trump wv rally russia response bts_00002427

(CNN)There was a line of thinking in Washington this week that President Donald Trump might scale back his rhetoric on the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russia, the result of a new White House chief of staff in John Kelly and a reshuffled legal team.

In a campaign-style rally in West Virginia on Thursday night, Trump not only leaned into his previous attacks on the Russia investigation but took them even a step farther.

He referred to the “totally made-up Russia story.” He called it a “total fabrication.” He insisted Democrats are behind the whole thing because they are looking for “an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics.” He argued that “what the prosecutors should be looking at are Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails.” He made the totally specious argument that no Russians were in the crowd to suggest he couldn’t have won the election because of Russia. He mocked Democrats’ electoral results, telling them “try winning at the voter booth.”

“They can’t beat us at the voting booths, so they’re trying to cheat you out of the future and the future that you want. They’re trying to cheat you out of the leadership you want with a fake story that is demeaning to all of us, and most importantly, demeaning to our country and demeaning to our Constitution.”

That’s important. Especially this line: “They’re trying to cheat you out of the future and the future that…