Unexamined Premises

For Real 'Russian Collusion,' Look to the Democrats

(Gillian Jones/The Berkshire Eagle via AP)

In trying to lob a Molotov cocktail into the Trump White House, the New York Times last Friday succeeded only in blowing off yet another of its appendages. Fixated on its manic desire to destabilize the lawfully elected government of the United States (at what point does the “Resistance” become active sedition?), the media has chosen to fight as down and dirty as possible, and in so doing hit a new low:

In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.

The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.

The investigation the F.B.I. opened into Mr. Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Mr. Comey constituted obstruction of justice.

This is, in a nutshell, the heart of the MSM’s “case” against the president, a mixture of wishful thinking, venality, and downright criminality. It is also one of the most egregious cases of psychological projection we’ve ever seen, for reasons that will soon become clear. The Times and the rest of its media fellow travelers simply cannot accept that a) Trump won the election fair and square under our Constitution, b) was fully within his right to fire James Comey for any reason or no reason at all, c) and has not had a single legal charge laid against him, not even when the Straight Arrow was unlawfully appointed to lead a “counter-intelligence” investigation into whether there had been Russian “collusion” with the Trump campaign during the 2016 election cycle.

Deep down, of course, they know all this, but they don’t care. The fight has become too personal and too ugly for them to stop now. It’s no surprise that the reanimated journalistic corpses of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein have emerged from their tombs to lead the aging Baby Boomers in one last chorus of the Watergate Rag before the cock crows and the graveyards close up again. Having brought down one president on their way up the ladder, the surviving cohort seeks to bring down another as they tumble back down.

Here’s part of Times‘ fantasy:

The criminal and counterintelligence elements were coupled together into one investigation, former law enforcement officials said in interviews in recent weeks, because if Mr. Trump had ousted the head of the F.B.I. to impede or even end the Russia investigation, that was both a possible crime and a national security concern. The F.B.I.’s counterintelligence division handles national security matters.

If the president had fired Mr. Comey to stop the Russia investigation, the action would have been a national security issue because it naturally would have hurt the bureau’s effort to learn how Moscow interfered in the 2016 election and whether any Americans were involved, according to James A. Baker, who served as F.B.I. general counsel until late 2017. He privately testified in October before House investigators who were examining the F.B.I.’s handling of the full Russia inquiry.

“Not only would it be an issue of obstructing an investigation, but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure out what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security,” Mr. Baker said in his testimony, portions of which were read to The New York Times. Mr. Baker did not explicitly acknowledge the existence of the investigation of Mr. Trump to congressional investigators.

That’s the theory, anyway. Now, here come the facts — in the very next paragraph:

No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials. 

My friend Andy McCarthy pantsed this latest foray into hallucination thusly:

On Friday night, the New York Times published what was clearly intended to be a blockbuster report that, following the firing of FBI director James Comey on May 9, 2017, the bureau formally opened an investigation of President Trump. But in truth, the only thing the story shows is that the FBI, after over a year of investigation, simply went overt about something that had been true from the first. The investigation commenced during the 2016 campaign by the Obama administration – the Justice Department and the FBI – was always about Donald Trump.

We have to remember: The FBI believed the Steele dossier – the collection of faux intelligence reports compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, who was ultimately working for the Hillary Clinton campaign. The Justice Department on four occasions brought surveillance applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), in which the FBI swore that it believed the dossier allegations.

Ostensibly, the surveillance application targeted Carter Page. But Page was just a side issue. The dossier was principally about Trump – not Page, not Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, or other Trump associates referred to by Steele. The dossier’s main allegation was that Trump was in an espionage conspiracy with Russia to swing the election to Trump, after which Trump would do Putin’s bidding from the White House. The FBI and the Obama Justice Department could not verify the dossier, but they undeniably believed it.

Of course they did. They believed it because not only did they want to believe it, they had to believe in order for their carefully constructed world-view to survive. History is supposed to arc toward justice, not boomerang back and hit the cultural Marxists in the tush. A boor like Donald J. Trump not only should not have been elected president, it was impossible that he actually was elected president. Therefore, some nefarious forces must have been at play — and once they are rooted out, down goes Trump, and progressive order and sanity are restored.

