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By Willis L. Krumholz, The Federalist, March 25, 2019The probe of Special Counsel Robert Mueller—appointed to investigate conspiracy theories that said President Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election—officially ended on Friday, March 22, 2019.
“I don’t think it looks good… no further indictments,” said Bill Maher on his Saturday night HBO show. Maher tried to console himself. He repeated the brand-new incantation of the progressive faith: “I don’t need the Mueller report to know he’s a traitor, I have a T.V.”
California Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell quickly promised Maher that the Democrat chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Adam Schiff, would haul Mueller in front of Congress with a subpoena.
Then, on Sunday, the contents of the report were released: No evidence of collusion was found between the Trump campaign and Russia. Leftwing media that had spent years pumping the conspiracy theory of Trump-Russia collusion made sure to add that the report “stops short of exonerating [Trump] for obstruction of justice.” Ergo, the report stays away from the patently ridiculous charge of obstruction, which would seek to politicize and decimate a president’s Article II powers.
But Democrats are making sure to stress that investigations into Trump are ongoing—in Congress, and in the federal prosecutor’s office in the Southern District of New York. And CNN promised the “Mueller report is just the start of a new Russia showdown.”
Millions of Americans have been led to believe that President Trump committed treason, and any day he could be led out of the White House in chains. They wake up every day thinking this could be the day that Mueller gets Trump. These poor souls should be facing a tough reality this weekend. But hold the Xanax, at least for now. The media and Democrat Party have dug themselves so deeply in a hole, they must keep on digging. That’s absolutely terrible for this country, as has been this entire endeavor.
Remember How We Got Here
If our country is ever to recover from this mess, we can’t forget how we got here. Russians were attempting to hack both the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee in late 2015. Whether the DNC was ultimately hacked or suffered an internal leak, the truth remains that the DNC documents and emails obtained by WikiLeaks showed the entire country that Hillary Clinton, and those around her, were corrupt and would bend the rules (or worse) for power. There was never a real and fair contest between her and Bernie Sanders.
As soon as the Clinton campaign realized its misdeeds toward Bernie had been made public, they blamed Russia. They immediately began putting out a narrative that attempted to say Russia had acted to favor Trump, which included paying Fusion GPS—a notorious propaganda outfit with ties to loads of so-called journalists—to create ties between Trump and Russia.
Fusion GPS then hired a former British spy, Chris Steele, to boost their credibility. He used a different British guy with ties to the Kremlin, Edward Baumgartner, who employed unknown Russians to write a series of Word documents that alleged Trump-Russia collusion.
Meanwhile, Clinton stooge Cody Shearer wrote other documents that alleged Trump-Russia collusion, and Clinton stooge Sidney Blumenthal disseminated those documents into the Obama State Department with the help of would-be Clinton administration secretary of state Victoria Nuland. The State Department people then gave those documents to the FBI.
In short, the Hillary campaign peppered the Obama executive branch with allegations of Trump-Russia collusion. The Obama intelligence apparatus, pushed on by Obama’s Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan, was only too happy to run with it. Jim Comey’s FBI then used those Word documents to get a warrant from a secret court to spy on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide, which allowed the FBI to spy on the rival political party’s presidential campaign.
Coordinated with a Media Influence Operation
The FBI’s involvement allowed Fusion GPS and the journalists it was working with to put out all sorts of stories before the election, meant to damage Trump’s candidacy. These stories alleged that the ties between Trump and Russia were so serious, the FBI was investigating them. For example, CNN and others ran stories about the FBI looking into Trump because there was supposedly a computer in Trump Tower that was communicating with a Russian bank.
When the FBI figured out that Steele and his boss at Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson, were planting stories in the media, rules forced the FBI to discontinue ties with Steele. But they didn’t tell these things to the court used to get a secret warrant on the Trump campaign, and they continued to talk to Steele via Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department (DOJ) official whose wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS.
Fusion GPS didn’t just use the Word docs it had created to push the narrative of Trump-Russia collusion. Before and after the election, there were all sorts of set-ups. In but one example, the Russians who met with Don Jr. in Trump tower, a meeting often cited as a supposed example of collusion, were working with Fusion GPS. Fusion’s Simpson met with the Russians present both before and after that meeting, and even supplied the materials that the Russians handed out at the meeting.
In another example, Joseph Mifsud, the supposedly Kremlin-linked European who supposedly told Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton, likely has ties to Western intelligence agencies. And the Aussie ambassador who relayed to “U.S. officials” what Papadopoulos said that Mifsud said, has ties to the Clinton foundation. Then there’s Stefan Halper—a sketchy man who was for some reason on the Pentagon payroll, and highly paid at that—who approached multiple Trump campaign people in 2016.
