A complete deconstruction of the 8 points in Trump's meandering Russia answer

By Hunter Schwarz
Updated 3:00 PM ET, Wed March 7, 2018

(CNN)During his joint presser with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan LŲfven on Tuesday, President Donald Trump was asked what Sweden should learn from Russian interference in the 2016 US election. His response did not actually ever answer the question. This is what he said instead:

1. Admitted Russia meddled during the 2016 campaign:

"Certainly there was meddling."

2. Again suggested without evidence that maybe individuals or other countries also meddled (although he did not say it could have been a 400-pound man this time):

"Probably there was meddling from other countries and maybe other individuals."

3. Said the US would not let any votes be compromised:

"You don't want your system of votes to be compromised in any way. And we won't allow that to happen."

4. Said there was a study coming out, but didn't say who was doing it or what exactly the study was on:

"We're doing a very, very deep study, and we're coming out with some, I think, very strong suggestions on the '18 election."

5. Suddenly switched from talking about a foreign country attempting to interfere in our elections to talking about how he thought Republicans would do in the midterms:

"I think we're going to do very well on the '18 election, although, historically, those in the White House have a little bit of a dip. But I think we're going to do well because the economy is so good."

6. Talked about Neil Gorsuch as a reason Repubs would do well:

"Also, the judges. I mean, we have outstanding judges. Judge Gorsuch in the Supreme Court, and many, many judges going onto the bench all over the country. So I think we're going to do very well, and I think it will be a tremendous surprise to people how well."

7. Got back on track talking about foreign interference and said "they" (the US?) would have a paper backup system for future elections:

"And one of the things we're learning is, it's always good ó it's old-fashioned, but it's always good to have a paper backup system of voting."

8. And when asked if he's worried about Russia meddling in 2018, the President said we'll "counteract" Russia, with no details of what exactly he meant by "counteract" (and this, remember, coming after it's been revealed his State Department has spent $0 on combating Russian interference efforts and his National Security Agency chief said Trump has not asked him to do anything about Russia):

"We'll counteract whatever they do. We'll counteract it very strongly. And we are having strong backup systems. And we've been working, actually -- we haven't been given credit for this, but we've actually been working very hard on the '18 election and the '20 election coming up. Thank you very much."