trump Jr., former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, former campaign head Paul Manafort and personal attorney Michael Cohen have all earned the label.

Even so, he’s kept his distance, noting that Flynn got his security clearance under Obama, Manafort was only with the campaign for a short time and Cohen did only a fraction of his legal work.

He’s also attacked his opponents: former FBI Director James Comey is an “incompetent,” “shady,” “slippery,” “corrupt,” “sanctimonious,” “showboating” and “grandstanding” “slimeball,” who is “either very sick or very dumb.” And he’s branded Comey and others as “liars.”

The president has also used a favorite rhetorical technique, whataboutism, to change the subject to what he argues are the real scandals: what the hacked emails revealed about the Clinton campaign, that Democrats had contact with Ukraine, that Hillary Clinton lied to the FBI (not true), that Comey leaked classified information (not true), and on and on.

Some of the arguments contradict each other. Trump has argued that Russians didn’t meddle in the election, that it may have meddled but so did other countries and that the real scandal is that Barack Obama didn’t stop Russian meddling.

He’s also changed his story at times. His team claimed it had no foreign contacts; then that only low-level volunteers had contacts with Russia; then that Trump Jr., campaign head Paul Manafort and son-in-law Jared Kushner just had a meeting about adoptions; then that even though they were promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton ahead of the meeting they didn’t get any; and, finally, that there would be nothing wrong with meeting with Russians to get dirt on an opponent.

Some of the arguments amount to little more than catchphrases: Witch hunt! No collusion! Fake news! Others are complicated conspiracy theories involving obscure figures like a couple of FBI agents.

Trump has been unafraid of making arguments that are inaccurate, at times making claims that are 180 degrees from the truth.

He’s claimed that the Steele dossier shows that Russia opposed Trump in the 2016 election (not true), that Comey’s memos vindicated him (not true) and that CNN’s ratings are “way down” because of its reporting on Russia (not true). And he’s kept using arguments even after reporters, fact-checkers and lawmakers have debunked them.

Wherever the investigation heads next, Trump will be sure to make some of these arguments again, as well as some new ones.

Here’s a look at all the lines of attack and defense Trump has made about the Russia investigation.

The Democratic email hacking

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz attends a campaign rally at Florida International University Panther Arena on July 23, 2016 in Miami, Florida.
Alexander Tamargo—WireImage

1. Democrats released their own emails as a distraction.

Trump claimed during the campaign that Democrats arranged for their own emails and documents to be released online, but he soon dropped the argument. “We believe it was the DNC that did the ‘hacking’ as a way to distract from the many issues facing their deeply flawed candidate and failed party leader.” (Trump, campaign statement, June 15, 2016) “I notice any time anything wrong happens they like to say, the Russians, the Russians — she doesn’t know it’s the Russians doing the hacking, maybe there is no hacking.” (Trump, second presidential debate, Oct. 9, 2016) “Today’s charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result.” (Lindsay Walters, White House statement, July 13, 2018)

2. Nobody really knows who hacked the emails.

When he has conceded that Democrats were hacked, Trump has maintained that nobody really knows who was responsible, even after the intelligence community concluded in October of 2016 that it was Russia. “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t — maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?” (Trump, first presidential debate, Sept. 26, 2016) “She has no idea whether it’s Russia, China, or anybody else. … And our country has no idea.” (Trump, third presidential debate, Oct. 19, 2016) “Unless you catch ‘hackers’ in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking.” (Trump, tweet, Dec. 12, 2016) “The whole age of the computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on.” (Trump, press remarks, Dec. 29, 2016) “And I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else.” (Trump, press remarks, Dec. 31, 2016) “If you don’t catch a hacker, okay, in the act, it’s very hard to say who did the hacking.” (Trump, interview on “Face the Nation,” April 29, 2017) “I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure.” (Trump, interview with NBC News, July 6, 2017)

3. Julian Assange said he didn’t get the emails from Russia.

Trump has noted that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denies that Russia was involved. WikiLeaks founder “Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’ – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 4, 2017)

4. Democrats are to blame for writing ‘dumb’ emails…

Trump has argued that Democrats are ultimately to blame for having written the emails. “How much BAD JUDGEMENT was on display by the people in DNC in writing those really dumb e-mails, using even religion, against Bernie!” (Trump, tweet, July 25, 2016) “The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me” (Trump, tweet, July 25, 2016)

5. …and for having poor internet security.

Trump has also argued that Democrats are to blame for having poor online security. WikiLeaks founder “Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’ – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 4, 2017) “Somebody hacked the DNC but why did they not have ‘hacking defense’ like the RNC has and why have they not responded to the terrible……” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 4, 2017) “And I have to say this also, the Democratic National Committee was totally open to be hacked. They did a very poor job. They could’ve had hacking defense, which we had.” (Trump, press conference, Jan. 11, 2017) “And I think I get some credit because I told Reince, and Reince did a phenomenal job, but I said I want strong hacking defense. The Democratic National Committee didn’t do that.” (Trump, press conference, Jan. 11, 2017) “I think the DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked. They had bad defenses. And they were able to be hacked.” (Trump, interview, July 15, 2018)

Fact Check: Trump says Russians were unable to hack the Republican National Committee: Mostly True

6. Anyway, the real scandal is what the hacked emails revealed about Democrats.

During the election, Trump cited the emails published on WikiLeaks as evidence of Democratic malfeasance, something he continued to do even when he conceded that hacking is wrong. “Leaked e-mails of DNC show plans to destroy Bernie Sanders. Mock his heritage and much more. On-line from Wikileakes, really vicious. RIGGED” (Trump, tweet, July 23, 2016) “WikiLeaks proves even the Clinton campaign knew Crooked mishandled classified info, but no one gets charged? RIGGED!” (Trump, tweet, Oct. 17, 2016) “Why has nobody asked Kaine about the horrible views emanated on WikiLeaks about Catholics? Media in the tank for Clinton but Trump will win!” (Trump, tweet, Oct. 24, 2016) “Are we talking about the same cyberattack where it was revealed that head of the DNC illegally gave Hillary the questions to the debate?” (Trump, tweet, Dec. 16, 2016) “We talk about the hacking and hacking’s bad and it shouldn’t be done. But look at the things that were hacked, look at what was learned from that hacking. That Hillary Clinton got the questions to the debate and didn’t report it? That’s a horrible thing. That’s a horrible thing.” (Trump, press conference, Jan. 11, 2017)

Russian meddling in the election

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks in Krasnodar, Russia on March 12, 2018.
Mikhail Svetlov—Getty Images

7. Voting machines weren’t affected.

Trump has also attempted to narrowly define Russian meddling as hacking voting machines. “Intelligence stated very strongly there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results. Voting machines not touched!” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 7, 2017)

8. Vladimir Putin says Russia didn’t meddle in the election.

Trump has also noted that Russian leader Vladimir Putin denies attempts to meddle in the election. “I said, ‘Did you do it?’ And he said, ‘No, I did not. Absolutely not.’ I then asked him a second time in a totally different way. He said absolutely not. … Somebody did say if he did do it, you wouldn’t have found out about it.” (Trump, interview with Reuters, July 12, 2017) “He said he didn’t meddle, he said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. … Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I believe — I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.” (Trump, press remarks, Nov. 11, 2017) “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!” (Trump, tweet, June 28, 2018) “I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. … So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.” (Trump, press conference, July 16, 2018)

9. The CIA was wrong about Iraq, so they are wrong about Russia.

After the CIA concluded in a secret assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 election in order to help Trump win, his transition team fired back. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.'” (Unsigned, transition team statement, Dec. 9, 2016)

10. Trump doesn’t believe Russia meddled in the election.

At other times, Trump has straightforwardly argued that Russia did not, in fact, meddle in the election. “I don’t believe they interfered. That became a laughing point, not a talking point, a laughing point. Any time I do something, they say ‘oh, Russia interfered.'” (Trump, interview with TIME, Nov. 28, 2016) “The ‘Intelligence briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 3, 2017)

Fact Check: 2017 Lie of the Year: Russian election interference is a ‘made-up story’

11. If Russia did meddle, we would never know it.

Trump once argued that Putin was too smart to get caught meddling, even if he did do it. “Somebody did say if he did do it, you wouldn’t have found out about it. Which is a very interesting point.” (Trump, interview with Reuters, July 12, 2017) “And, you know, there are those that say, if he did do it, he wouldn’t have gotten caught, all right? Which is a very interesting statement.” (Trump, press remarks, Nov. 11, 2017)

12. OK, Russia meddled, but so did other countries.

Trump has also argued that even if Russia meddled, it might not be the only country. “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia. But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people.” (Trump, press conference, Jan. 11, 2017) “While Russia’s actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying — and I’ve said this many times — I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.” (Trump, press remarks, July 17, 2018)

Fact Check: Trump’s claim that other countries could have been behind the hacking: No Evidence

13. Russian meddling didn’t affect the election.

When conceding Russian meddling, Trump has also argued that it had no effect on the outcome of the election. “Intelligence stated very strongly there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results. Voting machines not touched!” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 7, 2017) “Now, everybody agrees that there was no impact on the votes in this election, which is very important to say, but we have to make sure that nothing could ever happen to our election process.” (Trump, interview with Reuters, July 12, 2017) “Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 16, 2018) “President Donald J. Trump has been fully briefed on this matter and is glad to see the Special Counsel’s investigation further indicates—that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump campaign and Russia and that the outcome of the election was not changed or affected.” (Unsigned, White House statement, Feb. 16, 2018) “General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians.” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 17, 2018) “‘Charges Deal Don A Big Win,’ written by Michael Goodwin of the @nypost, succinctly states that ‘the Russians had no impact on the election results.’ There was no Collusion with the Trump Campaign. ‘She lost the old-fashioned way, by being a terrible candidate. Case closed.'” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 17, 2018) “Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein stated at the News Conference: “There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 17, 2018) “Well, the Russians had no impact on our votes whatsoever. But, certainly, there was meddling and probably there was meddling from other countries and maybe other individuals.” (Trump, press conference, March 6, 2018)

14. It started long before Trump ran for office.

Trump has also noted that the Russian influence operations reportedly began long before he officially launched his campaign. “Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 16, 2018) “Funny how the Fake News Media doesn’t want to say that the Russian group was formed in 2014, long before my run for President. Maybe they knew I was going to run even though I didn’t know!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 17, 2018)

15. Democrats made up Trump ties to Russia as an excuse for the hacking.

During the election, Trump also argued that Democrats were making up links to Russia in order to deflect from their own problems. “In order to try and deflect the horror and stupidity of the Wikileakes disaster, the Dems said maybe it is Russia dealing with Trump. Crazy!” (Trump, tweet, July 26, 2016)

16. Obama never warned the Trump campaign about Russian meddling.

Trump floated a new line of argument in 2018 that Obama never warned his campaign about the threat of Russian meddling during the election. However, CNN and NBC have both reported that senior intelligence officials briefed the Trump campaign in August of 2016 that foreign adversaries including Russia would likely try to infiltrate his campaign team. “With Spies, or ‘Informants’ as the Democrats like to call them because it sounds less sinister (but it’s not), all over my campaign, even from a very early date, why didn’t the crooked highest levels of the FBI or ‘Justice’ contact me to tell me of the phony Russia problem?” (Trump, tweet, May 26, 2018) “RUSH LIMBAUGH “If the FBI was so concerned, and if they weren’t targeting Trump, they should have told Trump. If they were really concerned about the Russians infiltrating a campaign (hoax), then why not try to stop it? Why not tell Trump? Because they were pushing this scam.”” (Trump, tweet, May 31, 2018) “So President Obama knew about Russia before the Election. Why didn’t he do something about it? Why didn’t he tell our campaign? Because it is all a big hoax, that’s why, and he thought Crooked Hillary was going to win!!!” (Trump, tweet, July 22, 2018)

17. Anyway, the real scandal is that Obama didn’t stop Russian meddling.

When he has conceded that Russia meddled in the election, Trump has argued that President Barack Obama bears responsibility for not stopping it. “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?” (Trump, tweet, Dec. 15, 2016) “By the way, if Russia was working so hard on the 2016 Election, it all took place during the Obama Admin. Why didn’t they stop them?” (Trump, tweet, June 22, 2017) “The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling.” (Trump, tweet, June 26, 2017) “Obama was President, knew of the threat, and did nothing.” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 18, 2018) “Obama was President up to, and beyond, the 2016 Election. So why didn’t he do something about Russian meddling?” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 19, 2018) “Everybody wants to blame this on the Trump administration. Let’s not forget that this happened under the Obama administration.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, Feb. 20, 2018) “Question: If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama Administration, right up to January 20th, why aren’t they the subject of the investigation? Why didn’t Obama do something about the meddling? Why aren’t Dem crimes under investigation? Ask Jeff Sessions!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 21, 2018) “Let’s not forget that this happened under Obama. It didn’t happen under President Trump.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, Feb. 27, 2018) “These Russian individuals did their work during the Obama years. Why didn’t Obama do something about it? Because he thought Crooked Hillary Clinton would win, that’s why.” (Trump, tweet, July 14, 2018) “But, again, this was during the Obama administration. They were doing whatever it was during the Obama administration.” (Trump, interview, July 15, 2018) “As you know, President Obama was given information just prior to the election — last election, 2016 — and they decided not to do anything about it. The reason they decided that was pretty obvious to all: They thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and they didn’t think it was a big deal.” (Trump, press remarks, July 17, 2018)

Fact Check: The Obama Administration took some action against Russian meddling

The Steele dossier

Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who compiled a dossier on Donald Trump, in London in March, 2017
Victoria Jones—PA Wire

18. The Steele dossier is a phony…

Trump has frequently tried to discredit the contents of the Steele Dossier, a report of Trump’s alleged ties to Russia that was compiled for the FBI by former British spy Christopher Steele and publicized in January of 2017. “Often, we have a lot of media with Russia first, but today there was public testimony that further discredited the phony dossier that’s been the source of so much of the fake news and conspiracy theories.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, July 27, 2017) “The Democrat-linked firm, Fusion GPS, actually took money from the Russian government while it created the phony dossier that’s been the basis for all of the Russia scandal fake news.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, Aug. 1, 2017) “They ought to look at all of the things that they’ve done with the phony dossier.” (Trump, press remarks, Nov. 11, 2017) “This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 11, 2018) “We now know that Brennan had detailed knowledge of the (phony) Dossier.” (Trump, tweet, May 21, 2018)

19. …fake…

He’s called it fake. “Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?” (Trump, tweet, Oct. 19, 2017) “I think it’s very sad what they’ve done with this fake dossier.” (Trump, press remarks, Oct. 25, 2017) “Never seen such Republican ANGER & UNITY as I have concerning the lack of investigation on Clinton made Fake Dossier” (Trump, tweet, Oct. 29, 2017) “It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign.” (Trump, tweet, March 17, 2018)

20. …fraudulent…

“Wow! -Senator Mark Warner got caught having extensive contact with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch. Warner did not want a ‘paper trail’ on a ‘private’ meeting (in London) he requested with Steele of fraudulent Dossier fame. All tied into Crooked Hillary.” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 8, 2018) “‘Clapper lied about (fraudulent) Dossier leaks to CNN’ @foxandfriends FoxNews He is a lying machine who now works for Fake News CNN.” (Trump, tweet, April 28, 2018) “Now that the Witch Hunt has given up on Russia and is looking at the rest of the World, they should easily be able to take it into the Mid-Term Elections where they can put some hurt on the Republican Party. Don’t worry about Dems FISA Abuse, missing Emails or Fraudulent Dossier!” (Trump, tweet, May 20, 2018)

21. …and discredited…

The dossier makes some big claims about Trump and Russia which so far are unproven, but intelligence analysts largely say that Steele is a credible analyst. Still, that hasn’t stopped Trump from asserting that it’s discredited. “The other big news was the foreign intelligence dossier that the President’s political opponents funded and disseminated widely, and was based on discredited opposition research from foreign intelligence sources. The only collusion I’ve seen, and that’s certainly been proven, would be between those people.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, July 12, 2017) “Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?” (Trump, tweet, Oct. 19, 2017) “Officials behind the now discredited ‘Dossier’ plead the Fifth. Justice Department and/or FBI should immediately release who paid for it.” (Trump, tweet, Oct. 21, 2017) “This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 11, 2018)

22. …hoax.

