Thursday, July 19, 2018

Trump's "would/wouldn't" comment on Russian meddling in context

Whether he meant to say "would" or "wouldn't," trump clumsily tried to dodge the question of Russian interference in our election by falsely attacking the FBI and taking a shot at Hillary Clinton and a "Pakistani gentleman."

The news has focused on Trump's response when Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire asked whether he believed Putin or "every U. S. intelligence agency" on the question of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump and the media have focused on this quote:

I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server.
The next day, Trump claimed to have misspoken, that he meant to say "wouldn't" instead of "would," but let's look at that sentence in context. It turns out he tried to artfully dodge the question by attacking the FBI. Here is his answer:
So let me just say that we have two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server. Why haven’t they taken the server? Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee? I’ve been wondering that. I’ve been asking that for months and months, and I’ve been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know, where is the server? And what is the server saying?

With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me — Dan Coats came to me and some others — they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia.

I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server. But I have — I have confidence in both parties. I really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but I don’t think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC? Where are those servers? They’re missing. Where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails? Thirty-three thousand emails gone — just gone. I think, in Russia, they wouldn’t be gone so easily. I think it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails. (Source).
He used the word "server" nine times and managed to attack Hillary Clinton and a "Pakistani gentleman" along with the FBI.

We know what he was getting at when he mentioned Hillary Clinton and "the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC," but what about the server?

I listened to the press conference live and was struck by his rambling reference to servers. I didn't know what servers he was talking about and also wondered whether he knew what a server is. (It turns out he repeated the word nine times).

I did a quick search and it turns out that the fact-checking site Politifact has concluded that "Donald Trump's 'missing' server comments get all of the details wrong" and the Pakistani gentleman is Imran Awan, who emigrated from Pakistan as a youth, has been a U.S. citizen since 2004 and did not work for the DNC.