An All-Out Effort to Pre-Empt, then Undo, 2016
Once Trump won, all hell broke loose. There was talk of stopping him with the Electoral College, and protestors wrecked parts of DC. Obama’s deputy attorney general Sally Yates sent FBI agents to entrap Mike Flynn, at the time Trump’s national security advisor, using a 200-year-old law that is never enforced, unconstitutional, and routinely violated by every incoming presidential administration.
The mainstream media was just as deranged. For the entire year of 2017, anything that could damage Trump, no matter how outlandish, was published. Journalistic standards collapsed.Much of the special counsel appointment was based on the false claim that Trump fired Comey to end the Russia investigation, when Trump in fact said the opposite.
To MSNBC and CNN, every spurious and anonymously sourced report, which was always called a “bombshell,” was a sign that the “walls were closing in” on the Trump presidency. CNN famously reported on a Trump Jr. email, which could have shown collusion, until they realized they got the date of the email wrong. ABC News anchor Brian Ross produced a false report that caused the stock market to drop, and was eventually let go by ABC over the issue. These are but a few examples.
It was in this Beltway hysteria that the Mueller investigation started. Trump fired Comey, because Comey was involved in the abuses of power that were occurring at the FBI. Among the things that were known to Trump at the time, this included a set-up of Reince Priebus, and appearing to threaten to investigate the president. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—who recommended Comey be fired—then appointed a special counsel to investigate Trump-Russia collusion.
Much of the special counsel appointment was based on the false claim that Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt that he fired Comey to end the Russia investigation, when Trump in fact said the opposite. At the time, even many Republicans, especially in the Senate, supported Mueller’s appointment—which speaks volumes about who used to run the Republican Party.
The only reason Rosenstein was in charge of the probe, and not former attorney general Jeff Sessions, is that Sessions was forced to recuse himself, supposedly because he met with the Russian ambassador in his capacity as a senator, and briefly at an event full of ambassadors. At least one of the DOJ lawyers who told Sessions he should recuse himself was involved in the effort to spy on Page and the Trump campaign.
It would later be learned that FBI number two Andrew McCabe officially launched an investigation into Trump in retaliation for the firing of Comey, and because of foreign policy differences. There was no evidence whatsoever, aside from what was being peddled by Fusion GPS and which the FBI could not confirm, of any Trump-Russia collusion.Even the instructions Rosenstein gave Mueller, when Rosenstein launched the special counsel’s probe, were improper and did not meet Department of Justice regulations.
We also learned that Rosenstein likely discussed ousting Trump with McCabe, and wearing a wire to get Trump on obstruction of justice. Even the instructions Rosenstein gave Mueller, when Rosenstein launched the special counsel’s probe, were improper and did not meet Department of Justice regulations. In the words of Federalist writer Adam Mill, they appeared to say, “here’s a list of people involved in the Trump campaign—go find something on them.”
So Mueller’s probe was tainted from the get-go. Mueller, the FBI director before Comey, was the ultimate insider. He was friends with, or had worked with, many of the people in the Obama administration who used the Fusion GPS allegations to spy on the Trump campaign. Too many of the people Mueller hired were outright involved in coordinating with Fusion GPS in 2016, and thus had an interest in pushing the collusion hoax.
A Witch Hunt that Caught Many
Some people surrounding Trump were smarmy, and Mueller got convictions involving misreporting wealth to receive a loan, or failure to pay taxes. But one wonders what the results would be if all Americans had someone scrutinizing their financial documents. Al Sharpton, for example, owes millions in unpaid taxes.
In other words, if you were ever tied to Trump, you were treated differently. Flynn, for example, faces financial ruin. He was charged with lying to the FBI, even though the agents Yates had sent to trap him didn’t think he was lying. He only capitulated after Mueller began to go after his son.If you were ever tied to Trump, you were treated differently.
George Papadopoulos was charged with lying to investigators, because he said he hadn’t joined the Trump campaign on a certain date when, really, he hadn’t officially joined, but was aware that he would be added. Other witnesses, little known to the public, spent thousands of dollars in legal fees just to avoid getting rung up on perjury charges such as these.
Meanwhile, in just a few examples of abuse that have gone yet unpunished, Fusion GPS’s Simpson lied to Congress under oath, and Steele lied to the FBI. Comey and McCabe engaged in criminal leaks, as did other intelligence officials. Anti-Trump FBI guy Peter Strzok, who was added to the Mueller team, had his texts magically disappear between the day of the last Steele memo and the day Mueller was appointed special counsel. Other texts disappeared too. And oversight attempts by congressional Republicans routinely met excuses that information was classified, when it really just was damaging or embarrassing to the FBI.
To this day, Fusion GPS is being funded by Democrats, led by a former Sen. Dianne Feinstein staffer, to continue to push a collusion narrative. Court documents even show that Fusion GPS has paid, and may continue to be paying, journalists such as NBC’s Ken Dilanian who participate in spinning their narrative.
