Casting further doubt on the notion—splashed across the front pages of corporate media outlets Wednesday morning—that President Donald Trump has walked back his deferential remarks alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, President Donald Trump on Tuesday appears to have crossed out a line in his prepared statement to reporters that called for perpetrators of election hacking to be brought to justice.
After numerous reporters began calling attention to the fact that Trump scrawled with a black marker "THERE WAS NO COLUSION [sic]" on his scripted comments, CNBC's Christinia Wilkie zoomed in on a line in the next paragraph that reads, "Anyone involved in that meddling to justice."
The entire line is crossed out with a black marker:
Here's the close up >>> pic.twitter.com/0ThdZuKIws
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) July 17, 2018
"The 'justice' language is a sentence fragment, which suggests that it was perhaps left by mistake in the printed remarks after a grammatically complete promise to bring anyone involved in meddling to justice was deleted from an earlier draft," observes Slate's Ben Mathis-Lilley.
But during his entire remarks to reporters on Tuesday, Trump never mentioned anything, in any kind of language, about bringing justice to those behind the election interference.
"Whatever happened, though," added Mathis-Lilley, "it seems clear that the president did not, under any circumstances, want to publicly promise to prosecute everyone involved in 2016 election hacking."
Responding to the crossed-out line in a tweet on Tuesday, investigative reporter Marcy Wheeler wrote, "That Trump took OUT language saying anyone involved in the meddling should be brought to justice is as appalling as that he wrote in the lie that there was no collusion."