Rather than licking their wounds over the election, Democrats are just standing there bleeding out, still very much in denial that they lost. It grows more evident with each passing day. Yesterday a reporter called the president’s wife a “hooker” and a columnist compared Trump’s election to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Today they’re foaming at the mouth over a 1,300-word conspiracy theory, also a product of The New York Times, about the Trump campaign’s contact with Russian. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has called it “bigger than Watergate.” Of course they did.
According to The Times, phone records examined by U.S. intelligence officials show that Trump campaign officials “had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials.”
The “senior Russian intelligence officials” may actually be just “Russian intelligence officials,” and may in fact be only “Russian officials” or even plain old “Russians” known to U.S. intelligence officials, which, though confusing, is not the same thing. What we do know is that nobody has confirmed the identities of said Russians. Better than that, nobody has confirmed the identities of the sources of these claims.
According to The Times, four unnamed sources at unnamed intelligence agencies “sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.”
WARNING: What follows may shock you!
After months of investigating the matter, “they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.”
All of this non-news was allegedly “alarming” to the four anonymous sources because the contact occurred “while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president” and stating that he “hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.”
The No. 1 Rule of Media Literacy: never trust quotations that aren’t in quotes.
The claim that he spoke “glowingly” Vladimir Putin refers to to then-candidate Trump’s statement that Putin was “far more of a leader” to Russia than Obama was to the United States.
“I have nothing to do with Russia. I said that Putin has much better leadership qualities than Obama, but who doesn’t know that?”
The point was not that Putin is a saint but that Obama is an idiot.
The claim that Trump “hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public” is also wrong. Trump actually said,
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
This was an attempt at humor, not a statement of fact that Russia stole emails that ought to be made public.
The real unravelling of the story begins when The Times finally names the one person on the campaign who had contact with Russia. Unsurprisingly, it’s the same person everybody already knew had contact with Russia, one-time Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort.
Manafort, The Times accurately notes:
- has not been charged (because contact with foreigners is not illegal),
- could not be wiretapped (due to lack of evidence), and
- flatly denied any allegations of wrongdoing, calling them “absurd.”
In a moment of rare honesty, The Times admits, “it is not unusual for American businessmen to come in contact with foreign intelligence officials, sometimes unwittingly, in countries like Russia and Ukraine, where the spy services are deeply embedded in society.” Of course it’s not. It’s not uncommon for American businessmen to come into contact with foreign officials anywhere in the world. In fact, that’s probably what makes businessmen successful.
“Law enforcement officials,” The Times continued, “did not say to what extent the contacts might have been about business.” Of course they didn’t.
It makes you wonder what else was not disclosed in the The Times’ article. Here’s a list:
- details about what was discussed on the alleged calls,
- the identity of the alleged Russians who participated,
- how many Trump advisers were involved,
- the identities of said Trump advisers,
- “whether the conversations had anything to do with Mr. Trump himself,”
- whether the allegations of election meddling involved the Trump campaign,
- a comment from the F.B.I.,
- a comment from the N.S.A.,
- a comment from the White House,
- whether Trump associates’ phone calls were examined,
- confirmations that any of the #goldenshower dossier conspiracies contained any truth whatsoever,
- the mere existence of the “embarrassing videos” of Trump allegedly participating in a Russian prostitute micturation party.
On Face the Nation, John Dickerson asked both Vice President Mike Pence and Trump counsellor Kellyanne Conway if anyone on the Trump team was in communication with “Russians who were trying to meddle in the election.” The answer from both was no. Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday asked Pence if there was “contact in any way between Trump or his associates and the Kremlin or cutouts they had?” Again, the answer was no.
Even the sensational Washington Post is admitting that this is fake news. Reporter Aaron Blake observed that the reports didn’t show contact with anyone believed to be “meddling” in the election, nor did they show “direct contact with the Kremlin—only Russian intelligence officials or Russians known to U.S. intelligence (whose status might not have been known to the Trump campaign team, per the Times)” (emphasis added).
The real story here is about collusion and corruption, but it’s not about Trump and Russia. It’s about a failed attempt by the DNC and the mainstream media to rig an election for Hillary Clinton. It’s about Democrats being dumbfounded not only with the fact that Donald J. Trump occupies the White House, but that the Democratic agenda and the Obama legacy were so brazenly repudiated by the American electorate. It’s about denial, and an attempt to divert attention from a scandal most Americans no longer care. We’ve moved on. Democrats should too.