Trump Tweet Ties 'Missed Signals' In Florida Shooting To FBI Russia Probe

Feb 18, 2018
Originally published on February 18, 2018 6:30 pm
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President Trump observed the President's Day holiday weekend in Florida, but he took no holiday from Twitter. In the past 24 hours, Mr. Trump has posted more than a dozen tweets, most of them focused on the Russia investigation. And, as NPR's Colin Dwyer reports, one tweet in particular has caught some criticism from within his own party.

COLIN DWYER, BYLINE: The tweet last night was the opening volley in what would become a whole series President Trump sent from his resort in Mar-a-Lago, and it drew a connection between two of the week's biggest headlines. Trump chided the FBI for mishandling a tip on the alleged gunman who opened fire on a Florida school last week, and he tied that mistake to the amount of time the bureau is spending on the Russia investigation. On Friday, 13 Russian nationals were indicted for interfering with the 2016 election. Some objected to the connection that that tweet implied.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "STATE OF THE UNION")

JOHN KASICH: I think it's an absurd statement, OK? Absurd.

DWYER: That's Ohio's Republican governor, John Kasich, venting his criticism of Trump's statement on CNN's "State Of The Union."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "STATE OF THE UNION")

KASICH: The FBI apparently made a terrible mistake, and people should be held accountable. But we need leadership out of the executive.

DWYER: Trump, for his part, has asserted that his campaign did not collude with Russian efforts to sway the election. In fact, he tweeted that assertion several times this weekend along with criticism of Hillary Clinton, President Obama, CNN, the media in general and, well, too many others to adequately mention here. But some noticed an absence on that list of condemnations - Russia. Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma was asked on NBC's "Meet The Press" if that omission bothered him.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MEET THE PRESS")

JAMES LANKFORD: It does because Russia has clearly tried to advance their agenda into the United States. The president's been very adamant to say he didn't collude. He's very frustrated that people seem to accuse the fact that the only reason he's president is because of some sort of Russian collusion, but I would say the clear message here is Russia did mean to interfere in our election.

DWYER: Trump later tweeted that this interference is continuing to achieve its goal. If it was meant to create discord, he said, then the American investigations into that interference show they've succeeded. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow, Trump tweeted. He did not mention how the administration is planning to prevent similar interference in the future. Colin Dwyer, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.