With Robert Mueller’s report complete and the special counsel’s conclusion that neither President Trump nor anyone associated with his campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election, or to hack Hillary Clinton and Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails, it is time for the president’s critics to accept reality: There was no Trump-Russia collusion.
There was, however, a scandalous abuse of the rule of law by Obama administration officials and career Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation employees, a shameful politicization of the Russia investigation by congressional Democrats, and a disgraceful abdication of journalistic integrity by many members of the media.
While we still do not know the entire string of shenanigans pulled by those running the Russia collusion investigation, the details exposed to date should shock Americans. The DOJ and FBI used unverified opposition research to obtain a court order to surveil a former Trump advisor, and thereby obtain access to past campaign communiques.
In applying for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) order, the DOJ and FBI did not disclose to the secret surveillance court that the DNC and Clinton funded the Christopher Steele dossier. The FISA application also did not inform the court of Steele’s bias and his desperation to keep Trump out of the White House.
The FISA application also relied on double and triple hearsay, and on unnamed and unknown sources, lacking a trail of reliable intelligence. Further, while the released FISA applications remain heavily redacted, the details disclosed suggest that the DOJ and FBI did not update the court on developments, such as statements made by key witnesses during interviews with agents.
More troubling still was the DOJ and FBI’s false assertion in the FISA application that Steele no longer served as a source when in reality Steele continued to feed DOJ lawyer Bruce Ohr the supposed intel on Trump and then, as arranged, Ohr relayed Steele’s opposition research to the dedicated agent the FBI provided.
When these facts began to surface, congressional Republicans sought to exercise their oversight responsibilities, while the other side of the aisle resisted. Concern for the rule of law should transcend political expediencies, but the last two years proves that it hasn’t.
Throughout all this, the media stood complicit. Nearly every major media outlet—broadcast television or cable, print or internet—soiled the president’s name, seeking to convict him of collusion in the public’s eye. As well-crafted narratives crumbled, the press simply moved to new theories of complicity, while ignoring evidence of DOJ and FBI misconduct.
Timely leaks, from DOJ and FBI employees and congressional representatives and staffers, proliferated the Russia-collusion hoax. Major media outlets lapped up the leaks—first of the FISA surveillance of former Trump advisor Carter Page and then of the briefings of President Obama and president-elect Trump of the details of the dossier.
The drips and drops continued after Trump’s inauguration, with the press amplifying each new detail in a move to convince Americans that we had a traitor in the White House. (And don’t forget the special counsel probe began in response to former FBI director James Comey’s leak of notes he took after speaking with President Trump!)
Even with Mueller’s report finished, the spin continues, with the media highlighting the number of criminal charges stemming from the special counsel’s probe and stressing that several of those convicted worked for Trump or volunteered for his presidential campaign. Ignored, though, is the reality that none of the charges related to the purported collusion with Russia or criminal conduct connected to Trump or the election.
Also ignored is the ongoing multi-prong investigation into DOJ and FBI misconduct in their handling of the Russia probe. Little has been said of the criminal referral of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.
Many Americans remain ignorant of the DOJ inspector general’s continuing investigation into misconduct by career FBI employees, such as the lead agent in the Russia probe, Peter Strzok. Also, while Robert Mueller is a household name, U.S. Attorney John Huber lives in obscurity, even though former attorney general Jeff Sessions charged him with the equally important investigation of the investigators.
The mainstream media can still rehabilitate itself by covering these pending investigations. Or they can cement their complicity with the Russia-collusion hoax by remaining silent about the true scandal—the abuse of the vast investigative powers of the federal government that were unleashed against a political enemy.