Trump has also leaned on a favorite rhetorical device and simply called the document a hoax. “Trump Russia story is a hoax.” (Trump, tweet, March 27, 2017) “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?” (Trump, tweet, May 8, 2017) “There was zero coordination. It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. There’s no coordination, this was a hoax, this was made up by the Democrats.” (Trump, interview with Reuters, July 12, 2017)

23. It was opposition research…

Trump has also repeatedly capitalized on the fact that Steele also conducted the research for Fusion GPS, a firm retained by Marc Elias, an attorney for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. This connection became a key part of the memo written by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes alleging bias by the FBI. “The other big news was the foreign intelligence dossier that the President’s political opponents funded and disseminated widely, and was based on discredited opposition research from foreign intelligence sources. The only collusion I’ve seen, and that’s certainly been proven, would be between those people.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, July 12, 2017) “Now you have, in this memo that was released, the use of a partisan political opposition research document — a shoddy document with lots of holes in it — being used, represented by the FBI and DOJ as evidence for a spying warrant under the FISA law.” (Raj Shah, press remarks, Feb. 5, 2018) “The dossier is false opposition research that was funded by the Clinton campaign to attack the President. It was used illegally to justify spying on Americans. And I think that’s quite the problem.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, April 13, 2018) “Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. ‘No evidence’ that the Trump Campaign ‘colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia.’ Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia- Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!” (Trump, tweet, April 27, 2018)

24. …started by Trump’s Republican opponents…

And he’s noted that it had its origins in research conducted for the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news outlet largely funded by major Republican donor Paul Singer. “Totally made up facts by sleazebag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans – FAKE NEWS! Russia says nothing exists. Probably…” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 13, 2017) “Well, they say it began with the Republicans. I think I would know, but I won’t say. It will be determined. It will be determined. … Yes, it might have started with the Republicans early on in the primaries. I think I would know, but let’s find out who it is.” (Trump, press remarks, Oct. 25, 2017)

25. …and paid for by the Clinton campaign…

Trump also made hay out of news reports that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for part of the research in the dossier. “The real Russia scandal? Clinton campaign paid for the fake Russia dossier, then lied about it & covered it up.” (Huckabee Sanders, tweet, Oct. 24, 2017) “It was made up, and I understand they paid a tremendous amount of money, and Hillary Clinton always denied it. The Democrats always denied it. And now, only because it’s going to come out in a court case, they said, yes, they did it. They admitted it, and they’re embarrassed by it.” (Trump, press remarks, Oct. 25, 2017) “The dossier is false opposition research that was funded by the Clinton campaign to attack the President. It was used illegally to justify spying on Americans. And I think that’s quite the problem.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, April 13, 2018) “Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. ‘No evidence’ that the Trump Campaign ‘colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia.’ Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia- Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!” (Trump, tweet, April 27, 2018)

26. …which the FBI used to spy on the Trump campaign…

Trump has argued that the Steele dossier was used as the basis for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant on Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page. But the FBI has said the investigation began because of a separate tip about Trump adviser George Papadopoulos. “‘House votes on controversial FISA ACT today.’ This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 11, 2018) “McCabe knew that the FISA warrant was obtained using shady dossier and that all extensions were based on the original application. The Obama administration then used information that Hillary paid for to justify spying on @realDonaldTrump. If I got that right should be game over.” (Trump Jr., tweet, Feb. 2, 2018) “Now you have, in this memo that was released, the use of a partisan political opposition research document — a shoddy document with lots of holes in it — being used, represented by the FBI and DOJ as evidence for a spying warrant under the FISA law.” (Shah, press remarks, Feb. 5, 2018)

Fact Check: Trump claims Russia investigation started because of Steele dossier: False

27. …improperly…

Trump has argued that the FBI should have told the FISA court that the dossier was politically motivated research. “‘The four page memo released Friday reports the disturbing fact about how the FBI and FISA appear to have been used to influence the 2016 election and its aftermath….The FBI failed to inform the FISA court that the Clinton campaign had funded the dossier….the FBI became….” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 3, 2018) “The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!” (Trump, tweet, March 17, 2018)

28. …and illegally.

And the White House has even argued that this was illegal. “The dossier is false opposition research that was funded by the Clinton campaign to attack the President. It was used illegally to justify spying on Americans. And I think that’s quite the problem.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, April 13, 2018) “Q: Wouldn’t it be mandatory to identify that the dossier was created by an opposition party candidate and not as a political asterisk? GIULIANI: Absolutely. Q: Is that a crime? GIULIANI: Yes. Yes, obstruction of justice. Invasion of people’s privacy on no basis at all. It’s a civil rights violation.” (Giuliani, interview with Fox News, May 2, 2018)

29. The dossier shows Russia actually opposed Trump in the 2016 election.

Trump has gone even further, arguing that since Fusion GPS reportedly did work for Russian clients around the same time, that means Russia funded the dossier, and therefore, that proves that Russia actually opposed him in the 2016 election. (The CIA concluded in a secret assessment that Russia favored Trump.) “In other words, Russia was against Trump in the 2016 Election – and why not, I want strong military & low oil prices. Witch Hunt!” (Trump, tweet, July 29, 2017) “The Democrat-linked firm Fusion GPS actually took money from the Russian government while it created the phony dossier that’s been the basis for all of the Russia scandal fake news.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, Aug. 1, 2017) “There was no collusion between us and Russia. In fact, the opposite. Russia spent a lot of money on fighting me. And if you think about it, I want a strong military. You see our budget is up by – it will be hundreds of billions of dollars soon, our military budget. Russia doesn’t like that. … Additionally, it seems that Russia spent a lot of money on that false report. And that was Russian money and I think it was Democrat money too. You could say that was collusion.” (Trump, press remarks, Aug. 10, 2017)

Fact Check: Trump, Russia and the opposition research firm run by ex-journalists: Three Pinocchios

30. Its existence should never have been leaked.

After the Steele dossier leaked, Trump took a shot at outgoing CIA director John Brennan and the intelligence community generally. “The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by ‘intelligence’ like candy. Very un-American!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 15, 2017) “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 11, 2017) “It’s all fake news. It’s all fake news. The nice thing is, I see it starting to turn, where people are now looking at the illegal — I think it’s very important — the illegal, giving out classified information. It was — and let me just tell you, it was given out like so much.” (Trump, press conference, Feb. 16, 2017)

31. Trump is ‘extremely careful’ when traveling overseas…

Trump also addressed particularly salacious allegations in the dossier by arguing that he would never engage in that kind of activity overseas. “When I leave our country, I’m a very high-profile person, would you say? I am extremely careful. I’m surrounded by bodyguards. I’m surrounded by people. And I always tell them — anywhere, but I always tell them if I’m leaving this country, ‘Be very careful, because in your hotel rooms and no matter where you go, you’re gonna probably have cameras.'” (Press conference, Jan. 11, 2017)

32. … and a germaphobe…

I’m also very much of a germaphobe, by the way, believe me.” (Trump, press conference, Jan. 11, 2017)

33. …and Putin said the claims in the dossier are not true.

Trump has also repeatedly noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin said that information in the Steele dossier was untrue. “Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is ‘A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE.’ Very unfair!” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 11, 2017) “Well, you know, [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin and Russia put out a statement today that this fake news was indeed fake news. They said it totally never happened. … I respected the fact that he said that.” (Trump, press conference, Jan. 11, 2017) “Totally made up facts by sleazebag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans – FAKE NEWS! Russia says nothing exists. Probably…” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 13, 2017)

34. If Russia had dirt on Trump, they would have used it.

And Trump has claimed that since Russia has not released any dirt on him, that proves they didn’t have any. “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me.” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 11, 2017) “And I — I’ll be honest, I think if he did have something, they would’ve released it; they would’ve been glad to release it.” (Trump, press conference, Jan. 11, 2017) “It would have been out long ago.” (Trump, press conference, July 16, 2018) “And one thing you know, if they had it, it would have been out.” (Trump, interview, July 16, 2018)

35. Trump is tougher on Russia than Obama was.

As president, Trump has regularly claimed that he’s tougher on Russia than President Obama was, as a way of indirectly arguing that the country did not interfere in the 2016 election on his behalf. “I have been much tougher on Russia than Obama, just look at the facts. Total Fake News!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 20, 2018) “There are a number of places that Obama was too weak and refused to take and put pressure on Russia, where this President has.” (Sanders, press briefing, Feb. 20, 2018)

Fact Check: Has Donald Trump ‘Been Much Tougher on Russia’ Than Barack Obama? Mostly False

36. In fact, Trump is tougher on Russia than any president.

At other times, Trump has gone further to argue that he’s been tougher on Russia than any of his predecessors. “And probably nobody has been tougher to Russia than Donald Trump.” (Trump, press remarks, April 3, 2018) “Today’s sanctions and the totality of the administration’s actions, which are in keeping with Congress’s wishes, prove the President is absolutely correct when he says no one has been tougher on Russia.” (Sanders, press briefing, April 6, 2018) “There has been nobody tougher on Russia than President Donald Trump. … There has been nobody tougher than me. … But Russia will tell you, there has been nobody tougher than Donald Trump.” (Trump, press remarks, April 18, 2018) “There’s been no President ever as tough as I have been on Russia. … And I think President Putin knows that better than anybody. Certainly, a lot better than the media. He understands it and he’s not happy about it. And he shouldn’t be happy about it because there’s never been a President as tough on Russia as I have been.” (Trump, press remarks, July 18, 2018) “Look, I think the President, as he has said many times before, has been tougher on Russia than anybody.” (Sanders, press briefing, July 18, 2018) “I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!” (Trump, tweet, July 24, 2018)

37. Russia may interfere in the 2018 elections to help the Democrats.

Facing what looked to be tough midterm elections for Republicans, Trump floated a theory — without evidence — in July of 2018 that Russia would likely interfere on behalf of the Democrats. “I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!” (Trump, tweet, July 24, 2018)

Read More: President Trump Is Back to Complaining, Without Evidence, About Rigged Elections

38. Anyway, the real scandal is that Clinton colluded with Russia on the dossier.

Finally, Trump has argued that the real scandal is Clinton’s funding of the dossier. “The real Russia scandal? Clinton campaign paid for the fake Russia dossier, then lied about it & covered it up.” (Huckabee Sanders, tweet, Oct. 24, 2017) “Clinton spokesman just said he’s ‘damn glad’ Clinton campaign colluded w/ Russia to spread disinformation about @POTUS & influence election” (Huckabee Sanders, tweet, Oct. 28, 2017) “The evidence Clinton campaign, DNC & Russia colluded to influence the election is indisputable.” (Huckabee Sanders, tweet, Oct. 28, 2017) “The real collusion scandal, as we’ve said several times before, has everything to do with the Clinton campaign, Fusion GPS, and Russia. There’s clear evidence of the Clinton campaign colluding with Russian intelligence to spread disinformation and smear the President to influence the election.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, Oct. 30, 2017) “What we have found, and what they have found after looking at this, really, scam, is they found tremendous — whatever you want to call it; you’re going to have to make up your own determination — but they found tremendous things on the other side.” (Trump, press remarks, Dec. 15, 2017) “The only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 17, 2018) “Arrived back in Washington last night from a very emotional reopening of a major U.S. Steel plant in Granite City, Illinois, only to be greeted with the ridiculous news that the highly conflicted Robert Mueller and his gang of 13 Angry Democrats obviously cannot find Collusion…the only Collusion with Russia was with the Democrats.” (Trump, tweet, July 27, 2018)

Trump campaign contacts with Russia

US President Donald Trump (L) chats with Russia's President Vladimir Putin as they attend the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017.
Mikhail Klimentyev—AFP/Getty Images

39. Trump has no investments, loans or business deals with Russia.

Trump has long maintained that he has no loans, business deals, real estate investments or contacts with Russia. “For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.” (Trump, tweet, July 26, 2016) “I mean I have nothing to do with Russia. I don’t have any jobs in Russia. I’m all over the world but we’re not involved in Russia.” (Trump, interview with CBS Miami, July 27, 2016) “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 11, 2017) “So I tweeted out that I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away. And I have no loans with Russia. … But I have no loans with Russia at all. … I certified that. So I have no deals, I have no loans and I have no dealings. We could make deals in Russia very easily if we wanted to, I just don’t want to because I think that would be a conflict. So I have no loans, no dealings, and no current pending deals.” (Trump, press conference, Jan. 11, 2017) “And I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia.” (Trump, press conference, Feb. 16, 2017) “I just sent a letter to Lindsay Graham from one of the most prestigious law firms in the country — a tremendous, highly rated law firm — that I have nothing to do with Russia.” (Trump, interview with NBC News, May 11, 2017) “By the way, I would say, I don’t — I don’t — I mean, it’s possible there’s a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows? I don’t make money from Russia. In fact, I put out a letter saying that I don’t make — from one of the most highly respected law firms, accounting firms. I don’t have buildings in Russia. They said I own buildings in Russia. I don’t. They said I made money from Russia. I don’t. It’s not my thing. I don’t, I don’t do that. Over the years, I’ve looked at maybe doing a deal in Russia, but I never did one. Other than I held the Miss Universe pageant there…” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, July 19, 2017)

40. He hasn’t even called Russia in years.

Trump has even argued that he’s not made a phone call to Russia for years. “I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven’t made a phone call to Russia in years. Don’t speak to people from Russia. Not that I wouldn’t. I just have nobody to speak to.” (Trump, press conference, Feb. 16, 2017) “I haven’t called Russia in 10 years.” (Trump, press remarks, Feb. 27, 2017) “There’s been no talk of Russia. There’s been no phone call. There’s been nothing.” (Trump, interview, July 18, 2018)

41. The Trump campaign had no foreign contacts during the election…

The Trump campaign first pushed back against questions about Russia by arguing that it had no contacts with foreign groups at all. “It never happened. There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.” (Hope Hicks, statement to the Associated Press, Nov. 11, 2016) “Q: Did anyone involved in the Trump campaign have any contact with Russians trying to meddle with the election? CONWAY: Absolutely not. And I discussed that with the president-elect just last night. Those conversations never happened. I hear people saying it like it’s a fact on television. That is just not only inaccurate and false, but it’s dangerous.” (Kellyanne Conway, interview with “Face the Nation,” Dec. 18, 2016) “I joined this campaign in the summer, and I can tell you that all the contact by the Trump campaign and associates was with the American people.” (Pence, interview with ‘Fox News Sunday,’ Jan. 15, 2017) ”

42. …and no contacts with Russia during the election.

The Trump team also specifically said that no one had any contact with Russians during the election. Reporter: “Did any adviser or anybody in the Trump campaign have any contact with the Russians who were trying to meddle in the election?” Pence: “Of course not.” (Pence, interview with ‘Face the Nation,’ Jan. 15, 2017)

43. OK, Carter Page had Russia contacts, but he was a low-level volunteer.

When it was revealed that campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page had contacts with Russian intelligence officials, Trump argued that he was simply a low-level aide. “I think the one person — I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to him. I don’t think I’ve ever met him. And he actually said he was a very low-level member of I think a committee for a short period of time.” (Trump, press conference, Feb. 16, 2017) “There is a discussion — I heard some names thrown around before — that were hangers-on or on the campaign, and I think at some point people that got thrown around at the beginning of this hearing, some of those names, the greatest amount of interaction that they’ve had has had cease-and-desist letters sent to them.” (Spicer, press briefing, March 20, 2017)

44. OK, George Papadopoulos had Russia contacts, but he was a low-level volunteer.

When former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians, Trump again argued that he was simply a low-level volunteer. “It was extremely limited; it was a volunteer position. And again, no activity was ever done in an official capacity on behalf of the campaign in that regard.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, Oct. 30, 2017) “The Fake News is working overtime. As Paul Manaforts lawyer said, there was ‘no collusion’ and events mentioned took place long before he came to the campaign. Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar. Check the DEMS!” (Trump, tweet, Oct. 31, 2017) “Again, this was a campaign volunteer. He wasn’t somebody that was a senior advisor, as many of you want to bill him to be. He was somebody that played a minimal role, if one at all, and was part of a voluntary advisory board. That’s it.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, Oct. 31, 2017)

Fact Check: Trump claim that Papadopoulos was a ‘low-level volunteer’: Not the Whole Story

45. Anyway, the real scandal is that Democrats made this all up because they lost.

Trump has also regularly alleged that Democrats made up the story that his campaign coordinated with Russia as an excuse for losing the election. “I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it. I don’t know why, and I think it’s just — you know, they talked about all sorts of things. Every week, it’s another excuse.” (Trump, interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Dec. 11, 2016) “The Democrats had to come up with a story as to why they lost the election, and so badly (306), so they made up a story – RUSSIA. Fake news!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 16, 2017) “And, you know, you can talk all you want about Russia, which was all a, you know, fake news, fabricated deal, to try and make up for the loss of the Democrats and the press plays right into it.” (Trump, press conference, Feb. 16, 2017) “It’s impossible for Republican to win. And not only did I won I won easily. So they made up this Russia thing to try and deflect because they’re embarrassed by what happened.” (Trump, interview with Fox News, April 28, 2017) “Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?” (Trump, tweet, May 2, 2017) “When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.” (Trump, interview with NBC News, May 11, 2017) “The only frustration is that this Russia story is a hoax made up by the Democrats as an excuse for losing an election that they should have won because it’s almost impossible for a Republican to win the Electoral College.” (Trump, interview with Reuters, July 12, 2017) “This is the greatest con job in history, where a party sits down the day after they got their ass kicked, and they say, ‘Huh, what’s our excuse?'” (Trump, interview with Reuters, July 12, 2017) “But, as you know, the whole concept of that came up perhaps a little bit before, but it came out as a reason why the Democrats lost an election which, frankly, they should have been able to win.” (Trump, press conference, July 16, 2018)

The Trump Tower meeting

The public Fifth Avenue entrance to Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, New York, New York.
Robert Alexander—Getty Images

46. Donald Trump Jr. is a good man…

Trump has praised his son. “As far as my son is concerned, my son is a wonderful young man.” (Trump, press conference, July 13, 2017)

47. … who never met officially with any Russians…

Trump Jr. also specifically denied any official meetings with Russians. “Did I meet with people that were Russian? I’m sure, I’m sure I did. But none that were set up. None that I can think of at the moment. And certainly none that I was representing the campaign in any way, shape or form.” (Trump Jr., interview with the New York Times, March 2017)

48. …OK, except the Trump Tower meeting, which was very short…

When the Trump Tower meeting between a Kremlin-connected lawyer, campaign head Paul Manafort, Trump Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner became public in July of 2017, Trump and his son then argued that it was a short meeting. “It was a short introductory meeting.” (Trump Jr., statement to the New York Times, July 8, 2017) “It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame.” (Trump Jr., interview with Fox News, July 11, 2017) “He took a meeting with a lawyer from Russia. It lasted for a very short period and nothing came of the meeting.” (Trump, press conference, July 13, 2017)

49. …and primarily about Russian adoption.

