Throughout much of the presidential campaign of Donald Trump — or at least during the latter stages, as revelation after revelation about the Democrats was dumped by WikiLeaks — there was a steady drumbeat from the media, from the team working for Hillary Clinton and others that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia.
That is, that Russian hackers were responsible for the leaks ravaging the Democratic Party and Clinton, and WikiLeaks was merely the conduit the Russians were using to publish the information. There was even talk that the Russians were going to hack the election itself and affect the outcome.
In the end, ex-President Obama ended up denying there was any tampering with the election results by Russians, and now, finally, it appears the Democrats have all but conceded that media hype about Russian collusion with the Trump campaign isn’t backed up by even an ounce of truth.
An article on political website The Intercept by award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald was quoted widely in the media recently wherein Greenwald stated that “key Democratic officials are clearly worried about the expectations [regarding Trump-Russia collusion] that have been purposely stoked and are now trying to tamp them down. Many of them tried to signal that the beliefs the base has been led to adopt have no basis in reason or evidence.”
Greenwald went on to call the Trump-Russia story a “fact-free conspiracy” and quoted at length globalist cheerleader Michael Morell, former acting head of the CIA for President Obama and one of the most prominent public officials to endorse Hillary Clinton for president in 2016. (Political watchers may remember Morell loudly calling for the death of aides to Vladimir Putin in an interview last August with PBS’ Charlie Rose.)
“On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there’s smoke, but there’s no fire at all,” Morell admitted, adding, “There’s no little campfire; there’s no little candle; there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”
Regarding the so-called ‘Dirty Dossier’ on Trump produced by British intelligence veteran Christopher Steele that was published by Buzzfeed and CNN in December last year, Morell admitted that Steele had paid his sources, which probably meant they were compromised or exaggerated.
The dossier “doesn’t take you anywhere, I don’t think,” he frankly confessed. Of course, last August, Morell was much more accusatory toward then-candidate Trump, saying then, “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”
But perhaps Morell is taking a new cue from his former boss, ex-Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper, who declared on NBC’s Meet the Press that regarding Trump and Russia, “we had no evidence of such collusion.”
This statement is all the more remarkable coming from a man who’s known for prevarication if it can politically benefit him. It should be noted that Morell left the CIA in 2013 (despite remaining very tightly connected to it), while Clapper was Obama’s DNI until January 20 of this year.
Officially, the Senate is still conducting an inquiry into Trump’s possible ties to Russia, and an article in Buzzfeed observed, “There’s a tangible frustration over what one official called ‘wildly inflated’ expectations surrounding the panel’s fledgling investigation… Several committee sources grudgingly say, it feels as though the investigation will be seen as a sham if the Senate doesn’t find a silver bullet connecting Trump and Russian intelligence operatives.”
One Democratic committee member confessed to Buzzfeed, “I don’t think the [committee’s] conclusions are going to meet people’s expectations.” Yet, those expectations are still incredibly desirous that something significant will be found.
Ben Smith, Buzzfeed’s editor-in-chief stated that the demand for incriminating evidence “is so strong that Twitter and cable news are full of the theories of what my colleague Charlie Warzel calls the Blue Detectives — the Left’s new version of Glenn Beck, digital blackboards full of lines and arrows. It’s a simple fact that while news of Russian actions on Trump’s behalf is clear, hard details of coordination between his aides and Putin’s haven’t emerged.”
In their rush to smear Republicans, Democrats have been throwing mud at many Trump cabinet appointees and nominees by labeling them Putin lovers or Kremlin agents. Trump’s first National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn was forced to resign over phone contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions was accused of lying to Congress about meeting with Kislyak.
Very recently, John Podesta’s Center for American Progress (CAP) think tank claimed there’s a “Fifth Column” of Russian operatives helping to organize sympathy for Russia in Europe via far-right political parties, and that in turn, this will help bring the Trump administration closer to Vladimir Putin’s regime.
CAP wrote on its website that Trump or Flynn met with far-right European leaders such as France’s Marine Le Pen and Austria’s Heinz-Christian Strache in New York City, despite the Trump administration strongly denying any such meetings took place (Le Pen was filmed entering Trump Tower in January of this year, but there was no evidence of a meeting with Trump).
CAP also has called out Trump’s Chief Strategist Steve Bannon’s former website Breitbart News as having promoted right-wing European nationalist parties such as France’s National Front, Austria’s FPO, Germany’s AfD, Britain’s UKIP, Italy’s Northern League and the Netherlands’ PVV. But as the CIA’s Morell says, this is just smoke, without any proof of a fire.
As Glenn Greenwald writes, “Many Democrats have reached the classic stage of deranged conspiracists wherein evidence that disproves the theory is viewed as further proof of its existence, and those pointing to it are instantly deemed suspect.”
In fact, even Buzzfeed compared Democratic conspiracy-seekers to the followers of Infowars’ Alex Jones and seemed to mock their theories with a flashy infographic showing ties between Trump, his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and people and organizations in Russia and Ukraine.
In perhaps the ultimate admission that the collusion stories are based on whole cloth, on March 20, FBI Director James Comey testified to the House Intelligence Committee that as of August or September of last year, “[the Russians] concluded based on the polling that a lot of people were reading that Mr. Trump didn’t stand a chance [of winning the presidential election].”
During the hearing, Trump himself tweeted that “The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence the electoral process.” When Democratic Representative Jim Hines of Connecticut brought up this tweet in near-real-time to Director Comey, Comey denied that the FBI was making a statement one way or the other regarding Russian influence on the election’s outcome and claimed his bureau’s investigation was still “ongoing,” despite no hard facts whatsoever being presented in the hearing.
Later the same day, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh asserted that while no new information was presented, Comey’s “ongoing investigation” talk may be a pre-emptive notice to Trump to cease his efforts to “drain the bureaucratic swamp” in Washington, lest he tempt efforts by Congressional lawmakers — on both sides of the aisle — to impeach him. According to Limbaugh, a political message has been sent: “you either straighten up and fly right, or you’re gone.”
It will be interesting to see how this game of Spy vs. Spy will play out in the coming months, but for now, it appears the Democrats are simply blowing smoke from their own ten-cent cigars.