This is rich, coming from this lot. For decades, the American Left has been in, yes, active collusion with Russia and Moscow Central. The Soviets penetrated the ranks of the American journalistic establishment, not only at the New York Times — and Walter Duranty was only the tip of the iceberg — but even suborned the so-called “independent” journalists like Izzy Stone and turned them into willing agents of influence.

Andy makes a convincing case that the entire FBI/Mueller charade was a way to cover their own malfeasance in — at the Obama administration’s behest and with Hillary Clinton’s willing collusion — surveilling the Republican candidate and trying to torpedo his campaign under the guise of “national security.”

The FBI and DOJ knew this would be controversial – the incumbent administration spying on the opposition campaign in the absence of corroborated evidence of a crime. So, they designed the investigation in a way that allowed them to focus on Trump without saying they were doing so. Before Trump was elected, they papered the files to indicate that they were focusing on the Trump campaign or people connected to it, like Page and Papadopoulos. This way, they could try to collect evidence about Trump without formally documenting that Trump was the target.

After Trump was elected, the FBI realized that Trump was soon going to have access to government intelligence files. If they honestly told the president-elect that they had been investigating his campaign in hope of making a case on him, they had to be concerned that he would shut the investigation down and clean house at the FBI and DOJ. So, they misleadingly told him the investigation was about Russia and a few stray people in his campaign, but they assured him he personally was not under investigation.

This was not true. The investigation was always hoping to find something on Trump. That is why, for example, when director Comey briefed then-President-elect Trump about the Steele dossier, he told Trump only about the salacious allegation involving prostitutes in a Moscow hotel; he did not tell the president-elect either that the main thrust of the dossier was Trump’s purported espionage conspiracy with the Kremlin, nor that the FBI had gone to the FISC to get surveillance warrants based on the dossier. The FBI was telling the president-elect that the allegations were salacious and unverified, yet at that very moment they were presenting them to a federal court as information the judges could rely on to authorize spying.

Joseph diGenova and his wife, Victoria Toensing, lawyers both, put it this way:

In fact, “The Gray Lady” was covering the derrieres of the Obama administration officialsinvolved in the cabal to frame Trump, who now fear an imminent Special Counsel finding that during the 2016 campaign there was no collusion between Trump and the Russians. The article is intended to convey the following message: Even though there was no evidence to support the allegations, those making the decision to investigate Trump did so in good faith.

No, they did not. The rotting of the FBI hierarchy began when then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and then-agent Peter Strzok, enabled by former Director James Comey and the Obama-era Justice Department, utilized an “unsubstantiated” dossier created by former British spy, Christopher Steele, and financed by the Clinton campaign, to request a FISA warrant to wiretap Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. Yet, the New York Times described the dossier as a “factor fuel[ing]” the “FBI’s concerns.”

The New York Times story was created to obfuscate the real criminal conspiracy: violation of Title 18 of U.S. Code Section 242, which prohibits any person under color of law (i.e. Obama administration personnel) to deprive another of “rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution.” Such legal protection includes being free from a criminal investigation based on false charges.

Still, who can be surprised? When it comes to national elections, the Democrats invented the concept of colluding with the Russians. We know, for example, that the late Edward Moore Kennedy, the “lion of the Senate,” actively solicited the KGB’s help in denying Ronald Reagan a second term in the White House. And Teddy went straight to the top:

It was a May 14, 1983 letter from the head of the KGB, Viktor Chebrikov, to the head of the USSR, the odious Yuri Andropov, with the highest level of classification. Chebrikov relayed to Andropov an offer from Senator Ted Kennedy, presented by Kennedy’s old friend and law-school buddy, John Tunney, a former Democratic senator from California, to reach out to the Soviet leadership at the height of a very hot time in the Cold War. According to Chebrikov, Kennedy was deeply troubled by the deteriorating relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union, which he believed was bringing us perilously close to nuclear confrontation. Kennedy, according to Chebrikov, blamed this situation not on the Soviet leadership but on the American president—Ronald Reagan. Not only was the USSR not to blame, but, said Chebrikov, Kennedy was, quite the contrary, “very impressed” with Andropov.