They also claimed at first that the meeting was primarily about Russian adoptions. “We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up.” (Trump Jr., statement to the New York Times, July 8, 2017) “No inconsistency in statements, meeting ended up being primarily about adoptions. In response to further Q’s I simply provided more details.” (Trump Jr., tweet, July 10, 2017) “And there was, you know, some small talk. I don’t even remember what it was. It just was sort of nonsensical, inane and garbled, and then quickly went on to, you know, a story about Russian adoption and how we could possibly help.” (Trump Jr., interview with Fox News, July 11, 2017)

50. OK, the Russians promised dirt on Clinton, but they didn’t give any.

When it was revealed that the Russians had promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton ahead of the meeting, Trump Jr. then shifted his story to say that they did not actually give any. “After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.” (Trump Jr., statement to the New York Times, July 9, 2017) “Obviously I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent… went nowhere but had to listen.” (Trump Jr., tweet, July 10, 2017) “But really, it went nowhere and it was apparent that that wasn’t what the meeting was actually about. … If there was something that came from it that was shady, if it was a danger to national security, I would obviously bring it right to someone. But I didn’t know what anything was. It turns out it was nothing, and therefore, there was nothing to be able to actually talk about.” (Trump Jr., interview with Fox News, July 11, 2017) “He took a meeting with a lawyer from Russia. It lasted for a very short period and nothing came of the meeting.” (Trump, press conference, July 13, 2017) “Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!” (Trump, tweet, Aug. 5, 2018)

51. In fact, the meeting was so boring that Jared Kushner left early…

Trump Jr. also noted that Kushner left early, after emailing an assistant that he “needed an excuse.” “You know, I think it became pretty apparent to, you know, Jared and Paul, who — I think Jared left after a few minutes.” (Trump Jr., interview with Fox News, July 11, 2017) “When I got there, the person who has since been identified as a Russian attorney was talking about the issue of a ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children. I had no idea why that topic was being raised and quickly determined that my time was not well-spent at this meeting. Reviewing emails recently confirmed my memory that the meeting was a waste of our time and that, in looking for a polite way to leave and get back to my work, I actually emailed an assistant from the meeting after I had been there for ten or so minutes and wrote “Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting.” (Kushner, statement to Congress, July 24, 2017)

52. … and Paul Manafort was on his phone the whole time.

And argued that Manafort was bored by the meeting. “Q: And Paul Manafort was on his… TRUMP JR.: On his phone. Q: The whole time? TRUMP JR.: Pretty much.” (Trump Jr., interview with Fox News, July 11, 2017)

53. Anyone would have taken the meeting.

Trump and his son then shifted their argument to claim that anyone in politics would take a meeting with someone offering damaging information about an opponent. “Obviously I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent… went nowhere but had to listen.” (Trump Jr., tweet, July 10, 2017) “No, I mean, I’ve been on several campaigns and people call offering information. As I know many of you receive similar calls of people offering information.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, July 10, 2017) “Honestly, my takeaway, when all of this was going on, is that someone has information on our opponent.” (Trump Jr., interview with Fox News, July 11, 2017) “Many people, and many political pros, said everybody would do that. If you got a call and said, ‘Listen I have information on Hillary and the DNC,’ or whatever it was they said, most people are going to take that meeting, I think. … Most of the phony politicians who are Democrats who I watched over the last couple of days – most of those phonies that act holier-than-thou, if the same thing happened to them, they would have taken that meeting in a heartbeat.” (Trump, interview with Reuters, July 12, 2017) “I think from a practical standpoint most people would have taken that meeting. It’s called opposition research or even research into your opponent. I’ve had many people … I’ve only been in politics for 2 years but I’ve had many people call up. ‘Oh, gee, we have information on this factor or this person’ or frankly Hillary. That’s very standard in politics.” (Trump, press conference, July 13, 2017) “As I’ve said — most other people, you know, when they call up and say, ‘By the way, we have information on your opponent,’ I think most politicians — I was just with a lot of people, they said [inaudible], ‘Who wouldn’t have taken a meeting like that?‘” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, July 19, 2017) “Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!” (Trump, tweet, Aug. 5, 2018)

54. There was nothing illegal about the meeting.

Giuliani later took that argument further, arguing that there is nothing illegal about such a meeting. “When I ran, they were looking for dirt on me every day. That’s what you do. Maybe you shouldn’t. But you do it. There is nothing illegal about that. Even if it comes from a Russian or a German or American, it doesn’t matter.” (Rudy Giuliani, interview on Fox News, May 16, 2018) “Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!” (Trump, tweet, Aug. 5, 2018)

55. Trump Jr. didn’t know who would be in the meeting…

Trump Jr. has also said that he was not aware of who would be in the meeting. “I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand.” (Trump Jr., statement to the New York Times, July 8, 2017) “I didn’t know who I was meeting beforehand, never heard of the person, never got the information until they were in the room.” (Trump Jr., interview with Fox News, July 11, 2017)

56. …the Russians misrepresented themselves…

And a Trump representative has said that the Russians misrepresented themselves. “We have learned from both our own investigation and public reports that the participants in the meeting misrepresented who they were and who they worked for.” (Trump lawyer Mark Corallo, statement to Circa, July 8, 2017)

57. …and they may have been working for Democrats.

Even claiming that they were working with Democrats. “Specifically, we have learned that the person who sought the meeting is associated with Fusion GPS, a firm which according to public reports, was retained by Democratic operatives to develop opposition research on the President and which commissioned the phony Steele dossier. These developments raise serious issues as to exactly who authorized and participated in any effort by Russian nationals to influence our election in any manner.” (Corallo, statement to Circa, July 8, 2017)

58. This was before anyone cared about Russia.

Trump Jr. has also argued that the meeting happened before anyone in the U.S. was paying attention to Russian meddling. “To put this in context, this occurred before the current Russian fever was in vogue.” (Trump Jr., statement, July 11, 2017) “Honestly, this is pre, like, Russia fever. This is pre Russia mania. You know, this is 13 months ago, before I think the rest of the world was talking about that, trying to build up this narrative about Russia. So I don’t even think my sirens, you know, went up or the antennas went up at this time because of it because it wasn’t the issue that it’s been made out to be over the last, you know, nine months, ten months since it really became a thing.” (Trump Jr., interview with Fox News, July 11, 2017) “That was before Russia was hot, don’t forget. You know, Russia wasn’t hot then. That was almost a year and a half ago. It wasn’t like it is, like it is radioactive, then. Russia was Russia.” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, July 19, 2017)

59. There was no follow-up to the meeting…

The Trump team has also noted that there was no follow-up to the meeting. “We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up.” (Trump Jr., statement to the New York Times, July 8, 2017) “Don Jr. took a very short meeting from which there was absolutely no follow-up.” (Sanders, press briefing, July 10, 2017) “It was such a nothing, there was no reason to follow up. It was a waste of time.” (Trump Jr., interview with Fox News, July 11, 2017)

60. …as far as Trump knows…

Trump later amended that answer. “Don has received notoriety for a brief meeting, that many politicians would have taken, but most importantly, and to the best of my knowledge, nothing happened after the meeting concluded.” (Trump, statement to the Washington Post, Aug. 12, 2018)

61. …and Trump did not know about it at the time.

And they’ve argued that Trump himself did not know about the meeting until much later. “Q: When did the President learn that that meeting had taken place? Sanders: I believe in the last couple of days is my understanding.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, July 10, 2017) “Q: Did you tell your father anything about this? TRUMP JR.: No. It was such a nothing. There was nothing to tell.” (Trump Jr., interview with Fox News, July 11, 2017) “That I didn’t know. Until a couple of days ago, when I heard about this. No I didn’t know about that.” (Trump, interview with Reuters, July 12, 2017) “No, I didn’t know anything about the meeting. … It must have been a very important — must have been a very unimportant meeting, because I never even heard about it. … No, nobody told me. I didn’t know noth—— It’s a very unimportant — sounded like a very unimportant meeting.” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, July 19, 2017) “I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr.” (Trump, tweet, July 27, 2018) “Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!” (Trump, tweet, Aug. 5, 2018)

62. Trump was not involved in writing the statement about the meeting.

Various members of the Trump team also argued that the initial statement about the meeting from the summer of 2017, later shown to be inaccurate, was not written by the president. “That was written, no that was written by Donald Trump Jr. and I’m sure with consultation with his lawyer. That wasn’t written by the president.” (Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, interview with CNN, July 12, 2017) “The president didn’t sign off on anything. He was coming back from the G20. The statement that was released Saturday was released by Donald Trump Jr., I’m sure in consultation with his lawyers. The President wasn’t involved in that.” (Sekulow, interview with ABC, July 12, 2017) “The President was not — did not — draft the response. The response came from Donald Trump Jr. and — I’m sure — in consultation with his lawyer. … Let me say this — but I do want to be clear — that the President was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. It came from Donald Trump Jr.” (Sekulow, interview with NBC, July 16, 2017) “He certainly didn’t dictate, but he — like I said, he weighed in, offered suggestion like any father would do.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, Aug. 1, 2017)

63. OK, he dictated the statement about the meeting, but it was accurate.

Though they later conceded that the president in fact dictated the statement. “You have received all of the notes, communications and testimony indicating that the President dictated a short but accurate response to the New York Times article on behalf of his son, Donald Trump, Jr. His son then followed up by making a full public disclosure regarding the meeting, including his public testimony that there was nothing to the meeting and certainly no evidence of collusion.” (John M. Dowd and Jay A. Sekulow, letter to Robert Mueller, Jan. 29, 2018) “I had bad information at that time and made a mistake in my statement. I’ve talked about that before. That happens when you have cases like this.” (Sekulow, interview, Aug. 5, 2018)

64. Roger Stone never met with any Russians during the campaign.

In an interview with the Washington Post in 2017, longtime Trump associate Roger Stone denied having any contact with Russians. “I’ve never been to Russia. I didn’t talk to anybody who was identifiably Russian during the two-year run-up to this campaign. I very definitely can’t think of anybody who might have been a Russian without my knowledge. It’s a canard.” (Stone, interview with the Washington Post, April 19, 2017)

65. OK, he met with a Russian one time but it was a setup by the FBI.

In June of 2018, Stone told the Post that a Russian man who asked for $2 million for damaging information about Clinton in a meeting set up by Trump campaign official Michael Caputo, but that he know feels it was a setup by the FBI. “If you believe that [Greenberg] took time off from his long career as an FBI informant to reach out to us in his spare time, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I want to sell you. (Caputo, interview with the Washington Post, June 17, 2018) “I didn’t realize it was an FBI sting operation at the time, but it sure looks like one now.” (Stone, interview with the Washington Post, June 17, 2018)

66. Anyway, the real scandal is the Democrats’ contacts with Ukraine.

Finally, the Trump Administration has counterpunched by referencing a Ukrainian-American consultant to the Democratic National Committee who looked for compromising information on Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. “So if you’re looking for an example of a campaign coordinating with a foreign country or a foreign source, look no further than the DNC who actually coordinated opposition research with the Ukrainian Embassy.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, July 10, 2017) “I think if there’s been any evidence of collusion in 2016 that’s come out at all or been discussed that’s actually happened, it would be between the DNC and the Ukrainian government. … Ukrainian actions to coordinate with the DNC was actually successful, unlike anything shown by Don Jr.’s emails.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, July 12, 2017) “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign – ‘quietly working to boost Clinton.’ So where is the investigation A.G. @seanhannity” (Trump, tweet, July 25, 2017) “You guys are focused on a meeting that Don Jr. had no consequence when the Democrats actually colluded with a foreign government like Ukraine.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, Aug 1, 2017)

Firing Michael Flynn

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn during the daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, DC on Feb. 1, 2017.
Jabin Botsford—The Washington Post/Getty Images

67. Michael Flynn is a good man…

As with others, Trump has defended former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn by first noting that he is a good person. “Michael Flynn, General Flynn is a wonderful man.” (Trump, press conference, Feb. 15, 2017) “Mike Flynn is a fine person.” (Trump, press conference, Feb. 16, 2017) “I think Mike Flynn is somebody who honorably served our country in uniform for over 30 years.” (Spicer, press briefing, May 9, 2017) “Well, I feel badly for Gen. Flynn. I feel very badly. He’s led a very strong life, and I feel very badly.” (Trump, press remarks, Dec. 4, 2017)

68. … who had a high-level security clearance under the Obama Administration…

He’s also attempted to shift blame to President Obama, who reportedly warned him about hiring Flynn. “General Flynn was a career military officer who maintained a high-level security clearance throughout his career in the military. His clearance was last reissued by the Obama administration in 2016 with full knowledge of his activities that occurred in 2015, as you point out.” (Spicer, press briefing, April 27, 2017) “I didn’t realize this, when he went to Russia, it was 2015 and he was on the Obama clearance. When General Flynn came to us, as you now know, he already had the highest clearance you can have. I think the same clearance as the president of the United States would have. He had this really high clearance.” (Trump, interview with “Face the Nation,” April 30, 2017) “General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama Administration – but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that.” (Trump, tweet, May 8, 2017) “He had clearance from the Obama administration, the highest clearance you can have. And I think it’s a very unfair thing that the media doesn’t talk about that.” (Trump, interview with NBC News, May 11, 2017)

69. …which never tried to suspend it…

“So the question that you have to ask yourself really is, if President Obama was truly concerned about General Flynn why didn’t he suspend General Flynn’s security clearance, which they had just reapproved months earlier.” (Spicer, press briefing, May 8, 2017)

Fact Check: Trump’s pointing of the finger at Obama for failing to vet Flynn: Three Pinocchios

70. …and he didn’t do anything wrong.

Trump has also claimed that there was nothing wrong with Flynn’s contacts with Russia during the transition. “When I looked at the information, I said, I don’t think he did anything wrong. If anything, he did something right. He was coming into office, he looked at the information. He said, huh, that’s fine, that’s what they’re supposed to do. They’re supposed to be — and he didn’t just call Russia. He called and spoke to, both ways — I think there were 30-some-odd countries. He’s doing the job. You know, he was just doing his job.” (Trump, press conference, Feb. 16, 2017) “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!” (Trump, tweet, Dec. 2, 2017)

71. Trump only fired Flynn because he lied to Mike Pence.

And he’s said that the only reason he fired him is because he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about those contacts. “Mike Flynn is a fine person, and I asked for his resignation. He respectfully gave it. He is a man who — there was a certain amount of information given to Vice President Pence, who is with us today. And I was not happy with the way that information was given. … But he didn’t tell the Vice President of the United States the facts, and then he didn’t remember. And that just wasn’t acceptable to me.” (Trump, press conference, Feb. 16, 2017) “We fired him because he said something to the vice president that was not so.” (Trump, interview with NBC News, May 11, 2017) “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!” (Trump, tweet, Dec. 2, 2017) “Look, the President knew that he lied to the Vice President, and that was the reason for his firing.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, Dec. 5, 2017)

72. Trump fired Flynn because he lied to the FBI. (Wait, never mind).

In one tweet, Trump also said that he fired Flynn because he lied to the FBI, raising questions about whether the president knew that at the time. Trump’s personal attorney John Dowd then stepped forward to say he wrote the tweet for Trump. “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!” (Trump, tweet, Dec. 2, 2017)

73. Flynn’s life has been ruined for nothing.

“So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday ‘interrogation’ with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times…and nothing happens to her? Rigged system, or just a double standard?” (Trump, tweet, Dec. 2, 2017) “Flynn lied and it’s like they ruined his life. It’s very unfair.” (Trump, press remarks, Dec. 4, 2017) “So General Michael Flynn’s life can be totally destroyed while Shadey James Comey can Leak and Lie and make lots of money from a third rate book (that should never have been written). Is that really the way life in America is supposed to work? I don’t think so!” (Trump, tweet, April 20, 2018)

74. Anyway, the real scandal is that Hillary Clinton lied to the FBI.

Trump has also claimed, without evidence, that Clinton lied during her questioning by the FBI over the email server, something that Comey testified the FBI had no reason to believe. “So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday ‘interrogation’ with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times…and nothing happens to her? Rigged system, or just a double standard?” (Trump, tweet, Dec. 2, 2017) “I will say this, Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI. Nothing happened to her. Flynn lied, and they destroyed his life.” (Trump, press remarks, Dec. 4, 2017)

Fact Check: Donald Trump claims Hillary Clinton lied to the FBI: False

Firing James Comey

President Trump shakes hands with former FBI Director James Comey at a White House reception
Andrew Harrer—Avalon/Zuma Press

75. Comey showed ‘a lot of guts’ when he reopened the Clinton email investigation.

Trump argued that the FBI decision not to recommend charges against Clinton over her private email server was evidence of a “rigged system.” But when Comey reopened the investigation into Clinton’s emails just before the election, Trump praised him. “The FBI – after discovering new emails, is re-opening their investigation into Hillary Clinton. I have great respect for the FBI for righting this wrong.” (Trump, campaign rally, Oct. 28, 2016) “And I have to give the FBI credit. That was so bad what happened originally. And it took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made in light of the kind of opposition he had where they’re trying to protect her from criminal prosecution. You know that. It took a lot of guts. … I was not his fan but I’ll tell you what: What he did, he brought back his reputation. He brought it back.” (Trump, campaign rally, Oct. 31, 2016)

76. Actually, Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Clinton.

After he became president, Trump returned to arguing that Comey and the FBI went easy on Clinton, however. “FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!” (Trump, tweet, May 2, 2017) “As it has turned out, James Comey lied and leaked and totally protected Hillary Clinton. He was the best thing that ever happened to her!” (Trump, tweet, Oct. 18, 2017) “Director Comey was very, very good to Hillary Clinton, that I can tell you. If he weren’t, she would be, right now, going to trial.” (Trump, interview with Fox Business Network, April 12, 2017)

