Amid these and other appalling statements, Trump made it clear that he can only understand the investigation into Russian interference as an attempt to rob him of credit for his electoral victory, and thus to delegitimize his presidency.

For most people with a grasp of the facts — supporters and critics alike — the question of Russian interference and the question of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign are separate. Russia did interfere in the election, full stop. Whether there was collusion is still an open question, even if many Trump supporters have made up their minds about it. Whether Russian interference, or collusion, got Trump over the finish line is ultimately unknowable, though I think it’s very unlikely.

But for Trump these distinctions are meaningless. Even when his own Department of Justice indicts twelve Russian intelligence agents, the salient issue for Trump in Helsinki is that “they admit these are not people involved in the campaign.” All you need to know is: We ran a brilliant campaign, and that’s why I’m president.