In a torrent of new revelations about the Trump-Russia collusion investigation, conservatives found their worst fears confirmed: It seems the Obama administration did indeed target the opposing party’s presidential campaign without evidence of collusion and set a perjury trap for retired General Mike Flynn in order to cover up their malfeasance. Conservative media has been aghast at these revelations, but left-leaning journalists seemingly prefer to ignore them.
Take Brian Stelter, for example. The host of CNN’s Reliable Sources, Stelter has expressed his disappointment that so many conservative journalists are so hung up on the Russia probe all of a sudden. It’s not like a sitting president targeting the political opponent of his hand-picked successor for a national intelligence probe is a big deal, right? I mean, why can’t they just move on?
“It’s so disappointing to look at what we’re seeing from right-wing media these days where there’s so much obsession with the deep state and these revelations about the Russia probe,” Stelter said on Sunday.
Stelter himself should know a thing or two about “obsession” with the Russia probe. The Washington Free Beacon compiled a short video clip showcasing the CNN host’s own obsession with Russia — when Obama administration officials (who admitted in sworn testimony that they had seen no evidence Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia) leaked the scandalous story of collusion to the media.
— Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) May 12, 2020
The Free Beacon’s David Rutz put Stelter’s complaint with right-wing “obsession” down as a matter of “projection,” but I think it has more to do with the CNN host trying to dismiss the real story of what President Donald Trump has termed “Obamagate.”
You see, the apparent perjury trap set for Michael Flynn revealed the ugly depths to which the Intelligence Community would sink to maintain the collusion narrative. The transcripts of House Intelligence Committee testimony revealed that most of the intelligence actors in the investigation did not have any evidence to suspect collusion. The mostly-unredacted scope memo laying out the reasoning behind appointing Special Counsel Robert Mueller has laid bare the utter baselessness of the case against Trump.
This drew new attention to a January 5, 2017, meeting in which Obama directed Comey and others to “inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team.” It appears Obama was setting up a “deep state,” pitting top-level intelligence officials against the incoming president they were bound to serve.
Democrats and former Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI officials seemingly tried to distract from this tsunami of new evidence by condemning Attorney General William Barr’s decision to drop the Flynn case, despite the heinous abuses against Flynn. This should come back to bite them, but it was arguably the only play they had.
There has always been good reason to suspect the collusion investigation went all the way to the top (to Obama himself), but recent revelations have only added to that suspicion. Obama’s former National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s last-minute email to herself insisting that Obama wanted everything done “by the book” was remarkably suspicious, as was FBI lawyer Lisa Page’s text saying “potus [President of the United States] wants to know everything we’re doing.”
As former U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy wrote at National Review, the FBI coordinated “very closely with the Obama White House on the investigation of Michael Flynn, while the Obama Justice Department was asleep at the switch.” As PJ Media’s Matt Margolis noted, it is looking more and more like the Russia probe was a rogue operation of the White House. Indeed, Attorney General Barr noted that FBI Director James Comey “purposely went around the Justice Department and ignored Deputy Attorney General [Sally] Yates.”
As former Vice President Joe Biden would likely put it, a sitting president launching a politically-motivated investigation into his chosen successor’s opponent without any concrete evidence and then directing his intelligence officials to undermine the incoming president is “a big f***ing deal.”
Rather than complaining about conservative media’s alleged “obsession” with the Russia probe, perhaps Stelter should take a close look at the evidence and reconsider his position. Of course, that might mean coming to grips with the fact that he aided in this historic attempt to weaponize the intelligence community and tarnish Trump with an utterly false narrative. Perhaps ignoring this story is a matter of self-preservation for “journalists” like him.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.