77. He exonerated Clinton before the email investigation was over.

Trump also seized on the fact that Comey’s chief of staff emailed other staffers a draft of a statement about the investigation before it was complete, which he claimed showed the investigation was not serious. “Wow, FBI confirms report that James Comey drafted letter exonerating Crooked Hillary Clinton long before investigation was complete. Many people not interviewed, including Clinton herself. Comey stated under oath that he didn’t do this-obviously a fix? Where is Justice Dept?” (Trump, tweet, Oct. 18, 2017) “Comey drafted the Crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her (lied in Congress to Senator G), then based his decisions on her poll numbers. Disgruntled, he, McCabe, and the others, committed many crimes!” (Trump, tweet, April 16, 2018)

78. Actually, Trump fired Comey because he treated Clinton poorly during the election.

When Trump fired Comey, he released as support a letter from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein which criticized Comey for his public statements about the Clinton investigation, including the decision not to recommend charges and the later reopening of the investigation. “I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgement that he was mistaken. … The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong. As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them.” (Rosenstein, letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, May 9, 2017) “I have concluded that a fresh start is needed at the leadership of the FBI.” (Attorney General Jeff Sessions, letter to Trump, May 9, 2017) “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau. It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.” (Trump, letter to Comey, May 9, 2017) “Then Rosenstein becomes extremely angry because of Comey’s Wednesday press conference, where he said that he would do the same thing he did a year ago with Hillary Clinton, and Rosenstein became extremely angry at that because, as a prosecutor, he knows that Comey did the wrong thing. Totally wrong thing. And he gives me a letter, O.K., he gives me a letter about Comey. And by the way, that was a tough letter, O.K.” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, July 19, 2017)

79. Trump fired Comey because he hurt the FBI’s reputation.

James Comey will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI.” (Trump, tweet, May 10, 2017) “Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!” (Trump, tweet, May 10, 2017) “After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters – worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness.” (Trump, tweet, Dec. 3, 2017) “The FBI has been in turmoil. You know that, I know that, everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil — less than a year ago. It hasn’t recovered from that. … I have to do the right thing for the American people. He’s the wrong man for that position.” (Trump, interview with NBC News, May 11, 2017) “Certainly, James Comey was fired … for lying, leaking, and politicizing the FBI. And the President has been, I think, repeatedly, day after day, been proven to be exactly right in his decision to fire James Comey.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, May 3, 2018)

80. Trump fired Comey because of the Russia investigation.

And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself — I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won. … When I did this now, I said I probably maybe will confuse people. Maybe I’ll expand that — you know, I’ll lengthen the time because it should be over with. It should — in my opinion, should’ve been over with a long time ago because it — all it is an excuse. But I said to myself I might even lengthen out the investigation. But I have to do the right thing for the American people.” (Trump, interview with NBC News, May 11, 2017)

81. Actually, Trump did not fire Comey because of the Russia investigation.

“Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia! The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!” (Trump, tweet, May 31, 2018) “Slippery James Comey, the worst FBI Director in history, was not fired because of the phony Russia investigation where, by the way, there was NO COLLUSION (except by the Dems)!” (Trump, tweet, April 18, 2018)

82. Actually, Trump fired Comey because he wouldn’t say he wasn’t a target of the Russia investigation.

“He fired Comey because Comey would not, among other things, say that he wasn’t a target of the investigation. He’s entitled to that. Hillary Clinton got that and he couldn’t get that. So he fired him and he said, ‘I’m free of this guy.'” (Giuliani, interview with Fox News, May 2, 2018)

83. Trump fired Comey because of Rosenstein’s recommendation.

“I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I have accepted their recommendation and you are herby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.” (Trump, letter to Comey, May 9, 2017) “Then Rosenstein becomes extremely angry because of Comey’s Wednesday press conference, where he said that he would do the same thing he did a year ago with Hillary Clinton, and Rosenstein became extremely angry at that because, as a prosecutor, he knows that Comey did the wrong thing. Totally wrong thing. And he gives me a letter, O.K., he gives me a letter about Comey. And by the way, that was a tough letter, O.K. Now, perhaps I would have fired Comey anyway, and it certainly didn’t hurt to have the letter, O.K. But he gives me a very strong letter, and now he’s involved in the case. Well, that’s a conflict of interest.” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, July 19, 2017)

84. Trump would have fired Comey regardless of Rosenstein’s recommendation.

“He made a recommendation. He’s highly respected. Very good guy, very smart guy. And the Democrats like him. The Republicans like him. He had made a recommendation. But regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it.” (Trump, interview with NBC News, May 11, 2017) “Then Rosenstein becomes extremely angry because of Comey’s Wednesday press conference, where he said that he would do the same thing he did a year ago with Hillary Clinton, and Rosenstein became extremely angry at that because, as a prosecutor, he knows that Comey did the wrong thing. Totally wrong thing. And he gives me a letter, O.K., he gives me a letter about Comey. And by the way, that was a tough letter, O.K. Now, perhaps I would have fired Comey anyway, and it certainly didn’t hurt to have the letter, O.K. But he gives me a very strong letter, and now he’s involved in the case. Well, that’s a conflict of interest.” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, July 19, 2017)

85. Actually, Trump doesn’t have to explain why he fired Comey.

“There are a number of reasons that James Comey was fired. The President has named several of them. But the bottom line is he doesn’t have to justify his decision. The President has the authority to fire and hire. And I think every single day … we’ve seen that he made the right decision in firing James Comey.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, May 3, 2018)

86. Everyone thought Comey should be fired.

Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.” (Rosenstein, letter to Sessions, May 9, 2017) “James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR. Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired.” (Trump, tweet, April 13, 2018)

87. Comey asked Trump to have dinner with him.

Trump also claimed that Comey asked him to have dinner with him, something Comey contradicted in testimony to Congress. “I had a dinner with him. He wanted to have dinner because he wanted to stay on. We had a very nice dinner at the White House … very early on. That dinner was arranged. I think he asked for the dinner.” (Trump, interview with NBC News, May 11, 2017)

88. Trump never asked Comey for loyalty.

Trump denied Comey’s testimony that Trump asked him for loyalty during the dinner, which legal experts have posited could potentially be obstruction of justice. “I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty. I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies. His ‘memos’ are self serving and FAKE!” (Trump, tweet, April 15, 2018) “The President also never told Mr. Comey, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty” in form or substance.” (Kasowitz, press statement, June 8, 2017)

89. Trump never asked James Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn…

Trump also denied Comey’s testimony that he asked him to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn. “The president has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations. This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.” (White House statement, May 16, 2017) Question: “Did you at any time urge former FBI Director James Comey in any way, shape, or form to close or to back down the investigation into Michael Flynn?” Trump: “No. No. Next question.” (Trump, press conference, May 18, 2017) “I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!” (Trump, tweet, Dec. 3, 2017) “The president never in form or substance directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including the president never suggested that Mr. Comey, quote, ‘Let Flynn go,’ close quote.” (Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz, press statement, June 8, 2017) Question: “He did say, under oath, that you told him to let the Flynn — you said you hoped the Flynn investigation he could let…” Trump: “I didn’t say that.” (Trump, press conference, June 9, 2017) “He said I said ‘hope’ — ‘I hope you can treat Flynn good’ or something like that. I didn’t say anything.” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, July 19, 2017) “The White House denied and refuted that the President said these words to Mr. Comey.” (John Dowd, letter to Robert Mueller, Jan. 29, 2018)

90. But if he did ask, there would be nothing wrong with that.

While Trump continues to denying asking Comey to drop the investigation, Giuliani has conceded that he may have, but argued that there would be nothing wrong with that. “He had a right to say to Comey, ‘Give Flynn a break.’ There was no investigation at the time. And not only that, he didn’t tell him, ‘Don’t investigate him, don’t prosecute him.’ He asked him to exercise his prosecutorial discretion, because he was a good man with a great war record. I’ve been asked that, as a prosecutor, many times: ‘Take the man’s whole life into consideration.’ Either go easy on him, or maybe this one, can you pass on. And you do sometimes.” (Giuliani, interview, July 30, 2018) “The president says that conversation didn’t take place. Comey said it took place. We — if it took place, I could live with that. You could say that the president wasn’t obstructing, just saying, you know, be good to him, go easy on him. I had that happen a lot of time as a prosecutor. It shouldn’t obstruct an investigation, and it didn’t. However, the president didn’t say it..” (Giuliani, interview, July 30, 2018)

91. Comey’s memos are fake…

Trump blasted Comey’s memos of his interactions with Trump as “fake” and “phony.” “Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me. I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?” (Trump, tweet, March 18, 2018) “The big questions in Comey’s badly reviewed book aren’t answered like, how come he gave up Classified Information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail), why did the DNC refuse to give Server to the FBI (why didn’t they TAKE it), why the phony memos, McCabe’s $700,000 & more?” (Trump, tweet, April 15, 2018) “I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty. I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies. His ‘memos’ are self serving and FAKE!” (Trump, tweet, April 15, 2018) “And those memos were about me, and they’re phony memos. He didn’t write those memos accurately. He put a lot of phony stuff.” (Trump, interview with Fox News, April 26, 2018)

92. …and also vindicate Trump.

But he also claimed, without evidence, that they exonerated him. “James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?” (Trump, tweet, April 19, 2018)

Fact Check: Trump claim that Comey memos disprove collusion and obstruction: Pants on Fire

93. Comey is an incompetent…

I also want to have a really competent, capable director. He’s not.” (Trump, interview with NBC News, May 11, 2017)
“The @TuckerCarlson opening statement about our once cherished and great FBI was so sad to watch. James Comey’s leadership was a disaster!” (Trump, tweet, Nov. 2, 2017) “Slippery James Comey, a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!), will go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!” (Trump, tweet, April 15, 2018) “Slippery James Comey, the worst FBI Director in history, was not fired because of the phony Russia investigation where, by the way, there was NO COLLUSION (except by the Dems)!” (Trump, tweet, April 18, 2018) “Not surprisingly, the GREAT Men & Women of the FBI are starting to speak out against Comey, McCabe and all of the political corruption and poor leadership found within the top ranks of the FBI. Comey was a terrible and corrupt leader who inflicted great pain on the FBI! #SPYGATE” (Trump, tweet, May 24, 2018)

94. …shady…

“So General Michael Flynn’s life can be totally destroyed while Shadey James Comey can Leak and Lie and make lots of money from a third rate book (that should never have been written). Is that really the way life in America is supposed to work? I don’t think so!” (Trump, tweet, April 20, 2018)

95. …slippery…

Slippery James Comey, a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!), will go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!” (Trump, tweet, April 15, 2018) “Slippery James Comey, the worst FBI Director in history, was not fired because of the phony Russia investigation where, by the way, there was NO COLLUSION (except by the Dems)!” (Trump, tweet, April 18, 2018) “What is taking so long with the Inspector General’s Report on Crooked Hillary and Slippery James Comey. Numerous delays. Hope Report is not being changed and made weaker! There are so many horrible things to tell, the public has the right to know. Transparency!” (Trump, tweet, June 5, 2018)

96. …corrupt…

“Not surprisingly, the GREAT Men & Women of the FBI are starting to speak out against Comey, McCabe and all of the political corruption and poor leadership found within the top ranks of the FBI. Comey was a terrible and corrupt leader who inflicted great pain on the FBI! #SPYGATE” (Trump, tweet, May 24, 2018)

97. …sanctimonious…

“Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!” (Trump, tweet, March 17, 2018)

98. …showboating…

“Look, he’s a showboat. He’s a grandstander. … He’s a showboater.” (Trump, interview with NBC News, May 11, 2017)

99. …grandstanding…

“Look, he’s a showboat. He’s a grandstander.” (Trump, interview with NBC News, May 11, 2017)

100. …slimeball…

“Unbelievably, James Comey states that Polls, where Crooked Hillary was leading, were a factor in the handling (stupidly) of the Clinton Email probe. In other words, he was making decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win, and he wanted a job. Slimeball!” (Trump, tweet, April 15, 2018) “James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR. Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired. He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to Congress under OATH. He is a weak and untruthful slime ball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI.” (Trump, tweets, April 13, 2018)

101. …who is either very sick or very dumb.

“Is everybody believing what is going on. James Comey can’t define what a leak is. He illegally leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION but doesn’t understand what he did or how serious it is. He lied all over the place to cover it up. He’s either very sick or very dumb. Remember sailor!” (Trump, tweet, April 27, 2018)

102. He lied to Congress…

“Wow, watch Comey lie under oath to Senator G when asked ‘have you ever been an anonymous source…or known someone else to be an anonymous source…?’ He said strongly ‘never, no.’ He lied as shown clearly on @foxandfriends.” (Trump, tweet, March 18, 2018) “He lied to Congress under OATH.” (Trump, tweets, April 13, 2018) “The big questions in Comey’s badly reviewed book aren’t answered like, how come he gave up Classified Information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail), why did the DNC refuse to give Server to the FBI (why didn’t they TAKE it), why the phony memos, McCabe’s $700,000 & more?” (Trump, tweet, April 15, 2018) “Comey drafted the Crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her (lied in Congress to Senator G), then based his decisions on her poll numbers. Disgruntled, he, McCabe, and the others, committed many crimes!” (Trump, tweet, April 16, 2018)

Fact Check: Trump claim that Comey lied to Congress: Unproven Claim

103. …and now he’s making money selling a third-rate book.

“The big questions in Comey’s badly reviewed book aren’t answered like, how come he gave up Classified Information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail), why did the DNC refuse to give Server to the FBI (why didn’t they TAKE it), why the phony memos, McCabe’s $700,000 & more?” (Trump, tweet, April 15, 2018) “So General Michael Flynn’s life can be totally destroyed while Shadey James Comey can Leak and Lie and make lots of money from a third rate book (that should never have been written). Is that really the way life in America is supposed to work? I don’t think so!” (Trump, tweet, April 20, 2018)

104. Anyway, the real scandal is that Comey leaked classified information.

Trump has also repeatedly claimed that Comey’s leaked classified information when he shared a memo about his interactions with Trump with a friend in order to get the information to reporters, a claim fact-checkers have marked as false. “Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!” (Trump, tweet, June 9, 2017) “I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible. Totally illegal? Very ‘cowardly!'” (Trump, tweet, June 11, 2017) “James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!” (Trump, tweet, July 10, 2017) “I think there are a lot of questions out there and a lot of reports where it indicates that Director Comey may have leaked classified information. That certainly is a threat to the national security and violates policy.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, July 10, 2017) “He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted.” (Trump, tweet, April 13, 2018) “James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?” (Trump, tweet, April 19, 2018) “So General Michael Flynn’s life can be totally destroyed while Shadey James Comey can Leak and Lie and make lots of money from a third rate book (that should never have been written). Is that really the way life in America is supposed to work? I don’t think so!” (Trump, tweet, April 20, 2018) “James Comey’s Memos are Classified, I did not Declassify them. They belong to our Government! Therefore, he broke the law! Additionally, he totally made up many of the things he said I said, and he is already a proven liar and leaker. Where are Memos on Clinton, Lynch & others?” (Trump, tweet, April 21, 2018) “Look, Comey is a leaker, and he’s a liar and not only on this stuff. He’s been leaking for years. He’s probably been using his friend, the so-called professor who now turns out to have FBI clearance, which he never said.” (Trump, interview with Fox News, April 26, 2018) “Is everybody believing what is going on. James Comey can’t define what a leak is. He illegally leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION but doesn’t understand what he did or how serious it is. He lied all over the place to cover it up. He’s either very sick or very dumb. Remember sailor!” (Trump, tweet, April 27, 2018)

Fact Check: Trump’s repeated claim that Comey ‘leaked classified information’: Four Pinocchios

Firing Andrew McCabe

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee meeting on the FBI's budget requests for FY2018 on June 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Pete Marovich—Getty Images

105. Andrew McCabe’s wife received money from Hillary Clinton allies for her campaign.

Trump has also assailed former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose wife received money for a state legislature bid from Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe. “Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife!” (Trump, tweet, July 25, 2017) “Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife’s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!” (Trump, tweet, July 26, 2017) “How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?” (Trump, tweet, Dec. 23, 2017)

106. He and his wife kept some of the money.

Trump has also asserted, without evidence, that the McCabes kept some of that money, a claim fact checkers have rated as false. “You look at McCabe where he takes $700,000 from somebody supporting Hillary Clinton. He takes $700,000 for his wife’s campaign. And by the way, didn’t even spend that money. They kept some of it because under that law you’re…” (Trump, interview with Fox News, April 26, 2018)

Fact Check: McCabe kept some of the campaign money: False

107. He’s friends with Comey.

As he has with others, Trump argued that McCabe is friends with Comey. “Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife’s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!” (Trump, tweet, July 26, 2017)

108. He should be investigated…

“Comey drafted the Crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her (lied in Congress to Senator G), then based his decisions on her poll numbers. Disgruntled, he, McCabe, and the others, committed many crimes!” (Trump, tweet, April 16, 2018) “Why isn’t disgraced FBI official Andrew McCabe being investigated for the $700,000 Crooked Hillary Democrats in Virginia, led by Clinton best friend Terry M (under FBI investigation that they killed) gave to McCabe’s wife in her run for office? Then dropped case on Clinton!” (Trump, tweet, May 18, 2018)

109. …or fired.