The America Hillary Clinton Hath Wrought
This chain of events has damaged the country in ways we don’t even fully understand yet. This thing won’t go away in a couple of years.
Real people—and loyal Americans—were harmed, like Carter Page. The harm to the country has been immense. Americans have lost faith in elections. Henceforth, every presidential election for two decades will be subject to wild and mainstream claims of vote-rigging.Whoever loses in 2020 will claim the other side cheated or worse. That has always existed in politics, but now it is fully mainstream.
Already, an astonishing near-70 percent of Democrats believe Russia manipulated vote tallies to get Trump elected. Almost half of all American voters believe there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Whoever loses in 2020 will claim the other side cheated or worse. That has always existed in politics, but now it is fully mainstream. Stacey Abrams, a Democrat running for governor in Georgia, has refused to concede. Democrat Andrew Gillum, running for governor in Florida, conceded then walked it back, only to concede again.
Regular American families who used to agree to disagree about politics are now at each other’s throats. After all, the media has been telling people that Trump is a traitor. How could any decent person support a traitor?
The Russia fiasco, aside from dividing Americans, has also furthered the divide between the Beltway and the rest of the country. Middle America realized how bad Washington DC is, if we didn’t know already. Things in DC are less top-secret than they are seedy. The nexus between Fusion GPS, the Obama administration, and Hillary’s campaign is astonishing, but it also isn’t. Americans now don’t trust any of their institutions, including federal law enforcement and the media.
The damage to America’s interests, and a rational foreign policy discourse, has also been far-reaching and yet to be realized. We shouldn’t be friends with Russia, but there are areas where cooperation with Russia—based on hard-nosed realism—is in America’s interest. But diplomacy with Russia is now taboo, which is helping China by strengthening and cementing a growing Beijing-Moscow alliance.
Americans also realized that the country was more complicated than Republicans versus Democrats. True liberals stood out, like Michael Tracey, Glenn Greenwald, and Matt Taibbi. We can disagree vehemently over certain issues, but these men, and those like them, are honorable and principled. If Michael Hastings were with us today—another liberal who asked tough questions about unelected people in power—he’d be proud.
Liberalism Is Dead
But aside from this remnant, liberalism is dead. It has been replaced by an insane, corporatist, identity-politics-fueled, and, yes, pagan mob that would only be possible in a country sliding towards post-Christianity. The new left is power-hungry, wants nothing to do with the traditional working class, and the ends always justify the means.
They are desperate to blame any atrocity or act of violence on conservatives, while ignoring or even excusing the acts of violence perpetrated by those on their own side. They are literally pining for the day that they can throw Trump and his entire family in jail. Maybe even as an old man, after he leaves office. Let that sink in.Conservative voters are having a gradual epiphany. They are starting to realize what they are up against.
That’s the America that Rod Rosenstein, Bob Mueller, and Hillary Clinton created. Yet there is a silver lining. Conservative voters are having a gradual epiphany. They are starting to realize what they are up against.
The epiphany is not limited to the left. Conservatives (some barely so) like Bill Kristol, Max Boot, Jonah Goldberg, and David French, also emerged as misguided has-beens at best. Kristol famously said he prefers “the deep state” over democracy because voters picked Trump. These men refused to let go of hopes of collusion, for which there was no evidence, due to their personal vendettas and distaste for Trump. The conservative movement is better off without people like Kristol and Boot.
Worse, constitutionalists like Sen. Ben Sasse, who might have legitimate ideological differences with Trump, refused to see the “Russia investigation” and the constant anonymous leaks as the abuse of bureaucratic power that they were. Too many elected Republican officials in D.C. share this problem. The sooner voters realize this, the better.The leftwing media and our vast bureaucracy are an enemy to constitutional governance. Again, the sooner we realize this the better.
The leftwing media in the country—which many conservatives used to take at face value—has lost all credibility. But this too has a silver lining. The leftwing media and our vast bureaucracy are an enemy to constitutional governance. Again, the sooner we realize this the better.
Democrats have dug themselves so deeply in this hole that they have no choice but to double-down. That may help ensure Trump’s reelection in 2020. And therein lies the answer to all of this. We should certainly reform the intelligence agencies, which are desperately in need of greater oversight, and seek to end selective enforcement of federal law. Trump should run in 2020 talking about this, instead of making the issue solely about his own experience.
But the ultimate solution is deterrence: make those involved in this hoax, especially those in government jobs who hold the public trust, accountable to our laws. Make every unelected official, Democrat or Republican, think twice about abusing his or her power in the future.
A pejorative description has been narrowed in application in this article postpublication.Willis L. Krumholz is a fellow at Defense Priorities. He holds a JD and MBA degree from the University of St. Thomas, and works in the financial services industry. The views expressed are those of the author only. You can follow Willis on Twitter @WillKrumholz.
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