Watch Trump and the Russians share the same talking points two more times


While multiple scandals involving Donald Trump's campaign and Russia continue to roil the news, Trump and Russian government spokespeople persist in sharing the same talking points.

Donald Trump received short-lived praise this week because he managed to stick to a script for an hour or so, but little attention is being paid to the script he apparently shares with Russian government spokespeople.

Following Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal in the wake of revelations that he lied at his Senate confirmation hearing, Trump went on a Twitter tirade that ended with a familiar-sounding talking point:

The notion that a six-agency investigation of Trump/Russia collusion (much of which has occurred out in the open) is a "witch hunt" is a return to a theme that Trump introduced several weeks ago, when he called the conclusions of 17 U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered with our election a "witch hunt."

At that time, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov adopted the same talking point, as in this interview with NBC News:

NEELY: President-elect Trump says it's a witch hunt. Is it?

PESKOV: This is something that is going on in the United States.

NEELY: In what sense?

PESKOV: At least from this angle, from the angle of the Russian Federation, it looks exactly the same.

NEELY: Like a witch-hunt


Trump is not the only one returning to favorite shared talking points this week, though. While being pursued by CNN reporter Matthew Chance, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova adopted two of Trump's consistent claims — that U.S. intelligence reports are "fake news," and so is CNN:

ZAKHAROVA: Mr. Kislyak is a well-known, world-class diplomat who was a deputy minister of foreign affairs in Russia, who has communicated with his American colleagues for decades on different fields, and CNN accused him of being a Russian spy?

CHANCE: Well, it was U.S. officials that accused him of that.

ZAKHAROVA: Come on, stop spreading lie and false news, this is a good advice for CNN.

CHANCE: Are you concerned that the investigations into Russia are going to turn up more secret meetings?

ZAKHAROVA: Please stop spreading lie and false news.

That exchange might well have been read directly off of Trump's Twitter feed, which frequently features versions of these themes:

Trump also famously attacked the network, using the same language, at his first press conference since last July:

ACOSTA: Since you're attacking us? Can you give us a question? Mr. President-elect, since you are attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance —

TRUMP: No, not you, not you. Your organization's terrible.

ACOSTA: You are attacking our news organization. Can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir.

TRUMP: Go ahead. Quiet, she's asking a question, don't be rude. Don't be rude. No, I'm not going to give you a question. I'm not going to give you a question.

ACOSTA: Can you state categorically —

TRUMP: You are fake news.

ACOSTA: Mr. President-elect, that's not appropriate.

It was at that July press conference that Trump openly solicited Russian hackers to commit espionage against the United States government.

The difficulty of the Democrats' fight for a truly independent investigation into Trump's ties to Russia is made all the more bewildering by the fact that so much of this scandal is occurring in broad daylight, and Trump's lockstep synchronicity with Russian mouthpieces is yet further evidence.