Trump also essentially called for McCabe to be fired. “FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!” (Trump, tweet, Dec. 23, 2017) “Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!” (Trump, tweet, March 17, 2018) “The Fake News is beside themselves that McCabe was caught, called out and fired. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars was given to wife’s campaign by Crooked H friend, Terry M, who was also under investigation? How many lies? How many leaks? Comey knew it all, and much more!” (Trump, tweet, March 17, 2018)

110. His memos about Trump are fake.

“Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me. I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?” (Trump, tweet, March 18, 2018)

111. Anyway, the real scandal is that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign.

And finally Trump tried to change the subject to allegations that the FBI spied on his campaign. “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a ‘hot’ Fake News story. If true – all time biggest political scandal!” (Trump, tweet, May 18, 2018) “A lot of people are saying they had spies in my campaign. If they had spies in my campaign, that would be a disgrace to this country. That would be one of the biggest insults that anyone has ever seen, and it would be very illegal, aside from everything else. It would make, probably, every political event ever look like small potatoes.” (Trump, press remarks, May 22, 2018) “‘Trump should be happy that the FBI was SPYING on his campaign’ No, James Clapper, I am not happy. Spying on a campaign would be illegal, and a scandal to boot!” (Trump, tweet, May 23, 2018) “Clapper has now admitted that there was Spying in my campaign. Large dollars were paid to the Spy, far beyond normal. Starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history. SPYGATE – a terrible thing!” (Trump, tweet, May 24, 2018) “Can anyone even imagine having Spies placed in a competing campaign, by the people and party in absolute power, for the sole purpose of political advantage and gain? And to think that the party in question, even with the expenditure of far more money, LOST!” (Trump, tweet, May 25, 2018) “With Spies, or ‘Informants’ as the Democrats like to call them because it sounds less sinister (but it’s not), all over my campaign, even from a very early date, why didn’t the crooked highest levels of the FBI or ‘Justice’ contact me to tell me of the phony Russia problem?” (Trump, tweet, May 26, 2018)

Fact Check: Trump claim that Clapper admitted the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign: False

The Mueller investigation

Robert Mueller speaks during a news conference at the FBI headquarters June 25, 2008 in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong—Getty Images

112. Attorney General Jeff Sessions should not have recused himself.

Trump has long expressed irritation that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation on the grounds that he had been part of the Trump campaign. “The Attorney General made a terrible mistake when he did this, and when he recused himself. Or he should have certainly let us know if he was going to recuse himself, and we would have used a — put a different Attorney General in.” (Trump, press remarks, April 9, 2018) “‘The recusal of Jeff Sessions was an unforced betrayal of the President of the United States.’ JOE DIGENOVA, former U.S. Attorney.” (Trump, tweet, May 30, 2018) “The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn’t tell me he was going to recuse himself…I would have quickly picked someone else. So much time and money wasted, so many lives ruined…and Sessions knew better than most that there was No Collusion!” (Trump, tweet, June 5, 2018)

113. Robert Mueller should never have been appointed.

Trump has also argued that Mueller should not have been appointed because there was no crime. “Because I have done nothing wrong. A special counsel should never have been appointed in this case.” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, July 19, 2017) “The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!” (Trump, tweet, March 17, 2018) “House Intelligence Committee rules that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump Campaign and Russia. As I have been saying all along, it is all a big Hoax by the Democrats based on payments and lies. There should never have been a Special Counsel appointed. Witch Hunt!” (Trump, tweet, April 27, 2018)

114. The appointment was based on an illegal leak.

After Comey testified that he shared a copy of a memo with a friend in order to spur press reports that might lead to a special counsel, Trump began arguing that showed the investigation was begun on improper grounds. “James Comey illegally leaked classified documents to the press in order to generate a Special Council? Therefore, the Special Council was established based on an illegal act? Really, does everybody know what that means?” (Trump, tweet, April 20, 2018) “He said he gave it to a friend, and he gave it to a friend to leak classified information. It’s all classified. It was totally classified. So illegally — he did an illegal act, and he said it himself in order to get a special counsel against me.” (Trump, interview with Fox News, April 26, 2018)

115. Mueller worked for Obama…

Trump has tried to impugn Mueller for having worked under Obama, although he overstated the number of years. “In all fairness, Bob Mueller worked for Obama for eight years.” (Trump, press remarks, May 4, 2018)

Fact Check: Trump claim that Mueller worked for Obama for eight years: False

116. …and is friends with Comey…

And again, he’s claimed that his enemies are all friends who may be working together against him. “Well, he is very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome, which is very bothersome.” (Trump, interview with Fox News, June 23, 2017) “Well, you have an investigation in which Mueller is selected the day after he was turned down for FBI director by Rosenstein who was there when Mueller was turned down. There are thousands of people that could have been selected for that job. Also a friend of James Comey, and James Comey seems to be their core of their investigation.” (Giuliani, interview with Fox News, May 2, 2018) “Also remember that they all worked for Slippery James Comey and that Comey is best friends with Robert Mueller.” (Trump, tweet, June 17, 2018) “Mueller is Comey’s best friend.” (Trump, tweet, June 18, 2018) “Mueller/Comey best friends!” (Trump, tweet, June 28, 2018)

Fact Check: Claim that Comey and Mueller are friends: Mostly False

117. …and has conflicts of interest.

Trump has also argued that Mueller has conflicts of interest because Trump interviewed him for the FBI director job the day before he was appointed special counsel, among other unspecified things. “Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama. Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter). No Collusion, so they go crazy!” (Trump, tweet, April 11, 2018) “We were interviewing replacements at the F.B.I. Did you know Mueller was one of the people that was being interviewed? … The day before! Of course, he was up here, and he wanted the job. … So, now what happens is, he leaves the office. Rosenstein leaves the office. The next day, he is appointed special counsel. I said, what the hell is this all about? Talk about conflicts? But he was interviewing for the job. There were many other conflicts that I haven’t said, but I will at some point.” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, July 19, 2017) “When is Bob Mueller going to list his Conflicts of Interest? Why has it taken so long? Will they be listed at the top of his $22,000,000 Report.” (Trump, tweet, June 28, 2018) “Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to President Trump, including the fact that we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship, I turned him down to head the FBI (one day before appointment as S.C.) & Comey is his close friend.” (Trump, tweet, July 29, 2018) “I’m not sure exactly what the conflict is. I have a good idea of what it is — it’s one that would have kept me out of the investigation.” (Giuliani, interview, July 30, 2018)

118. His team is full of Democrats…

Trump has claimed Mueller’s team is biased against him because it’s made up of Democrats, although he leaves out that Mueller himself is a registered Republican who was appointed FBI director by George W. Bush. “Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!” (Trump, tweet, March 18, 2018) “Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama. Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter). No Collusion, so they go crazy!” (Trump, tweet, April 11, 2018) “The people that are doing the investigation — you have 13 people that are Democrats.You have Hillary Clinton people. You have people that worked on Hillary Clinton’s foundation. They’re all — I don’t mean Democrats, I mean like the real deal.” (Trump, interview with Fox News, April 26, 2018) “So you have all these investigators; they’re Democrats. In all fairness, Bob Mueller worked for Obama for eight years.” (Trump, press remarks, May 4, 2018) “This whole Russia Probe is Rigged. Just an excuse as to why the Dems and Crooked Hillary lost the Election and States that haven’t been lost in decades. 13 Angry Democrats, and all Dems if you include the people who worked for Obama for 8 years. #SPYGATE & CONFLICTS OF INTEREST!” (Trump, tweet, May 26, 2018)

Fact Check: Trump claim about Democrats on Mueller’s team: Half True

119. …who were Hillary Clinton supporters…

The people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters. Some of them worked for Hillary Clinton. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous, if you want to know the truth, from that standpoint.” (Trump, interview with Fox News, June 23, 2017) “Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans?” (Trump, tweet, March 18, 2018) “The people that are doing the investigation — you have 13 people that are Democrats.You have Hillary Clinton people. You have people that worked on Hillary Clinton’s foundation. They’re all — I don’t mean Democrats, I mean like the real deal.” (Trump, interview with Fox News, April 26, 2018)

Fact Check: Trump claim that Mueller team is made up of Clinton supporters: Three Pinocchios

120. …who went to her Election Night event…

Trump also referenced a Wall Street Journal story that noted that one member of Mueller’s team went to the Election Night event for Clinton. “But you have a group of investigators that are all Democrats. In some cases, they went to the Hillary Clinton celebration that turned out to be a funeral.” (Trump, press remarks, May 4, 2018)

121. …and have other conflicts of interest.

And again, Trump has claimed unspecified conflicts of interest among the people he views as his enemies. “A total WITCH HUNT with massive conflicts of interest!” (Trump, tweet, March 19, 2018) “This is the most biased group of people. These people have the biggest conflicts of interest I’ve ever seen.” (Trump, press remarks, April 9, 2018) “The 13 Angry Democrats in charge of the Russian Witch Hunt are starting to find out that there is a Court System in place that actually protects people from injustice…and just wait ‘till the Courts get to see your unrevealed Conflicts of Interest!” (Trump, tweet, May 7, 2018) “When will the 13 Angry Democrats (& those who worked for President O), reveal their disqualifying Conflicts of Interest? It’s been a long time now! Will they be indelibly written into the Report along with the fact that the only Collusion is with the Dems, Justice, FBI & Russia?” (Trump, tweet, May 26, 2018)

122. They have found no evidence of collusion…

Trump has argued that the fact that no charges have been brought specifically on the issue of working with Russia, that proves Mueller’s team has found no evidence of collusion. “I guess the collusion now is dead because everyone found after a year of study there’s been absolutely no collusion, there’s been no collusion between us and the Russians.” (Trump, press remarks, Jan. 6, 2018) “President Donald J. Trump has been fully briefed on this matter and is glad to see the Special Counsel’s investigation further indicates—that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump campaign and Russia and that the outcome of the election was not changed or affected.” (Unsigned, White House statement, Feb. 16, 2018) “It’s gone on for over a year. They found no evidence of collusion and still strongly believe that it’s a witch hunt.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, May 17, 2018) “They found no collusion whatsoever with Russia. The reason they found it is there was no collusion at all. No collusion. … Again, they found nothing. And in finding nothing, that’s a big statement.” (Trump, press remarks, April 9, 2018)

123. …and no tapes of Trump people colluding…

At least one time, he raised the bar to claim that investigators would need to find tapes showing collusion. “With 4 months looking at Russia…under a magnifying glass, they have zero ‘tapes’ of T people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction. I should be given apology! (Trump, tweet, June 26, 2017)

124. …and collusion isn’t even a crime…

Trump, who has helped make the word “collusion” the catchphrase for the investigation, has then pivoted to arguing that it is not, in fact, a crime. “I watched Alan Dershowitz the other day, he said, No. 1, there is no collusion, No. 2, collusion is not a crime, but even if it was a crime, there was no collusion. And he said that very strongly. He said there was no collusion. And he has studied this thing very closely. I’ve seen him a number of times. There is no collusion, and even if there was, it’s not a crime.” (Trump, interview with New York Times, Dec. 28, 2017) “So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were ‘leaked’ to the media. No questions on Collusion. Oh, I see…you have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed, and an investigation begun with illegally leaked classified information. Nice!” (Trump, tweet, May 1, 2018) “So now the Probe says OK, what else is there? How about Obstruction for a made up, phony crime.” (Trump, tweet, May 7, 2018) “Every time people talk about this phony Russia collusion — collusion doesn’t even have legal significance — every time it’s written by responsible people, every time they talk, they are talking about the 2016 election.” (Kellyanne Conway, interview with Fox News, May 29, 2018) “Collusion is not a crime. And so the fact of the matter is that we’re a long way away yet from having anything to talk about here.” (Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, interview, July 29, 2018) “I mean that just — four months, they are not going to be colluding about Russians which I’m not I don’t even know if that’s a crime, colluding about Russians.” (Giuliani, interview, July 30, 2018) “I’ve been sitting here looking at the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime. Collusion is not a crime.” (Giuliani, interview, July 30, 2018) “It’s a very, very familiar lawyers’ argument that the alternative, my client didn’t do it and even if he did it, it’s not a crime.” (Giuliani, interview, July 20, 3018)

Read More: How President Trump’s Defense Went From ‘No Collusion’ With Russia to ‘Collusion Is Not a Crime’

125. …(the real crime was the hacking)…

You start analyzing the crime. The hacking is the crime. But the president didn’t hack. He didn’t pay for the hacking.” (Giuliani, interview, July 30, 2018)

126. …which is why they’re looking at obstruction of justice…

And he’s argued that any charges of obstruction of justice would only come because Mueller has not found collusion. “They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice” (Trump, tweet, June 15, 2017) “This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 3, 2018) “The Russia Witch Hunt is rapidly losing credibility. House Intelligence Committee found No Collusion, Coordination or anything else with Russia. So now the Probe says OK, what else is there? How about Obstruction for a made up, phony crime. There is no O, it’s called Fighting Back” (Trump, tweet, May 7, 2018) “Oh, I see, there was no Russian Collusion, so now they look for obstruction on the no Russian Collusion.” (Trump, tweet, June 17, 2018)

127. …which is just another name for fighting back…

He’s even questioned whether obstruction of justice would really be a crime. “So much Fake News about what is going on in the White House. Very calm and calculated with a big focus on open and fair trade with China, the coming North Korea meeting and, of course, the vicious gas attack in Syria. Feels great to have Bolton & Larry K on board. I (we) are doing things that nobody thought possible, despite the never ending and corrupt Russia Investigation, which takes tremendous time and focus. No Collusion or Obstruction (other than I fight back), so now they do the Unthinkable, and RAID a lawyers office for information! BAD!” (Trump, tweet, April 11, 2018) “The Russia Witch Hunt is rapidly losing credibility. House Intelligence Committee found No Collusion, Coordination or anything else with Russia. So now the Probe says OK, what else is there? How about Obstruction for a made up, phony crime. There is no O, it’s called Fighting Back” (Trump, tweet, May 7, 2018)

128. …and a setup…

“There was no Collusion (it is a Hoax) and there is no Obstruction of Justice (that is a setup & trap). What there is is Negotiations going on with North Korea over Nuclear War, Negotiations going on with China over Trade Deficits, Negotiations on NAFTA, and much more. Witch Hunt!” (Trump, tweet, May 2, 2018) “They are a group of 13 highly partisan Democrats that make up the Mueller team — excluding him — [who] are trying very, very hard to frame him, to get him in trouble when he hasn’t done anything wrong.” (Giuliani, investment conference, June 6, 2018)

129. …and a trap.

“I would hope that a fair-minded office of the special counsel would approach it in a dutiful way consistent with precedent, and it wouldn’t be a mere perjury trap.” (Ty Cobb, interview with CBS News, Jan. 17, 2018) “There was no Collusion (it is a Hoax) and there is no Obstruction of Justice (that is a setup &trap). What there is is Negotiations going on with North Korea over Nuclear War, Negotiations going on with China over Trade Deficits, Negotiations on NAFTA, and much more. Witch Hunt!” (Trump, tweet, May 2, 2018) “What they’re really trying to do is trap him into perjury, and we’re not suckers.” (Giuliani, interview with Fox News, May 3, 2018) “Why do they even need an interview with the president if it isn’t to try to trap him into perjury, which is what the judge in the Manafort case has said about that. They basically are trapping people into perjury.” (Giuliani, interview with CNN, May 18, 2018) Trump could be “walking into a trap” without more information from prosecutors. (Giuliani, interview with the Wall Street Journal, May 20, 2018)

130. The investigations are a waste of taxpayer money…

“The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?” (Trump, tweet, May 8, 2017) “It is now commonly agreed, after many months of COSTLY looking, that there was NO collusion between Russia and Trump. Was collusion with HC!” (Trump, tweet, Oct. 27, 2017) “When you look at the committees, whether it’s the Senate or the House, everybody — my worst enemies, they walk out, they say, ‘There is no collusion but we’ll continue to look.’ They’re spending millions and millions of dollars.” (Trump, press remarks, Dec. 15, 2017) “At what point does this soon to be $20,000,000 Witch Hunt, composed of 13 Angry and Heavily Conflicted Democrats and two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years, STOP! They have found no Collussion with Russia, No Obstruction, but they aren’t looking at the corruption…” (Trump, tweet, May 20, 2018) “If you want to talk about wasting tax money, talk about the entire investigation as a whole with this president and collusion. That is a waste of taxpayer money.” (Huckabee Sanders, interview with CNN, Jan. 31, 2018) “We’d urge the Justice Department to re-evaluate, to acknowledge they made a mistake. It’s a waste of $20 million of the taxpayers’ money. The whole thing is already a waste of money.” (Giuliani, interview with AP, May 25, 2018) “A.P. has just reported that the Russian Hoax Investigation has now cost our government over $17 million, and going up fast. No Collusion, except by the Democrats!” (Trump, tweet, June 1, 2018) “When is Bob Mueller going to list his Conflicts of Interest? Why has it taken so long? Will they be listed at the top of his $22,000,000 Report.” (Trump, tweet, June 28, 2018)

Fact Check: Trump claim that Mueller probe is costing $20 million: Half True

131. …and a distraction from running the country…

“The MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the Witch Hunt. Many new jobs, high business enthusiasm,…” (Trump, tweet, June 18, 2017) “There is no collusion — that’s it. And we got to get back to running a country.” (Trump, press remarks, Dec. 15, 2017) “They continue to just go forward. And here we are talking about Syria and we’re talking about a lot of serious things.” (Trump, press remarks, April 9, 2018) “Sorry, I’ve got to start focusing my energy on North Korea Nuclear, bad Trade Deals, VA Choice, the Economy, rebuilding the Military, and so much more, and not on the Rigged Russia Witch Hunt that should be investigating Clinton/Russia/FBI/Justice/Obama/Comey/Lynch etc.” (Trump, tweet, May 29, 2018)

132. …that are hurting the country…

“Well, I think it’s bad for the country. The only thing that bothers me about timing, I think it’s a very bad thing for the country. Because it makes the country look bad, it makes the country look very bad, and it puts the country in a very bad position. So the sooner it’s worked out, the better it is for the country.” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, Dec. 28, 2017) “Major Wall Street Journal opinion piece today talking about the Russian Witch Hunt and the disgrace that it is. So many people hurt, so bad for our country – a total sham!” (Trump, tweet, June 23, 2018) “It’s very sad what’s happening to our country because of this. We have never done better in so many ways, including economically.” (Trump, interview, July 16, 2018) “It’s a vicious witch hunt. And you know what? It’s very bad for our country. Very, very bad for our country.” (Trump, interview, July 18, 2018)

133. …and the economy…

The stock market dropped a lot today as soon as they heard the noise of this nonsense that’s going on.” (Trump, press remarks, April 9, 2018)

134. …and young people who just want to do good…

“Who’s going to give back the young and beautiful lives (and others) that have been devastated and destroyed by the phony Russia Collusion Witch Hunt? They journeyed down to Washington, D.C., with stars in their eyes and wanting to help our nation…They went back home in tatters!” (Trump, tweet, May 27, 2018) “The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn’t tell me he was going to recuse himself…I would have quickly picked someone else. So much time and money wasted, so many lives ruined…and Sessions knew better than most that there was No Collusion!” (Trump, tweet, June 5, 2018) “Major Wall Street Journal opinion piece today talking about the Russian Witch Hunt and the disgrace that it is. So many people hurt, so bad for our country – a total sham!” (Trump, tweet, June 23, 2018)

135. …and they could improperly affect the midterm elections.

