Trump’s Kentucky speech was most notable for what he didn’t say

In his first appearance after an explosive hearing, he didn’t say one word about the investigation into his campaign.

President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd in Louisville, Kentucky. CREDIT: AP Photo/John Minchillo
President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd in Louisville, Kentucky. CREDIT: AP Photo/John Minchillo

During a Monday night campaign speech in Louisville, Kentucky, President Donald Trump re-upped his past rhetoric about undocumented immigrants and the Affordable Care Act. But he was noticeably silent about the House Intelligence Committee’s hearings earlier that day, during which FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the FBI is investigating the administration’s ties to Russia and debunked — along with NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers — Trump’s claims that he had been wiretapped by his predecessor.

Trump first tweeted that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him during the election cycle on March 4.

The Justice Department was subsequently told to produce evidence to back his claims, which it was unable to do. Last week, Trump told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that he had based his tweets on news articles he’d read.

But on Monday, hours before Trump took the stage in Louisville, Comey flatly denied that Trump was wiretapped. “With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets,” he said. “And we have looked carefully inside the FBI.”

Comey also informed the House committee that the FBI was officially investigating Russian interference in the election, even though the agency doesn’t usually confirm or deny if an investigation is in the works. “In unusual circumstances, where it is in the public interest, it may be appropriate to do so,” he said. “This is one of those circumstances.”

Trump was eager to debunk claims of ties to Russia on Monday morning, when he fired off a series of tweets calling such claims “FAKE NEWS” and railed against Democrats. But his refusal acknowledge to acknowledge either of Comey’s admissions is out of step for the President, who rarely keeps his thoughts private.