How much have the congressional investigations into possible Russian meddling in our election and collusion between Trump & Co. and the Russians cost so far and how much are they going to cost?
I doubt we will ever know — specific figures on such matters always seem to get smudged in the bookkeeping. But, although billions may be an exaggeration, I’d bet my house and everybody else’s that when you added it all up, the number would be staggering on legal fees and research alone, not to mention the extraordinary waste of legislative time better spent on myriad topics far more consequential to the public. It would be fascinating if some eager investigative reporter would take it on her/his self to explore this, especially with infrastructure legislation about to battle its way through the House and Senate. Exactly how many bridges, highways, airports, hospitals, schools etc. could have been built for the cost of these investigations? If it’s even one, it’s a scandal.
That’s because we have learned exactly nothing from these empty events, except that Donald Trump (like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Susan Rice and roughly 7/8ths — make that 17/18ths — of the Beltway) occasionally, or more than occasionally, lies. The hearings also reveal to some extent which senators and congressmen and women are better at asking questions, if that is significant information. (It could be gleaned more economically elsewhere.) The hearings have further given various media companies opportunities galore for so-called scoops (so-called because a shocking number, based as they were almost exclusively on anonymous illegal leaks, turned out to be utter prevarications, many of them despicably so). But that’s about it. If you’re looking for important and/or useful information, you’re, as they say, sh… out of luck.
The hearings have also succeeded to an unfortunate extent in their only real mission — impeding or even destroying the possibility of the changes that had been voted for by the American public in the previous election. Speaking of billions, how do you put a price on that?
At first, I was for the appointment of a special counsel because I thought it would obviate the need for this endless dog-and-pony show. I underestimated — in retrospect, how could I have? — the insatiable need for our representatives to display their purported gravitas in a turgid spectacle for the television cameras. Oh, how the monumental hypocrites frown and grimace at the thought of a collusion with Russia they knew to have been nonexistent six months ago.
Actually, it’s longer than that, because I’m not sure when we first heard of “Big Bad Manafort” and how Russians had hacked the Democratic Party servers — maybe closer to a year now. I guess that break-in is significant in some way, but it seems like technological child’s play, sort of like breaking into Hillary’s bathroom server. It’s nowhere near as impressive as what the U.S. and Israeli techs supposedly did to the Iranian nuclear program. Of course, that’s assuming the break-in was really the Russians and not some Rumanian teenagers or … oh, why bother? That’s all when Barack Obama was president, on his watch, and there’s no incentive on the part of our media and body politic to find out anything that wasn’t Trump’s responsibility. (Maybe they’ll make Trump retroactively president for when anything bad happened. How about Trump caused the Bay of Pigs debacle? Don’t laugh. There’s a Russian connection.) Nor is there an incentive to look at the other equally obvious problem — that it was the FBI under James Comey that bobbled the Russian hacking ball big time. They were the ones who were supposed to be guarding our cyber facilities in this modern age when everyone knows that’s the most important of new battlefields. They failed miserably and embarrassingly. The FBI didn’t even bother to investigate the DNC sever themselves, leaving that in the hands of a contractor. The incompetency factor is, well, frightening.
That failure is what should be under investigation — and certainly not in Congress because I doubt there’s a single member with the technical expertise to contribute anything substantive on the subject. More likely they couldn’t understand the rudiments of the hacking if a full discussion were placed on their desks and they were given two weeks to understand it. Perhaps if the hearings were held at an annual gamers convention they would reveal something worthwhile.
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already. He tweets @rogerlsimon.