“Is this Phony Witch Hunt going to go on even longer so it wrongfully impacts the Mid-Term Elections, which is what the Democrats always intended? Republicans better get tough and smart before it is too late!” (Trump, tweet, May 7, 2018) “I think he thinks that the idea that this narrative continues to be driven; the fact that a year and a half later, after spending most all of your time, every single day, looking into this and still finding nothing; the fact that we’re still talking about it will — has the potential to impact the 2018 election.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, May 7, 2018) “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!” (Trump, tweet, June 4, 2018)

136. It’s even caused the FBI to miss a school shooter.

After it was revealed that the FBI had received a tip about Parkland school shooter that it did not act on, Trump blamed the Russia investigation. “Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 17, 2018)

137. Public opinion has turned against the investigation.

Trump has also noted that public opinion has shifted somewhat against the Mueller investigation. “.@FoxNews Poll numbers plummet on the Democrat inspired and paid for Russian Witch Hunt. With all of the bias, lying and hate by the investigators, people want the investigators investigated. Much more will come out. A total scam and excuse for the Dems losing the Election!” (Trump, tweet, June 23, 2018) “Public opinion has turned strongly against the Rigged Witch Hunt and the ‘Special’ Counsel because the public understands that there was no Collusion with Russia (so ridiculous), that the two FBI lovers were a fraud against our Nation & that the only Collusion was with the Dems!” (Trump, tweet, July 7, 2018)

138. It’s hurting our relationship with Russia.

During a summit with Putin in July of 2018, Trump also argued that the probe was hurting the U.S. relationship with Russia. “But I do feel that we have both made some mistakes. I think that the — the probe is a disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us apart, it’s kept us separated. … And it has had a negative impact upon the relationship of the two largest nuclear powers in the world. We have 90 percent of nuclear power between the two countries. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous what’s going on with the probe.” (Trump, press conference, July 16, 2018) “I think that getting along with Russia is a good thing, but it’s possible we won’t. I think we’re greatly hampered by this whole witch-hunt that’s going on in the United States, the Russian witch-hunt, the rigged situation. … I would say that, yes, I think it hurts our relationship with Russia. I actually think it hurts our relationship with a lot of countries.” (Trump, interview, July 15, 2018) “But when you see this thing going on, and I will tell you, it’s driven a wedge between us and Russia. Maybe we’ve just knock down that wedge but it has driven a wedge. … And they drove a phony wedge, just a phony witch hunt. A rigged deal. … Ninety percent of the nuclear power in the world between these two nations, and we’ve had a phony witch hunt deal drive us apart.” (Trump, interview, July 16, 2018)

139. Witch hunt!

Trump has also repeatedly called the Russia investigation a “witch hunt.” “Well, I respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch hunt.” (Trump, press conference, May 18, 2017) ” He thought Jared did a great job and was very glad that he was able to go through that process and lay everything out and I think show the members of that committee, as well as everybody else, what a witch hunt and hoax this whole thing is.” (Huckabee Sanders, press remarks, July 24, 2017) “It’s a total witch hunt. I’ve been saying it for a long time. … This is a pure and simple witch hunt.” (Trump, press remarks, April 9, 2018) “A total WITCH HUNT with massive conflicts of interest!” (Trump, tweet, March 19, 2018) “A complete Witch Hunt!” (Trump, tweet, April 22, 2018) “Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. ‘No evidence’ that the Trump Campaign ‘colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia.’ Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia- Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!” (Trump, tweet, April 27, 2018) “This is a witch hunt like nobody has ever seen before.” (Trump, press remarks, May 4, 2018) “They found no evidence of collusion and still strongly believe that it’s a witch hunt.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, May 17, 2018) “The President has repeated the line that it’s a witch hunt because that’s what it is.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, May 29, 2018) “The greatest Witch Hunt in political history!” (Trump, tweet, June 5, 2018) “And if anybody watched Peter Strzok testify over the last couple of days — and I was in Brussels watching it — it was a disgrace to the FBI, it was a disgrace to our country, and you would say that was a total witch hunt.” (Trump, press conference, July 16, 2018)

Other players

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) talks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol May 16, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images

140. James Comey is a liar.

“James Comey’s Memos are Classified, I did not Declassify them. They belong to our Government! Therefore, he broke the law! Additionally, he totally made up many of the things he said I said, and he is already a proven liar and leaker. Where are Memos on Clinton, Lynch & others?” (Trump, tweet, April 21, 2018) “Look, Comey is a leaker, and he’s a liar and not only on this stuff. He’s been leaking for years. He’s probably been using his friend, the so-called professor who now turns out to have FBI clearance, which he never said. He even lied about that, because he never said that in Congress.” (Trump, interview with Fox News, April 26, 2018) “Is everybody believing what is going on. James Comey can’t define what a leak is. He illegally leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION but doesn’t understand what he did or how serious it is. He lied all over the place to cover it up. He’s either very sick or very dumb. Remember sailor!” (Trump, tweet, April 27, 2018) “Could we accept a situation in which they are telling us basically we believe Comey, who is now a pathological liar, as opposed to Donald Trump? The answer to that is no.” (Giuliani, interview with Fox News, May 2, 2018)

141. Andrew McCabe is a liar.

“DOJ just issued the McCabe report – which is a total disaster. He LIED! LIED! LIED! McCabe was totally controlled by Comey – McCabe is Comey!! No collusion, all made up by this den of thieves and lowlifes!” (Trump, tweet, April 13, 2018)

142. George Papadopoulos is a liar.

Trump also tagged Papadopoulos as a liar, presumably based on the fact that he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. “It has nothing to do with the activities of the campaign. It has to do with his failure to tell the truth. That doesn’t have anything to do with the campaign or the campaign’s activities.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, Oct. 30, 2017) “The Fake News is working overtime. As Paul Manaforts lawyer said, there was ‘no collusion’ and events mentioned took place long before he came to the campaign. Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar. Check the DEMS!” (Trump tweets, Oct. 31, 2017)

143. Mark Warner is a liar.

“Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper! Adam leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information. Must be stopped!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 5, 2018) “Wow! –Senator Mark Warner got caught having extensive contact with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch. Warner did not want a ‘paper trail’ on a ‘private’ meeting (in London) he requested with Steele of fraudulent Dossier fame. All tied into Crooked Hillary.” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 8, 2018) “Why is Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), perhaps in a near drunken state, claiming he has information that only he and Bob Mueller, the leader of the 13 Angry Democrats on a Witch Hunt, knows? Isn’t this highly illegal. Is it being investigated?” (Trump, tweet, June 25, 2018)

144. Adam Schiff is a liar.

“Sleazy Adam Schiff, the totally biased Congressman looking into ‘Russia,’ spends all of his time on television pushing the Dem loss excuse!” (Trump, tweet, July 24, 2017) “Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper! Adam leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information. Must be stopped!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 5, 2018) “Finally, Liddle’ Adam Schiff, the leakin’ monster of no control, is now blaming the Obama Administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 Election. He is finally right about something. Obama was President, knew of the threat, and did nothing. Thank you Adam!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 18, 2018) “‘Congressman Schiff omitted and distorted key facts’ @FoxNews So, what else is new. He is a total phony!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 24, 2018)

145. John Brennan is a liar.

“‘John Brennan is panicking. He has disgraced himself, he has disgraced the Country, he has disgraced the entire Intelligence Community. He is the one man who is largely responsible for the destruction of American’s faith in the Intelligence Community and in some people at the top of the FBI. Brennan started this entire debacle about President Trump. We now know that Brennan had detailed knowledge of the (phony) Dossier…he knows about the Dossier, he denies knowledge of the Dossier, he briefs the Gang of 8 on the Hill about the Dossier, which they then used to start an investigation about Trump. It is that simple. This guy is the genesis of this whole Debacle. This was a Political hit job, this was not an Intelligence Investigation. Brennan has disgraced himself, he’s worried about staying out of Jail.’ Dan Bongino” (Trump, tweet, May 21, 2018) “So now it is reported that the Democrats, who have excoriated Carter Page about Russia, don’t want him to testify. He blows away their case against him & now wants to clear his name by showing “the false or misleading testimony by James Comey, John Brennan…” Witch Hunt!” (Trump, tweet, May 31, 2017) “Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 5, 2018) “‘John Brennan, no single figure in American history has done more to discredit the intelligence community than this liar. Not only is he a liar, he’s a liar about being a liar.’ Dan Bongino on @foxandfriends” (Trump, tweet, June 2, 2018) “I have no confidence in a guy like Brennan. I think he’s a total low-life.” (Trump, interview, July 18, 2018)

146. James Clapper is a liar.

“James Clapper, who famously got caught lying to Congress, is now an authority on Donald Trump. Will he show you his beautiful letter to me?” (Trump, tweet, Aug. 24, 2017) “Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 5, 2018) “House Intelligence Committee votes to release final report. FINDINGS: (1) No evidence provided of Collusion between Trump Campaign & Russia. (2) The Obama Administrations Post election response was insufficient. (3) Clapper provided inconsistent testimony on media contacts.” (Trump, tweet, March 23, 2018) “‘Clapper lied about (fraudulent) Dossier leaks to CNN’ @foxandfriends FoxNews He is a lying machine who now works for Fake News CNN.” (Trump, tweet, April 28, 2018) “@foxandfriends “New Bombshell in the Obama Spying Scandal. Did other Agencies SPY on Trump Campaign?” Even Clapper, worlds dumbest former Intelligence Head, who has the problem of lying a lot, used the word SPY when describing the illegal activities!” (Trump, tweet, May 23, 2018) “I have no confidence in Clapper. You know, Clapper wrote me a beautiful letter when I first went to office, and it was really nice. And then, all of a sudden, he’s gone haywire because they got to him and they probably got him to say things that maybe he doesn’t even mean.” (Trump, interview, July 18, 2018)

147. Rod Rosenstein has conflicts of interest.

Trump has argued that the deputy attorney general, who is in charge of the Mueller probe, has a conflict of interest because he wrote a letter recommending that Comey be fired and signed off an extension of the FISA warrant on Carter Page. “Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama. Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter). No Collusion, so they go crazy!” (Trump, tweet, April 11, 2018) “Then Rosenstein becomes extremely angry because of Comey’s Wednesday press conference, where he said that he would do the same thing he did a year ago with Hillary Clinton, and Rosenstein became extremely angry at that because, as a prosecutor, he knows that Comey did the wrong thing. Totally wrong thing. And he gives me a letter, O.K., he gives me a letter about Comey. And by the way, that was a tough letter, O.K. Now, perhaps I would have fired Comey anyway, and it certainly didn’t hurt to have the letter, O.K. But he gives me a very strong letter, and now he’s involved in the case. Well, that’s a conflict of interest.” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, July 19, 2017)

148. Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were biased.

Trump has also raised questions about two FBI agents who have become the center of multiple conspiracy theories on the internet. “BREAKING: top FBI investigator for Mueller–PETER STRZOK–busted sending political text messages bashing Trump & praising Hillary during the 2016 campaign. STRZOK actually LED the Hillary email probe & recommended clearing her; then was tapped to SUPERVISE the Trump Russia probe!” (Trump, tweet, Dec. 2, 2017) “Report: ‘ANTI-TRUMP FBI AGENT LED CLINTON EMAIL PROBE’ Now it all starts to make sense!” (Trump, tweet, Dec. 3, 2017) “In one of the biggest stories in a long time, the FBI now says it is missing five months worth of lovers Strzok-Page texts, perhaps 50,000, and all in prime time. Wow!” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 23, 2018) “Where are the 50,000 important text messages between FBI lovers Lisa Page and Peter Strzok? Blaming Samsung!” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 23, 2018) “NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 7, 2018) “And then you look at the phony Lisa Page and Strzok and the memos back and forth, and the FBI.” (Trump, interview with Fox News, April 26, 2018) “Lisa Page, who may hold the record for the most Emails in the shortest period of time (to her Lover, Peter S), and attorney Baker, are out at the FBI as part of the Probers getting caught? Why is Peter S still there? What a total mess. Our Country has to get back to Business!” (Trump, tweet, May 7, 2018) “Wow, Strzok-Page, the incompetent & corrupt FBI lovers, have texts referring to a counter-intelligence operation into the Trump Campaign dating way back to December, 2015. SPYGATE is in full force! Is the Mainstream Media interested yet? Big stuff!” (Trump, tweet, June 5, 2018) “Peter Strzok worked as the leader of the Rigged Witch Hunt for a long period of time – he got it started and was only fired because the gig was up.” (Trump, tweet, June 28, 2018) “‘The most profound question of our era: Was there a conspiracy in the Obama Department of Justice and the FBI to prevent Donald Trump from becoming President of the U.S., and was Strzok at the core of the conspiracy?‘ Judge Andrew Napolitano” (Trump, tweet, June 26, 2018) “He is a disgrace to our country, he’s a disgrace to the great FBI. A disgrace. And how he is still being paid is beyond belief.” (Trump, interview, July 16, 2018)

149. Deep state!

Trump has also borrowed a phrase from authoritarian regimes which refers to a supposed resistance within the government. “Charles McCullough, the respected fmr Intel Comm Inspector General, said public was misled on Crooked Hillary Emails. ‘Emails endangered National Security.’ Why aren’t our deep State authorities looking at this? Rigged & corrupt? @TuckerCarlson @seanhannity” (Trump, tweet, Nov. 28, 2017) “The House of Representatives seeks contempt citations(?) against the JusticeDepartment and the FBI for withholding key documents and an FBI witness which could shed light on surveillance of associates of Donald Trump. Big stuff. Deep State. Give this information NOW! @FoxNews” (Trump, tweet, Nov. 29, 2017) “Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 2, 2018) “Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State. They go after Phony Collusion with Russia, a made up Scam, and end up getting caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before! What goes around, comes around!” (Trump, tweet, May 23, 2018)

The Constitution

A member of Congress holds up a pocket US Constitution as members of Congress hold a press conference on June 20, 2017.
SAUL LOEB—AFP/Getty Images

150. The president cannot commit obstruction of justice.

Trump’s lawyers have argued that he can’t commit obstruction of justice since he oversees the nation’s prosecutors. “It remains our position that the President’s actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.” (Dowd and Sekulow, letter to Robert Mueller, Jan. 29, 2018) “You might want to say he has very broad powers and somebody who wants to question that under Article Two has a big, big burden of showing that there is no innocent explanation for what he did.” (Giuliani, interview with NBC News, June 3, 2018)

151. He can’t be subpoenaed…

They’ve also argued that executive powers mean he can’t be subpoenaed by prosecutors. “In no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted. … I don’t know how you can indict while he’s in office. No matter what it is. … If he shot James Comey, he’d be impeached the next day. Impeach him, and then you can do whatever you want to do to him.” (Giuliani, interview with HuffPost, June 3, 2018) “Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department wrote a memo at the conclusion of the Clinton thing, the Clinton administration, and said you cannot indict a sitting president nor can you compel process.” (Giuliani, interview with ABC News, June 3, 2018) “That’s the part of it I agree with the most. Can’t be indicted, can’t be questioned because it interferes with the presidency. And we think we also have a very good argument in a practical sense.” (Giuliani, interview with NBC News, June 3, 2018)

152. …or indicted…

And they’ve argued that he can’t be indicted. “In no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted. … I don’t know how you can indict while he’s in office. No matter what it is. … If he shot James Comey, he’d be impeached the next day. Impeach him, and then you can do whatever you want to do to him.” (Giuliani, interview with HuffPost, June 3, 2018) “Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department wrote a memo at the conclusion of the Clinton thing, the Clinton administration, and said you cannot indict a sitting president nor can you compel process.” (Giuliani, interview with ABC News, June 3, 2018) “That’s the part of it I agree with the most. Can’t be indicted, can’t be questioned because it interferes with the presidency. And we think we also have a very good argument in a practical sense.” (Giuliani, interview with NBC News, June 3, 2018)

153. …the only constitutional remedy for a crime is impeachment…

Instead, they have said that the only constitutional remedy to presidential misbehavior is impeachment by the House of Representatives, leading to a trial in the Senate. “In no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted. … I don’t know how you can indict while he’s in office. No matter what it is. … If he shot James Comey, he’d be impeached the next day. Impeach him, and then you can do whatever you want to do to him.” (Giuliani, interview with HuffPost, June 3, 2018)

154. …which Democrats will do, even if Trump did nothing wrong.

