President Trump dismissed the investigation into his campaign's alleged collusion with Russians last year as a "faux story," reprising his argument that Democrats had invented the narrative to compensate for their candidate's defeat.
"The Russia is a faux story. It's made up," Trump said Wednesday in an interview with the Washington Examiner. "[Democrats] lost an election, and they use the Russia story as a way — as best they can — as a way of justifying how they lost the election. It's a fake story. The fake media keeps putting it on. The same media, it's all the same media, that keep putting it on. And frankly they should be ashamed of themselves."
The White House has repeatedly dismissed allegations of Russian collusion as a media-driven narrative aimed at discrediting Trump's election victory. Although the FBI and two congressional committees have spent months investigating the allegations, none of the claims have been substantiated, and some lawmakers and officials who have viewed the existing body of evidence have concluded that nothing uncovered so far has suggested the Trump campaign played a role in the publication of stolen Democratic emails during the presidential race.
"We've given everything we can to the committees and the committees can come in and see whatever they want," Trump said. "And we look forward to the reports. And nobody said I was involved in any form."
The president said "almost everybody" with access to the Russian investigative materials has "said there is no evidence."
"And there isn't. And the reason there's no evidence [is] because it's a faux story," Trump said. "It's a fake story that was made up as a justification for how the Democrats, it's really an excuse for how the Democrats lost an election that should have never been lost because they should never lose the Electoral College. That's all that story is. It's a fake story."
Despite the lack of hard evidence to suggest the Trump campaign was directly involved in Russia's election-related cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, the controversy over alleged Russian connections has followed the Trump administration throughout the first 100 days.
Mike Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, has come under fire recently for his alleged failure to seek permission for a payment he received from a Russian media company after leaving his position at the Defense Intelligence Agency but before joining the Trump administration.
The Pentagon's inspector general is presently investigating the matter, as is the House Oversight Committee. White House officials struggled this week to explain why they told the committee they could not "accommodate" a request for Flynn-related documents.
"I think the president made the right decision at the right time, and he continues to stand by it," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday of Trump's decision in February to request Flynn's resignation.
The White House has said Trump asked his former national security adviser to step down because leaks suggested Flynn had misled the vice president over his pre-inaugural contacts with the Russian ambassador.
Trump pointed on Wednesday to Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta, to argue that the media had applied a double standard to coverage of his controversy.
"You know, nobody asks Hillary Clinton why her husband was over making speeches in Russia. Nobody asks John Podesta about the company that he has with his brother in Russia," Trump said. "Nobody asks John Podesta why he didn't let the FBI look at his server, why did they hire another company to look at the server. And somebody had mentioned — and this may be incorrect — a company that's owned by somebody from the Ukraine."
The president said the Russian meddling narrative began prior to the election, but suggested it only grew into a major controversy because Clinton had lost.
"It was at a very low level, and it never picked up any steam until after the election because the Democrats are using that faux — or fake — Russia story in order to make themselves feel better for losing an election that's very hard for a Democrat to lose," Trump said. "Because it's very hard for Democrats to lose in the Electoral College."