The New York Times published an opinion article Sunday by Charles M. Blow titled, “What Would Happen If,” which attempts to argue that the day of reckoning with accusations of Trump-Russia collusion has arrived for President Trump supporters. RealClearPolitics.com assigned it the misleading click-bait title, “It’s Becoming Clear Trump Colluded with Russia.”
I’ve been searching for a coherent and updated Russia collusion piece for some time, because it’s been so clear for so long that the Trump-Russia collusion story is a hoax. What am I missing? Maybe this New York Times article can explain to me how liberals continue to believe the story in spite of the mounting evidence to the contrary. I thirst for evidence contradicting my beliefs, because I find it so hard to believe that honest liberal journalists would knowingly continue to advance a story that appears to have been so thoroughly debunked as a hoax. So I took the bait and clicked.
Blow begins with one of those famous “We know” statements that pundits tend to use when they actually don’t know, but don’t want to argue threshold assumptions. “A crime has been committed by Russia and Trump cheered the crime and used the loot thereof to advance his candidacy,” Blow writes. “That is clear.” I looked for a hyperlink to support this bold statement, to no avail. I’m left to guess what he means. What crime? What loot?
For almost two years now, the Trump-Russia people have deliberately and lazily conflated Russian-initiated advocacy on social media with actual hacking of election machines and tampering with votes (here, here, here, and here, for example). So this “crime” Blow tells us has clearly been committed could be the Russian troll cases (still mere allegations), in which the U.S. government is prosecuting political speech by foreigners (but only when the speech harms Hillary Clinton). I’m pretty sure that when it’s all said and done, the Supreme Court is not going to agree that criticizing Hillary Clinton is a crime.
For a more detailed write-up, click here. Alternatively, the crime to which Blow so un-clearly refers might be the case against the named Russian GRU operatives, which again, are mere allegations and not proven. That case will likely never see the inside of a courtroom and probably ended with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s self-congratulatory press conference. To quote Rosenstein during the press conference: “There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime. There is no allegation that the conspiracy changed the vote count or affected any election result.”
I assume “any American citizen” includes candidate Donald Trump. Indeed, the culpability for the Democratic National Committee server hack and the John Podesta email hack have not been established beyond the mere indictment. As far as the DNC server is concerned, intelligence experts have offered plausible alternate theories. Why is this still not clear two years after the hack? Because the DNC’s subcontractor Crowdstrike likely destroyed the original evidence before obtaining a third-party review of its attribution accusing the Russians.
Blow’s next claim is that “The Russians made repeated attempts to contact people in Trump’s orbit and in some cases were able to meet with members of the team, as evidenced by the Trump Tower meeting.” Who are these “Russians” who made repeated attempts to contact people in Trump’s orbit? Is he referring to the George Papadopolous stings in which Joseph Misfud and Stefan Halper pretended to represent Russia while attempting to entice Papadopolous into an audio-recorded sting? Those two characters represented the FBI or the CIA, or both. Not the Russians.
Or is he talking about Oleg Deripaska, who, as The New York Times reported, refused an attempt by Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Bruce Ohr to pull another sting against the Trump campaign?
Then there is Blow’s citation of the Trump Tower meeting. The “Russian” at the meeting was a lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was connected to Fusion GPS. I did a detailed debunking of this example here.
Recall, Fusion GPS is at the center of the hoax framing Trump for Russian collusion. Fusion GPS made the Hillary Clinton “dirt” that Veselnitskaya used as bait for the meeting. This same Russian lawyer met with Fusion GPS before and after the Trump Tower meeting. It’s a clear indication that Blow doesn’t care about the truth that he fails to identify these flaws in the Trump Tower meeting and collusion theory.
Blow also wrote that it’s“clear” that, “since assuming office, Trump has openly attempted to obstruct justice and damage or impede the investigation into what the Russians did …” I’m going to be honest here, I actually don’t know what he’s talking about. Without giving me a date, a link, a tweet, or something that Blow is calling “obstruction,” I’m unable to follow what he’s saying is so “clear” to all of us.
Then, buried near the middle of the article, is the admission that his entire piece is just idle cocktail chatter converted to text: “But what happens if the evidence that the investigation by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, uncovers … a direct link between Trump and the Russians?” That’s not reporting. That’s fantasizing. What on earth has The New York Times been doing the last two years with an army of sympathetic investigators in the special counsel?
Blow goes on to ask, “How would Americans who support Trump now respond to evidence that Team Trump put their own personal and financial interests over the national interest?” Perhaps it’s time to ask the converse. In the absence of a “direct link between Trump and the Russians” after two years of looking, how will the NeverTrumper media and Mueller team respond to the president’s innocence? After two years without evidence, it might be time to stop telling people that something that can’t and hasn’t been proven after all this time is “clear.”
Shame on The New York Times for printing this unsupported and irresponsible speculation. This kind of journalism is doing real harm to our democracy. A majority of Democrats think Russia tampered with vote tallies, which is absolutely incorrect. If this kind of misleading journalism is necessary to keep the story going, it makes me more confident than ever that this is all a hoax.