Trump has argued that Democrats would impeach him regardless of the facts. “We have to keep the House because if we listen to Maxine Waters, she’s going around saying ‘We will impeach him!’ ‘We will impeach him.’ Then people said, ‘He hasn’t done anything wrong,’ … Oh, that doesn’t matter, we will impeach the president.'” (Trump, campaign rally, April 28, 2018)

155. He could even end the Mueller investigation…

Trump’s lawyers have asserted as part of a broad view of his presidential powers that he could order the investigation ended. “And when Nixon came along [inaudible] was pretty brutal, and out of courtesy, the F.B.I. started reporting to the Department of Justice. But there was nothing official, there was nothing from Congress. There was nothing — anything. But the F.B.I. person really reports directly to the president of the United States, which is interesting. You know, which is interesting.” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, July 19, 2017) “I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department. But for purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter.” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, Dec. 28, 2017) “It remains our position that the President’s actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.” (Dowd and Sekulow, letter to Robert Mueller, Jan. 29, 2018) “Because of the fact that they have this witch hunt going on with people in the Justice Department that shouldn’t be there — they have a witch hunt against the President of the United States going on — I’ve taken the position — and I don’t have to take this position, and maybe I’ll change — that I will not be involved with the Justice Department. I will wait until this is over.” (Trump, interview with Fox News, April 26, 2018) “Does this mean he can terminate any federal investigation? “Well, yeah. That, that is pretty clear. I mean, the-the-the power of the attorney general, he’s a presidential appointee. … I’m saying constitutionally it sure looks that way. … The Department of Justice is a creature of the president. I know based on presidential rulings, meaning the discretion of the president, Justice Department is given a certain amount of independence. I am tremendously in favor of that. But that’s all the president’s decision.” (Giuliani, interview with NBC News, June 3, 2018) “I have tried to stay uninvolved with the Department of Justice and FBI (although I do not legally have to), because of the now totally discredited and very expensive Witch Hunt currently going on.” (Trump, tweet, June 25, 2018)

156. …fire Mueller…

They’ve even said he could fire Mueller, directly or indirectly. “Q: Is the President considering whether or not he will fire or seek to have Robert Mueller fired as the Special Counsel? SANDERS: While the President has the right to, he has no intention to do so.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, June 13, 2017) “Q: Does the President believe he has the power to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller? Does he believe that’s within his power? SANDERS: Certainly believes he has the power to do so. … Again, we’ve been advised that the President certainly has the power to make that decision.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, April 10, 2018) “Q: Why don’t you just fire Mueller? … THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on. We’ll see what happens. But I think it’s really a sad situation when you look at what happened. And many people have said, ‘You should fire him.‘” (Trump, press remarks, April 9, 2018) “If I wanted to fire Robert Mueller in December, as reported by the Failing New York Times, I would have fired him. Just more Fake News from a biased newspaper!” (Trump, tweet, April 12, 2018)

157. …or pardon himself, if he wanted to.

And they’ve argued that he could pardon himself, a view that runs afoul of English common law traditions that no person should be the judge of their own case. “While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us. FAKE NEWS” (Trump, tweet, July 22, 2017) “It remains our position that the President’s actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.” (Dowd and Sekulow, letter to Robert Mueller, Jan. 29, 2018) “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!” (Trump, tweet, June 4, 2018) “Yes, I do have an absolute right to pardon myself, but I’ll never have to do it because I didn’t do anything wrong and everybody knows it.” (Trump, press remarks, June 8, 2018)

158. Anyway, the real scandal is that Mueller’s probe is unconstitutional.

And finally Trump has argued that the special counsel itself is unconstitutional. “The appointment of the Special Counsel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Despite that, we play the game because I, unlike the Democrats, have done nothing wrong!” (Trump, tweet, June 4, 2018) ” Look, scholars have raised a number of questions about the legality of the Special Counsel process. The President has made his views about the Special Counsel very clear.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, June 4, 2018)

Paul Manafort’s past dealings

Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, arrives to the U.S. Courthouse for a bond hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017
Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg /Getty Images

159. Paul Manafort is a good man….

“But Paul Manafort, who’s a good man also, by the way … That’s Mr. Manafort, who’s, by the way — who’s, by the way, a respected man. He’s a respected man.” (Trump, press conference, Feb. 16, 2017) “I’ve always known him to be a good man. … a very decent man.” (Trump, press remarks, Aug. 10, 2017) “I’ve always found Paul Manafort to be a very nice man. And I found him to be an honorable person.” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, Dec. 28, 2017) “Now, Paul Manafort is a nice guy.” (Trump, speech to the NRA, May 4, 2018) “With Paul Manafort, who clearly is a nice man. You look at what’s going on with him. It’s like Al Capone.” (Trump, interview, July 16, 2018)

160. …who previously worked for a lot of high-profile Republicans…

“Paul was hired, as I said, to count delegates. That’s why he was brought in, as he had been for George W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Bob Dole. He did his job. That’s what he was there for.” (Spicer, press briefing, March 22, 2017) “Paul worked for Ronald Reagan. His firm worked for John McCain, worked for Bob Dole, worked for many Republicans for far longer than he worked for me.” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, Dec. 28, 2017) “Paul Manafort came into the campaign very late and was with us for a short period of time (he represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole & many others over the years), but we should have been told that Comey and the boys were doing a number on him, and he wouldn’t have been hired!” (Trump, tweet, June 3, 2018) “Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who has represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns.” (Trump, tweet, June 15, 2018) “Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders.” (Trump, tweet, Aug. 1, 2018)

161. …who came to the campaign late…

Paul Manafort came into the campaign very late and was with us for a short period of time (he represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole & many others over the years), but we should have been told that Comey and the boys were doing a number on him, and he wouldn’t have been hired!” (Trump, tweet, June 3, 2018)

162. … and only worked for a short time…

“Paul Manafort was replaced long before the election took place. He was only there for a short period of time.” (Trump, press conference, Feb. 16, 2017) “Obviously there’s been discussion of Paul Manafort who played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time.” (Spicer, press briefing, March 20, 2017) “In total, he was involved with the campaign for a total of just under five months.” (Spicer, press briefing, March 22, 2017) “You pull out a gentleman who was employed by someone for five months and talk about a client that he had 10 years ago?” (Spicer, press briefing, March 23, 2017) “He was with the campaign, as you know, for a very short period of time, relatively short period of time.” (Trump, press remarks, Aug. 10, 2017) “Paul only worked for me for a few months.” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, Dec. 28, 2017) “He worked with me for what, a couple of months?” (Trump, speech to the NRA, May 4, 2018) “Paul Manafort came into the campaign very late and was with us for a short period of time (he represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole & many others over the years), but we should have been told that Comey and the boys were doing a number on him, and he wouldn’t have been hired!” (Trump, tweet, June 3, 2018) “Manafort had nothing to do with my campaign.” (Trump, press remarks, June 15, 2018) “He worked for me for a very short time.” (Trump, tweet, Aug. 1, 2018)

163. …just to run the convention….

“I know I commented on this the other day, and clearly I should have been more precise with respect to Paul’s role. So let me clarify this and kind of go through the facts. Paul was hired to oversee the campaign’s delegate operation. … Paul was hired, as I said, to count delegates. That’s why he was brought in, as he had been for George W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Bob Dole. He did his job. That’s what he was there for.” (Spicer, press briefing, March 22, 2017)

164. …and was not in charge on Election Day.

Paul Manafort was replaced long before the election took place.” (Trump, press conference, Feb. 16, 2017) “I’m not looking to re-litigate the election or — but I believe Paul was brought on sometime in June, and by the middle of August he was no longer with the campaign, meaning that for the entire final stretch of the general election, he was not involved.” (Spicer, press briefing, March 20, 2017)

165. Everyone knew Manafort had worked for Ukraine…

“But I think he represented the Ukraine or Ukraine government or somebody, but everybody — people knew that. Everybody knew that.” (Trump, press conference, Feb. 16, 2017)

166. …though Trump did not know all about Manafort’s past work.

“No, he did not know … You can think about how many people are involved in a campaign of some sort. And granted, in this campaign it was run lean and mean. But to suggest that everybody knew everybody’s background — did they pay their taxes, how much did they pay, what deductions did they take, who did they work for in the…” (Spicer, press briefing, March 22, 2017)

167. Manafort said he didn’t do it.

“He said that he has absolutely nothing to do and never has with Russia. And he said that very forcefully. I saw his statement. He said it very forcefully. … Now, Manafort has totally denied it. He denied it. Now, people knew that he was a consultant over in that part of the world for a while, but not for Russia.” (Trump, press conference, Feb. 16, 2017)

168. The charges against Manafort are from before his time with the campaign.

“You pull out a gentleman who was employed by someone for five months and talk about a client that he had 10 years ago?” (Spicer, press briefing, March 23, 2017) “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????” (Trump, tweet, Oct. 30, 2017) “We’re not worried about it distracting because it doesn’t have anything to do with us because this is something that is action that took place outside of the campaign or campaign activity.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, Oct. 30, 2017) “The Fake News is working overtime. As Paul Manafort’s lawyer said, there was ‘no collusion’ and events mentioned took place long before he came to the campaign.” (Trump, tweet, Oct. 31, 2017) “None of that information has to do with information related to the Russian government coordination and the campaign of Donald Trump. It’s from years before.” (Trump, speech to the NRA, May 4, 2018) “As only one of two people left who could become President, why wouldn’t the FBI or Department of ‘Justice’ have told me that they were secretly investigating Paul Manafort (on charges that were 10 years old and had been previously dropped) during my campaign? Should have told me!” (Trump, tweet, June 3, 2018) “These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion.” (Trump, tweet, Aug. 1, 2018)

169. The FBI should have told Trump about Manafort’s issues.

“As only one of two people left who could become President, why wouldn’t the FBI or Department of ‘Justice’ have told me that they were secretly investigating Paul Manafort (on charges that were 10 years old and had been previously dropped) during my campaign? Should have told me!” (Trump, tweet, June 3, 2018) “Paul Manafort came into the campaign very late and was with us for a short period of time (he represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole & many others over the years), but we should have been told that Comey and the boys were doing a number on him, and he wouldn’t have been hired!” (Trump, tweet, June 3, 2018) “Why didn’t government tell me that he was under investigation.” (Trump, tweet, Aug. 1, 2018)

170. Anyway, the real scandal is John Podesta.

Trump has also attempted to change the subject to Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. “Why isn’t the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech money to Bill, the Hillary Russian ‘reset,’ praise of Russia by Hillary, or Podesta Russian Company. Trump Russia story is a hoax. #MAGA!” (Trump, tweet, March 27, 2017) “Why doesn’t Fake News talk about Podesta ties to Russia as covered by @FoxNews or money from Russia to Clinton – sale of Uranium?” (Trump, tweet, March 28, 2017) “What about all of the Clinton ties to Russia, including Podesta Company, Uranium deal, Russian Reset, big dollar speeches etc.” (Trump, tweet, July 22, 2017) “The only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!” (Trump tweet, Feb. 17, 2018)

Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, on Apr. 13, 2018.
Yana Paskova—Getty Images

171. Michael Cohen is a good man…

Trump praised his former personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, when he began facing legal trouble. “So I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys — a good man.” (Trump, press remarks, April 9, 2018) “Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected.” (Trump, tweet, April 21, 2018) “I can tell you he’s a good guy.” (Trump, interview with Fox News, April 26, 2018) “I expect that he is going to cooperate with him. I don’t think they’ll be happy with him because he doesn’t have any incriminating evidence about the president or himself. The man is an honest, honorable lawyer.” (Giuliani, interview, May 6, 2018)

172. …never mind, he’s actually a liar…

But after Cohen started indicating that he was going to share damaging information about Trump, the tone changed. “I expected something like this from Cohen. He’s been lying all week. He’s been lying for years. The tapes that we have demonstrate any number of very serious lies by him back a year and a half ago. … There’s nobody that I know that knows him that hasn’t warned me that if his back is up against a wall, he’ll lie like crazy, because he’s lied all his life.” (Giuliani, interview, July 26, 2018)

173. …who is lying to get out of his own legal trouble…

Trump then argued that Cohen was trying to get out of legal trouble related to an investigation into his taxi business. “There’s nobody that I know that knows him that hasn’t warned me that if his back is up against a wall, he’ll lie like crazy, because he’s lied all his life. … You put him under this kind of pressure, and what’s his history been? His history has been lying under pressure. … A person who is found to be an incredible liar who’s got a tremendous motive to lie now because he’s got nothing to give, says it all of a sudden now at the 11th hour.” (Giuliani, interview, July 26, 2018) “Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?).” (Trump, tweet, July 27, 2018)

174. …who secretly taped his clients, a disbarrable offense…

“The tapes that we have demonstrate any number of very serious lies by him back a year and a half ago, including his fooling people, hiding tape recordings, telling them they weren’t recorded, lying to their face, breaking faith with them, taping his clients, which is a disbarrable offense.” (Giuliani, interview, July 26, 2018)

175. …who had nothing to do with the campaign…

Trump has also kept Cohen at arm’s length from the campaign. “Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA. These agreements are very common among celebrities and people of wealth. In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels). The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair, despite already having signed a detailed letter admitting that there was no affair. Prior to its violation by Ms. Clifford and her attorney, this was a private agreement. Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll in this transaction.” (Trump, tweet, May 3, 2018)

176. …and who did very little legal work for Trump.

And he tried to minimize the amount of work that he did for Trump. “Well, he has a percentage of my overall legal work — a tiny, tiny little fraction. But, Michael would represent me and represent me on some things. He represents me — like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal he represented me.” (Trump, interview with Fox News, April 26, 2018)

177. Reporters are trying to destroy him.

“The New York Times and a third rate reporter named Maggie Haberman, known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don’t speak to and have nothing to do with, are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will ‘flip.’ They use non-existent ‘sources’ and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael, a fine person with a wonderful family. Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected. Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!” (Trump, tweet, April 21, 2018)

178. His legal troubles have nothing to do with Trump.

“And I don’t know his business, but this doesn’t have to do with me. Michael is a businessman. He’s got a business. He also practices law. I would say probably the big thing is his business, and they’re looking at something having to do with his business. I have nothing to do with his business.” (Trump, interview with Fox News, April 26, 2018) “This has nothing to do with us.” (Giuliani, interview with USA Today, May 9, 2018) “I think that would be up to those individuals who make the decision to hire someone, just the same way that the companies that you work for make the decision to determine whether or not they think that you’re qualified to serve in a position. That’s the decision of an independent company and has nothing to do with the White House.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, May 9, 2018)

179. Anyway, the real scandal is the raid on Cohen’s office.

It’s an attack on our country, in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for.” (Trump, press remarks, April 9, 2018) “Attorney–client privilege is dead!” (Trump, tweet, April 10, 2018) “So much Fake News about what is going on in the White House. Very calm and calculated with a big focus on open and fair trade with China, the coming North Korea meeting and, of course, the vicious gas attack in Syria. Feels great to have Bolton & Larry K on board. I (we) are doing things that nobody thought possible, despite the never ending and corrupt Russia Investigation, which takes tremendous time and focus. No Collusion or Obstruction (other than I fight back), so now they do the Unthinkable, and RAID a lawyers office for information! BAD!” (Trump, tweet, April 11, 2018) “Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past. I have many (too many!) lawyers and they are probably wondering when their offices, and even homes, are going to be raided with everything, including their phones and computers, taken. All lawyers are deflated and concerned!” (Trump, tweet, April 15, 2018)

The news media

President-elect Donald Trump walks through the lobby of the New York Times following a meeting with editors at the paper on November 22, 2016 in New York City.
Spencer Platt—2016 Getty Images

180. The New York Times is failing…

“The Failing New York Times purposely wrote a false story stating that I am unhappy with my legal team on the Russia case and am going to add another lawyer to help out. Wrong. I am VERY happy with my lawyers, John Dowd, Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow.” (Trump, tweet, March 11, 2018) “If I wanted to fire Robert Mueller in December, as reported by the Failing New York Times, I would have fired him. Just more Fake News from a biased newspaper!” (Trump, tweet, April 12, 2018) “Things are really getting ridiculous. The Failing and Crooked (but not as Crooked as Hillary Clinton) @nytimes has done a long & boring story indicating that the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt has found nothing on Russia & me so now they are looking at the rest of the World!” (Trump, tweet, May 20, 2018)

Fact Check: Trump says the New York Times is failing. It’s not.

181. …the Washington Post is a front for Amazon…

“So many stories about me in the @washingtonpost are Fake News. They are as bad as ratings challenged @CNN. Lobbyist for Amazon and taxes?” (Trump, tweet, July 24, 2017) “While we are on the subject, it is reported that the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon. That amounts to Billions of Dollars. The Failing N.Y. Times reports that ‘the size of the company’s lobbying staff has ballooned,’ and that does not include the Fake Washington Post, which is used as a ‘lobbyist’ and should so REGISTER.” (Trump, tweet, March 31, 2018) “The Fake News Washington Post, Amazon’s ‘chief lobbyist,’ has another (of many) phony headlines, ‘Trump Defiant As China Adds Trade Penalties.’ WRONG! Should read, ‘Trump Defiant as U.S. Adds Trade Penalties, Will End Barriers And Massive I.P. Theft.’ Typically bad reporting!” (Trump, tweet, April 5, 2018) “Washington Post employees want to go on strike because Bezos isn’t paying them enough. I think a really long strike would be a great idea. Employees would get more money and we would get rid of Fake News for an extended period of time! Is @WaPo a registered lobbyist?” (Trump, tweet, June 17, 2018)

182. …and CNN has low ratings.

