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At West Virginia rally, Trump rejects allegations of collusion with Russia as ‘total fabrication’

President Trump addressed his supporters at a rally in Huntington, W.Va., Aug. 3. Here are some highlights of his speech. (Video: Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — President Trump on Thursday forcefully dismissed allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russia as “a total fabrication,” blaming the ongoing controversy on Democrats who still can’t get over the 2016 election results.

“The reason why Democrats only talk about the totally made-up Russia story is because they have no message, no agenda and no vision,” Trump said at a boisterous rally at an arena packed with supporters. “The Russia story is a total fabrication. It’s just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics. It just makes them feel better when they have nothing else to talk about.”

Trump’s remarks here came on a day when news broke that Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel appointed to probe Russian meddling in the election, has convened a grand jury in Washington — a sign that investigators continue to aggressively gather evidence in the case.

Trump did not mention Mueller by name in his remarks but seemed to reference his and congressional investigations into the matter, saying: “I just hope the final determination is truly an honest one.”

Much of Trump’s rhetoric on Thursday echoed statements he’s made previously on Twitter, but the president’s remarks took on a new resonance as they were cheered by thousands of supporters.

He said that instead of looking at his campaign, prosecutors should be looking into his Democratic opponent from last year, Hillary Clinton, and her deletion of emails from a private server she maintained while secretary of state.

The crowd chanted “lock her up!” in return.

“Most people know there were no Russians in our campaign,” Trump said. "There never were. We didn’t win because of Russia. We won because of you. … We won because we totally outworked the other side.”