As the controversy escalated on Thursday over possible links between Russia and Donald Trump, my University of Birmingham colleague Adam Quinn and I spoke about developments with BBC outlets.
Trump v. Intelligence Services
The leak of the [35 memoranda on possible Russia compromise of Trump] may well be because Trump picked a fight with intelligence agencies. For months he said they were inept. He said they were trying to bring him down with claims of Russian hacking of the US election.
The agencies were called out by him, who said, “I don’t believe anything you say,” and now they are hitting back.
Trump’s “Fake News” Diversion
After an initial discussion of President Obama’s legacy (see also US Podcast: Obama Says Goodbye — But What Has He Accomplished?, the conversation turned to Trump’s press conference.
What Trump has done is to avoid dealing with any of the allegations specifically by saying they are “fake news”. He has accused the media of spreading it, he refused to take a question from CNN, and he is accusing his own intelligence agencies of disseminating “fake news”.
We now live in an era where Trump, using Twitter for example, throws smoke here, there, and everywhere so we are never quite sure what is real.
What is real is that there are serious questions about not only his policies but his character, even before he takes office.
“Throwing Up Smoke”
Trump is going to throw up smoke to avoid reality and to bully the rest of us to do that as well.
“He is the Author of His Own Misfortunes”
Donald Trump is the author of his own misfortunes, to some extent. He’s been extremely non-transparent about his finances —- if he had been more open about those, we could be much more able to establish in a thorough, public way what connections, if any, he does have with Russia.
“Republican Senators Are Very Concerned”
Adam Quinn’s summary for the BBC News Channel, before Trump’s press conference
I think if Donald Trump was more keen to cooperate and was transparent, then he would probably have fewer problems.