“Fake News CNN is looking at big management changes now that they got caught falsely pushing their phony Russian stories. Ratings way down!” (Trump, tweet, June 27, 2017) “So many stories about me in the @washingtonpost are Fake News. They are as bad as ratings challenged @CNN. Lobbyist for Amazon and taxes?” (Trump, tweet, July 24, 2017) “The Fake News of big ratings loser CNN.” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 18, 2018) “Check out the fact that you can’t get a job at ratings challenged @CNN unless you state that you are totally anti-Trump? Little Jeff Zuker, whose job is in jeopardy, is not having much fun lately. They should clean up and strengthen CNN and get back to honest reporting!” (Trump, tweet, April 3, 2018)

Fact Check: Trump claim that CNN ratings are ‘way down’: Pants on Fire

183. The news media is playing up the Democrats’ narrative on Russia…

“Funny how the failing @nytimes is pushing Dems narrative that Russia is working for me because Putin said ‘Trump is a genius.’ America 1st!” (Trump, tweet, July 27, 2016) “Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the media, in order to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 26, 2017) “Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia! The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!” (Trump, tweet, May 31, 2018)

184. …because it’s biased against Trump…

“Just watched the totally biased and fake news reports of the so-called Russia story on NBC and ABC. Such dishonesty!” (Trump, tweet, March 23, 2017) “The Russia hoax continues, now it’s ads on Facebook. What about the totally biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?” (Trump, tweet, Sept. 22, 2017) “The Fake News Networks, those that knowingly have a sick and biased AGENDA, are worried about the competition and quality of Sinclair Broadcast. The ‘Fakers’ at CNN, NBC, ABC & CBS have done so much dishonest reporting that they should only be allowed to get awards for fiction!” (Trump, tweet, April 3, 2018)

185. …and trying to distract from good news.

“The Fake News Media is desperate to distract from the economy and record setting economic numbers and so they keep talking about the phony Russian Witch Hunt.” (Trump, tweet, June 4, 2018)

186. It also chooses to write about the wrong subjects.

“Frankly, you have the ability to choose what you want to write about, and you guys choose to write about things that the American people don’t care about day in and day out. And that’s a decision that you make, and frankly, I think it’s the wrong one.” (Huckabee Sanders, press briefing, June 4, 2018)

187. Reporters misuse unnamed sources in their stories…

“I think there’s an obligation at some when, if you’re going to make allegations of a serious nature, to at least make somebody go on the record and say, yes, I’m willing to stand behind that, when we’re willing to or another organization is willing to refute them on the record.” (Spicer, press briefing, Feb. 24, 2017) “It’s interesting — I think when it comes to the Russia story, and the on-the-record sources who have been briefed by the FBI continue to conclude that there’s nothing there, you guys continue to fall back on these anonymous sources and perpetuate a false narrative. And yet when it comes to us talking about all these reports in there, you then criticize the anonymous sources.” (Spicer, press briefing, March 16, 2017) “We’re constantly having to compete with anonymous sources … It’s a big disservice to the American people that there [isn’t] more credible sourcing … Now anybody with a computer can be a journalist … I do think that the anonymous sourcing is a really big problem and something that as much as we can move away from we should.” (Huckabee Sanders, panel discussion, Oct. 23, 2017)

188. …or just make them up.

“The Washington Post is far more fiction than fact. Story after story is made up garbage – more like a poorly written novel than good reporting. Always quoting sources (not names), many of which don’t exist.” (Trump, tweet, April 8, 2018) “The Washington Post said I refer to Jeff Sessions as ‘Mr. Magoo’ and Rod Rosenstein as ‘Mr. Peepers.’ This is ‘according to people with whom the president has spoken.’ There are no such people and don’t know these characters … just more Fake & Disgusting News to create ill will!” (Trump, tweet, April 21, 2018) “The Fake News is going crazy making up false stories and using only unnamed sources (who don’t exist). They are totally unhinged, and the great success of this Administration is making them do and say things that even they can’t believe they are saying. Truly bad people!” (Trump, tweet, April 30, 2018) “NBC NEWS is wrong again! They cite ‘sources’ which are constantly wrong. Problem is, like so many others, the sources probably don’t exist, they are fabricated, fiction! NBC, my former home with the Apprentice, is now as bad as Fake News CNN. Sad!” (Trump, tweet, May 4, 2018)

189. The government should make it harder for the media to report.

“The failing @nytimes has disgraced the media world. Gotten me wrong for two solid years. Change libel laws?” (Trump, tweet, March 30, 2017) “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!” (Trump, tweet, Oct. 11, 2017) “The Fake News is working overtime. Just reported that, despite the tremendous success we are having with the economy & all things else, 91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake). Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away credentials?” (Trump, tweet, May 9, 2018)

190. Fake news!

“Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the media, in order to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 26, 2017) “The Fake News is working overtime. Just reported that, despite the tremendous success we are having with the economy & all things else, 91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake). Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away credentials?” (Trump, tweet, May 9, 2018)

191. Anyway, the real scandal is leaks to the press.

“I think it’s very, very unfair what’s happened to General Flynn, the way he was treated, and the documents and papers that were illegally — I stress that — illegally leaked. Very, very unfair.” (Trump, press conference, Feb. 15, 2017) “While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us. FAKE NEWS” (Trump, tweet, July 22, 2017) “The so-called leaks coming out of the White House are a massive over exaggeration put out by the Fake News Media in order to make us look as bad as possible. With that being said, leakers are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are!” (Trump, tweet, May 14, 2018)

In summary…

President Trump speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C. on May 18, 2018.
Alex Wong—Getty Images

192. Russia is laughing at us.

Russia must be laughing up their sleeves watching as the U.S. tears itself apart over a Democrat EXCUSE for losing the election.” (Trump, tweet, May 11, 2017) “Russian officials must be laughing at the U.S. & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News.” (Trump, tweet, May 30, 2017) “It just continues and continues, and honestly it’s a disgrace, and it’s very bad for our country. And the Russians must be laughing, because this narrative is so bad for us as a country.” (Trump, interview with Reuters, July 12, 2017) “As the phony Russian Witch Hunt continues, two groups are laughing at this excuse for a lost election taking hold, Democrats and Russians!” (Trump, tweet, July 23, 2017) ” It’s time we stop the outlandish partisan attacks, wild and false allegations, and far-fetched theories, which only serve to further the agendas of bad actors, like Russia, and do nothing to protect the principles of our institutions.” (Unsigned, White House statement, Feb. 16, 2018) “If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 18, 2018)

193. The American people are very angry about how Trump was treated

People are angry. At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper. The American public deserves it!” (Trump, tweet, Nov. 3, 2017) “And how they’ve done that is really, really disgraceful, and you have a lot of very angry people that are seeing it. It’s a very sad thing to watch, I will tell you that. … But when everybody — not me — when everybody — the level of anger at what they’ve been witnessing with respect to the FBI is certainly very sad.” (Trump, press remarks, Dec. 15, 2017)

194. James Clapper said there was no collusion.

“James Clapper called me yesterday to denounce the false and fictitious report that was illegally circulated. Made up, phony facts.Too bad!” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 12, 2017) “James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!” (Trump, tweet, March 20, 2017) “Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows- there is ‘no evidence’ of collusion w/ Russia and Trump.” (Trump, tweet, May 8, 2017) “When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?” (Trump, tweet, May 12, 2017)

195. Even Democrats admit there was no collusion.

“When you look at the committees, whether it’s the Senate or the House, everybody — my worst enemies, they walk out, they say, ‘There is no collusion but we’ll continue to look.’ … So now even the Democrats admit there’s no collusion. There is no collusion — that’s it. And we got to get back to running a country.” (Trump, press remarks, Dec. 15, 2017) “When you look at the committees, whether it’s the Senate or the House, everybody — my worst enemies, they walk out, they say, ‘There is no collusion but we’ll continue to look.’ They’re spending millions and millions of dollars.” (Trump, press remarks, Dec. 15, 2017) “I think it’s all worked out because frankly there is absolutely no collusion, that’s been proven by every Democrat is saying it. … Virtually every Democrat has said there is no collusion. … I saw Dianne Feinstein the other day on television saying there is no collusion. She’s the head of the committee.” (Trump, interview with the New York Times, Dec. 28, 2017)

196. Comey’s testimony to Congress vindicated Trump.

“As he said yesterday, the President feels completely vindicated and is eager to continue moving forward with his agenda with this public cloud removed.” (Kasowitz, press statement, June 8, 2017) “Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!” (Trump, tweet, June 9, 2017)

197. The Nunes memo shows there was no collusion.

Trump argued that a four-page memo prepared by House intelligence chairman Devin Nunes vindicated him. “This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 3, 2018)

198. Rosenstein vindicated Trump.

Trump cited a press conference about charges against Russians were announced as a defense, noting that the deputy attorney general had said that the indictments did not make any allegations of Americans knowingly participating. “Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein stated at the News Conference: ‘There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.'” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 17, 2018)

199. The Democratic response memo vindicates Trump.

He also claimed, in something of a stretch, that the response memo from minority Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee vindicated him. “The Democrat memo response on government surveillance abuses is a total political and legal BUST. Just confirms all of the terrible things that were done. SO ILLEGAL!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 24, 2018)

200. The House Intelligence Committee said there was no collusion.

“THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.” (Trump, tweet, March 12, 2018) “As the House Intelligence Committee has concluded, there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump Campaign. As many are now finding out, however, there was tremendous leaking, lying and corruption at the highest levels of the FBI, Justice & State. #DrainTheSwamp” (Trump, tweet, March 17, 2018) “House Intelligence Committee votes to release final report. FINDINGS: (1) No evidence provided of Collusion between Trump Campaign & Russia. (2) The Obama Administrations Post election response was insufficient. (3) Clapper provided inconsistent testimony on media contacts.” (Trump, tweet, March 23, 2018) “House Intelligence Committee rules that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump Campaign and Russia. As I have been saying all along, it is all a big Hoax by the Democrats based on payments and lies. There should never have been a Special Counsel appointed. Witch Hunt!” (Trump, tweet, April 27, 2018)

201. The inspector general’s report exonerated Trump.

In June, Trump also claimed that the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Clinton’s email server exonerated him, even though it had nothing to do with the Russia investigation. “It is a very unfair situation, but the I.G. report totally exonerates. I mean, if you look at the results, if you look at the head investigator, is saying we have to stop Trump from becoming president. Well, Trump became president.” (Trump, press remarks, June 15, 2018) “I think that the report yesterday — maybe more importantly than anything — it totally exonerates me. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. And if you read the report, you’ll see that.” (Trump, press remarks, June 15, 2018) “The IG Report is a total disaster for Comey, his minions and sadly, the FBI. Comey will now officially go down as the worst leader, by far, in the history of the FBI. I did a great service to the people in firing him. Good Instincts. Christopher Wray will bring it proudly back!” (Trump, tweet, June 15, 2018) “I’ve had to beat 17 very talented people including the Bush Dynasty, then I had to beat the Clinton Dynasty, and now I have to beat a phony Witch Hunt and all of the dishonest people covered in the IG Report…and never forget the Fake News Media. It never ends!” (Trump, tweet, June 15, 2018) “The IG Report totally destroys James Comey and all of his minions including the great lovers, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who started the disgraceful Witch Hunt against so many innocent people.” (Trump, tweet, June 16, 2018)

Fact Check: Fact-checking Donald Trump’s interview with Fox and Friends

202. The charges against Russian hackers exonerated Trump.

In July, the White House and Giuliani both cited the charges against 12 Russian hackers as exonerating Trump because they did not include any allegations that Americans were involved. “The indictments Rod Rosenstein announced are good news for all Americans. The Russians are nailed. No Americans are involved. Time for Mueller to end this pursuit of the President and say President Trump is completely innocent.” (Giuliani, tweet, July 13, 2018) “Today’s charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result. This is consistent with what we have been saying all along.” (White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters, statement, July 13, 2018)

203. The Carter Page FISA warrant exonerated Trump.

Later that same month, Trump argued that a redacted version of a FISA warrant on Carter Page that was publicly released also exonerated him. However, the 400-plus page warrant undermines that argument. “Congratulations to @JudicialWatch and @TomFitton on being successful in getting the Carter Page FISA documents. As usual they are ridiculously heavily redacted but confirm with little doubt that the Department of ‘Justice’ and FBI misled the courts. Witch Hunt Rigged, a Scam!” (Trump, tweet, July 22, 2018) “Andrew McCarthy – “I said this could never happen. This is so bad that they should be looking at the judges who signed off on this stuff, not just the people who gave it. It is so bad it screams out at you.” On the whole FISA scam which led to the rigged Mueller Witch Hunt!” (Trump, tweet, July 22, 2018) “So we now find out that it was indeed the unverified and Fake Dirty Dossier, that was paid for by Crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC, that was knowingly & falsely submitted to FISA and which was responsible for starting the totally conflicted and discredited Mueller Witch Hunt!” (Trump, tweet, July 23, 2018) “…..’Carter Page wasn’t a spy, wasn’t an agent of the Russians – he would have cooperated with the FBI. It was a fraud and a hoax designed to target Trump.’ Tom Fitton @JudicialWatch A disgrace to America. They should drop the discredited Mueller Witch Hunt now!” (Trump, tweet, July 23, 2018)

204. No collusion!

“Also, there is NO COLLUSION!” (Trump, tweet, Oct. 30 2017) “The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 16, 2018) “And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!” (Trump, tweet, March 18, 2018)

205. Anyway, the real scandal is wiretapping…

Trump also tried to stir up a scandal that former President Obama had tapped his phones in Trump Tower, a claim that the intelligence committee rebutted and his Republican allies in Congress did not find evidence for. “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” (Trump, tweet, March 4, 2017) “Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!” (Trump, tweet, March 4, 2017) “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!” (Trump, tweet, March 4, 2017) “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” (Trump, tweet, March 4, 2017) “Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey said that President Trump is probably correct that there was surveillance on Trump Tower. Actually, far greater than would ever have been believed!” (Trump, tweet, June 25, 2018)

Fact Check: Trump’s claim that Obama ordered his phones tapped: False

206. …or unmasking…

Trump also sought to make a scandal out of the fact that former national security adviser Susan Rice had asked for the identities of some Americans caught on legal surveillance of other people, arguing that it was further evidence the Obama Administration was spying on his campaign. “Wow, @FoxNews just reporting big news. Source: ‘Official behind unmasking is high up. Known Intel official is responsible. Some unmasked not associated with Russia. Trump team spied on before he was nominated.’ If this is true, does not get much bigger. Would be sad for U.S.” (Trump, tweet, April 1, 2017) “Such amazing reporting on unmasking and the crooked scheme against us by @foxandfriends. ‘Spied on before nomination.’ The real story.” (Trump, tweet, April 3, 2017) “Susan Rice, the former National Security Advisor to President Obama, is refusing to testify before a Senate Subcommittee next week on allegations of unmasking Trump transition officials. Not good!” (Trump, tweet, May 4, 2017)

207. …or Uranium One…

Trump has also repeatedly tried to change the subject to a 2010 deal that gave Russia a financial interest in U.S. uranium production, something he claimed without evidence was done in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation. “Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn’t want to follow!” (Trump, tweet, Oct. 19, 2017) “Why isn’t the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech money to Bill, the Hillary Russian ‘reset,’ praise of Russia by Hillary, or Podesta Russian Company. Trump Russia story is a hoax. #MAGA!” (Trump, tweet, March 27, 2017) “Why doesn’t Fake News talk about Podesta ties to Russia as covered by @FoxNews or money from Russia to Clinton – sale of Uranium?” (Trump, tweet, March 28, 2017)

208. …or the Democratic National Committee server…

Trump has also alluded to conspiracy theories that the Democrats weren’t hacked at all, and that instead it was an inside job, questioning why the Democrats didn’t let the FBI take their email server during its investigation. “So how and why are they so sure about hacking if they never even requested an examination of the computer servers? What is going on?” (Trump, tweet, Jan. 5, 2017) “What ever happened to the Server, at the center of so much Corruption, that the Democratic National Committee REFUSED to hand over to the hard charging (except in the case of Democrats) FBI? They broke into homes & offices early in the morning, but were afraid to take the Server?” (Trump, tweet, May 20, 2018) “Our Justice Department must not let Awan & Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the hook. The Democrat I.T. scandal is a key to much of the corruption we see today. They want to make a ‘plea deal’ to hide what is on their Server. Where is Server? Really bad!” (Trump, tweet, June 7, 2018) “Where is the DNC Server, and why didn’t the FBI take possession of it? Deep State?” (Trump, tweet, July 14, 2018) “You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server — haven’t they taken the server. Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee? … What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC?” (Trump, press conference, July 17, 2018)

209. …or Hillary Clinton’s emails.

And finally, Trump has attempted to divert attention back to Clinton’s deleted emails and her private email server, a topic of much discussion during the 2016 campaign. “How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?” (Trump, tweet, Dec. 23, 2017) “The only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!” (Trump, tweet, Feb. 17, 2018) “Now that the Witch Hunt has given up on Russia and is looking at the rest of the World, they should easily be able to take it into the Mid-Term Elections where they can put some hurt on the Republican Party. Don’t worry about Dems FISA Abuse, missing Emails or Fraudulent Dossier!” (Trump, tweet, May 20, 2018) “At what point does this soon to be $20,000,000 Witch Hunt, composed of 13 Angry and Heavily Conflicted Democrats and two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years, STOP! They have found no Collussion with Russia, No Obstruction, but they aren’t looking at the corruption in the Hillary Clinton Campaign where she deleted 33,000 Emails, got $145,000,000 while Secretary of State, paid McCabes wife $700,000 (and got off the FBI hook along with Terry M) and so much more. Republicans and real Americans should start getting tough on this Scam. (Trump, tweet, May 20, 2018)

Alana Abramson and Abby Vesoulis contributed to this report

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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