President Donald Trump had a reminder on Tuesday to mention that there was no collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia as he walked back calamitous comments he made Monday in Helsinki, siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence officials.
The president sparked outrage when he refused to hold Putin and Russia accountable for meddling in the 2016 presidential election — attacks that were confirmed by the U.S. intelligence community. Members of the Republican Party and even Fox News hosts called out Trump for siding with Putin.
The fallout was so severe that Trump made what he called a “clarification” of his comments the following day. As he read prepared remarks to reaffirm that he “accepts” the findings of the U.S. intelligence community about Russia’s interference, cameras picked up on one of the typed pages a handwritten note in thick black marker that read, “There was no colusion,” with the last word misspelled.
“I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place,” he said, reading the prepared text. Then he added, “It could be other people also. A lot of people out there. There was no collusion at all.”
Trump’s comment on collusion was in reference to special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russia’s meddling of the 2016 election and whether members of the Trump campaign were involved — which Trump has repeatedly tried to discredit and called a witch hunt.
Photos of the note spread quickly on Twitter.
Trump was reading for a typewritten script during his "clarification" moment but he made some handwritten additions, including: "THERE WAS NO COLLUSION" pic.twitter.com/0IfleZm8yJ
— Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) July 17, 2018
Trump wrote in big black Sharpie on his printed remarks: “THERE WAS NO COLLUSION” pic.twitter.com/5wiG4ukGce
— David P Gelles (@gelles) July 17, 2018
The President wrote in sharpie “THERE WAS NO COLUSION” during a meeting with congressional members. pic.twitter.com/dYk88Ot9h8
— Tom Brenner (@tom__brenner) July 17, 2018 Getty A close-up of Trump’s “There was no colusion” note.
The incident was reminiscent of the time Trump had a note reminding him to listen at a listening session with survivors of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 high school students and educators were gunned down. The card included five notes for Trump, including one reading, “I hear you.”