Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

JubilantTrump to Target Foes after Probe Boost

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

JubilantTrump to Target Foes after Probe Boost

Article excerpt


PRESIDENT Donald Trump and his allies have wasted little time in turning what they have long termed a "witch hunt" into a weapon in the early stages of what will be his re-election campaign.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's two-year investigation into Mr Trump's campaign concluded late on Sunday with what the president and his backers claimed was total exoneration.

Now the probe is being transformed into a rallying cry and a weapon for the president.

The pall of the two-year probe lifted when US attorney general William Barr released a summary of Mr Mueller's findings that said the wideranging investigation found no evidence of collusion by Mr Trump's 2016 campaign with the Russian government.

Mr Barr's four-page letter was immediately seized upon by the Republican president and his allies as a weapon to use against Democrats, the so-called Deep State and the media.

Even before Mr Mueller's conclusions were revealed, it was clear that Mr Trump saw the end of the investigation as a political opportunity.

Trump aides and political allies developed a plan to turn the end of the probe into the launching pad for a new round of attacks on the president's foes and a moment to reinvigorate his supporters in the run-up to the 2020 campaign.

Mr Trump surrogates rushed to claim victory and rub the results in the face of Democrats, many of whom had spent months promising that Mr Mueller would turn up more.

"Democrats and their liberal media allies for two years slandered President Trump for 'conspiring with Russia,"' press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted. "It was all a malicious, preposterous lie given wall to wall media coverage despite zero evidence.

"This should never again happen to an American President."

Mr Trump jubilantly hailed the results, exaggerating the findings as a total exoneration. …

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