PolitiFact on Tuesday revealed its 2017 “Lie of the Year,” focusing on how President Donald Trump has regularly disputed whether Russia interfered in last year’s election and questioned the widely held conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies, which he has frequently undermined and dismissed as “political hacks.”
The evidence that Russia interfered in the election is plentiful and demonstrates an elaborate and sophisticated scheme. Moscow has also attempted to infiltrate elections in Europe.
But, as PolitiFact notes, “one man keeps saying it didn’t even happen:” the president of the United States.
When the nation’s commander-in-chief refuses to acknowledge a threat to U.S. democracy, it makes it all the more difficult to address the problem. For this reason, we name Trump’s claim that the Russia interference is a hoax as our Lie of the Year for 2017.
Trump has said that “this Russia thing” is “a made-up story,” tweeted countless times that it is “a hoax” and Democrats’ “excuse” for their election loss, and insisted that when Russian President Vladimir Putin denies the interference, he takes him at face value.
“Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it,’” Trump said after meeting with Putin during a trip to Asia in November.
Trump has often denied the issue of Russian interference in the election in the context of denying collusion between his own campaign and Russian officials, the subject of several ongoing House and Senate probes, as well as an independent investigation from special counsel Robert Mueller.
Trump’s equivocation on Russian meddling is among the biggest examples of his perpetual attempts to dismiss unfavorable coverage as “fake news” and “to create a different version of reality,” PolitiFact’s editors note.
PolitiFact’s readers also chose the claim as the lie of the year.