The Mirror

Trump Dismisses Russia Investigation As A ‘Witch Hunt’ (A Phrase He Loves)

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Despite Cabinet members appearing to be under his spell Monday, President Trump called the investigation of Russia ties the “single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history,” in a much publicized tweet Thursday morning.

Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team announced they will be interviewing three senior intelligence officials about whether the President tried to obstruct justice, The Washington Post reported Wednesday night. The three officials, according to WaPo, are Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, National Security Agency Chairman Mike Rogers, and Rogers’ ex-deputy Richard Ledgett.

Trump has denied any involvement with Russia, tweeting that the accusations are “phony” and all part of some silly “witch hunt.”

A frequent phrase in the President’s vocabulary, “witch hunt” has been used in at least eight of Trump’s tweets since March, NBC News reported.

I spoke with Deborah Tannen, a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University and author of You’re the Only One I Can Tell: Inside the Language of Women’s Friendships to learn more about the history of the term “witch hunt” and its usage as it pertains to Trump’s tweets.

“I believe it is a reference to the Salem Witch Trials and other historical periods when it was believed that average-seeming people were witches with evil powers and evil intentions, responsible for whatever bad was happening to individuals or to the community, ” Tannen said. “Innocent people were labeled witches and punished, sometimes put to death. The phrase is used today to refer to the persecution and false accusation of innocents.”

The major distinction of a “witch hunt,” as Tannen noted, is that the person or persons accused of the crime are in truth, innocent. If the accused is guilty, the phrase is most likely used as a mechanism to protect oneself from political fear.

“It doesn’t apply in the current situation, since there is abundant and irrefutable evidence that there was Russian meddling in the last election, and that there were points of contact between Russian officials and the Trump campaign,” Tannen added. “But it’s a handy way to declare the innocence of oneself and one’s cohort, and to stigmatize those conducting or seeking an investigation.”

Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts congressman, reinforced Tannen’s belief, correcting the President’s misrepresentation of the phrase last month.

Trump has since gone on to use the phrase many more times.

American personality and comedian, Rosie O’Donnell, joked it would also be the single shortest “witch hunt” in American political history.

NY Daily News writer, Shaun King, told Trump to check his definition of “witch hunt.”

Zach Schonfeld, a writer for Newsweek, basically said don’t flatter yourself yourself, Trump.

All it took was a gif for The Daily Beast editor, Scott Bixby, to take a jab at the President.

Political junkies everywhere are anxiously waiting to see what Mueller will dig up in the impending interviews.