The thrust of the letter is that Reagan had to be stopped, meaning his alleged aggressive defense policies, which then ranged from the Pershing IIs to the MX to SDI, and even his re-election bid, needed to be stopped. It was Ronald Reagan who was the hindrance to peace. That view of Reagan is consistent with things that Kennedy said and wrote at the time, including articles in sources like Rolling Stone (March 1984) and in a speeches like his March 24, 1983 remarks on the Senate floor the day after Reagan’s SDI speech, which he lambasted as “misleading Red-Scare tactics and reckless Star Wars schemes.”

This shameful episode came right at the time the American media was indulging in one of its periodic love affairs with the Soviet leadership; Andropov, the head of the KGB-turned-Soviet premier, was routinely depicted as a whisky-sipping jazz lover, in contrast to the insane cowboy, Reagan, in the White House. As it happened, I spent a good deal of time behind the Iron Curtain during this period, and can attest that the Russians and their vassals were hysterical about the Pershing missiles and the specter of the Strategic Defense Initiative, better known as “Star Wars.” They were about to lose the Cold War, and both they and their allies at the Times and in the Democrat Party knew it.

Even more interesting than Kennedy’s diagnosis was the prescription: According to Chebrikov, Kennedy suggested a number of PR moves to help the Soviets in terms of their public image with the American public. He reportedly believed that the Soviet problem was a communication problem, resulting from an inability to counter Reagan’s (not the USSR’s) “propaganda.” If only Americans could get through Reagan’s smokescreen and hear the Soviets’ peaceful intentions.

So, there was a plan, or at least a suggested plan, to hook up Andropov and other senior apparatchiks with the American media, where they could better present their message and make their case. Specifically, the names of Walter Cronkite and Barbara Walters are mentioned in the document. Also, Kennedy himself would travel to Moscow to meet with the dictator.

What, one might ask, is the famous Trump Tower meeting set against this act of treason? As Lee Smith, the best investigative reporter in Washington, notes:

The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between high-ranking members of the Republican presidential  campaign staff and a Russian lawyer with Kremlin ties remains the cornerstone of claims that Donald Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election.

A growing body of evidence, however, indicates that the meeting may have been a setup — part of a broad effort to tarnish the Trump campaign involving Hillary Clinton operatives employed by Kremlin-linked figures and Department of Justice officials. This view, that the real collusion may have taken place among those who arranged the meeting rather than the Trump officials who agreed to attend it, is supported by two disparate lines of evidence pulled together for the first time here: newly released records and a pattern of efforts to connect the Trump campaign to Russia.

None of this, however, is likely to deter the American media on its quixotic path to self-destruction. Led by the Times — and as I like to say on Twitter: break the Times and you break the Left, since the Democrat Party is merely the legal fiction that allows the newspaper to weaponize its policy prescriptions — the media is all-in for 2020. Having already experimented with “ballot harvesting” in California, which gave them most of their current House majority, they’ll be looking to go nationwide with “reforms” that would make it even easier to vote than it already is. Unless the Republicans are prepared to fight in the precinct trenches, they’d might as well pack it in right now: the Democrats may be evil but they’re not stupid, and you can bet they won’t be blindsided by Trump a second time.

Because right about now, impeachment ain’t looking so likely as they’d like you to believe:

ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl says his sources tell him that Robert Mueller’s anticipated report on the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Moscow is “almost certain to be anti-climactic.”

“There have been expectations that have been building, of course, for over a year,” Karl told “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. “But people who are closest to what Mueller has been doing, interacting with the special counsel, caution me that this report is almost certain to be anti-climactic.”

“If you look at what the FBI was investigating in that New York Times report, you look at what they were investigating, Mueller did not go anywhere with that investigation,” Karl continued. “He has been writing his report in real time through these indictments and we have seen nothing from Mueller on the central question of, was there any coordination, collusion, with the Russians in the effort to meddle in the elections? Or was there even any knowledge on the part of the president or anybody in his campaign with what the Russians were doing, there’s been no indication of that.

As McCarthy notes, the small fry like Carter Page and George Papadopoulos were always only the means to the larger end, which was and always has been: get Trump. When you consider that the unofficial motto of the Democrats is, “by any means necessary,” you also understand just how serious this entire attack on the orderly workings of the American electoral system has been. There should be a price to be paid — and let’s hope, when it comes, that it’s terrible.