The Real Russia Scandal

For months you could the word echoing from congressional offices and television studios all over Washington: RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA! The very people who spent seventy years making excuses for the Soviet Union, were suddenly convinced that Russian agents had visited our shores in the dead of night to murder American democracy and to install their puppet in our White House; Trump won because of Vladimir Putin, that was their claim. It seem confusing to most people, but to the ruling class, the explanation made perfect sense. How else could their candidate, the candidate of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, have lost last year’s November election?

Well, the media assured them that would never happen. In fact about a year ago, the New York Times ran this prediction: “Hillary Clinton has a 93% chance to win” and they believed it. When she didn’t win, the elites assumed that a foreign power must have intervened. No other explanation made sense to them. They only thing they lacked was evidence that it actually happened. And so to find that, they told us that we needed an immediate all hands on deck investigation of Russian interference. So we got one, boy did we. It turned out to be one of the most comprehensive investigations of anything in the history of this country. The FBI kicked it off and was soon joined by a fully staffed office of an independent counsel, as well as both houses of Congress. Almost every media outlet in America jumped obediently on board, pouring massive resources into a news story that started to look a lot like a conspiracy theory. An entire generation of non-russian speaking cable news hosts remade themselves into amateur kremlinologists. Frenzy spun out of control. And soon, liberals were not simply talking about a stolen election, but about war. Actual war.

“If Russia is going to keep attacking America, then America really should fight back. There is an entire building in St. Petersburg filled with a Russian ‘troll army’, creating thousands of tweets, memes, news site comments, and flat-out fake news stories, designed not to take sides on any issue, but just to get us fighting about it. Hillary Clinton spent over one billion dollars on the campaign and the Russians beat her with one hundred and fifty grand because they were able to turn Facebook into ‘Fakebook'”- BILL MAHER ON “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER”

So you are accusing a nuclear armed adversary of committing an act of war and you are doing it purely in order to gain an advantage in a domestic political dispute? No normal person would do that, it is too reckless and crazy. But that is exactly what many of our leaders did, including sitting members of Congress, they called it war too. Mass hysteria does not even begin to capture this, we are living in a moment that makes the McCarthy era look reasoned and and considered. At least Joseph McCarthy was on to something real, there really were Soviet spies. There was no Russian collusion in last year’s election.

So how are all those investigations going? Well the New York Times, to its credit, took a look at that this weekend, and it turns out that if the Russians got Trump elected, then they left no trace of it. Even Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) had to admit that after wasting untold time and money, her committee has not found evidence of collusion between Putin and the Trump campaign. The whole thing is a dry well, a fraud, a scam, a politically induced hallucination, it is totally nuts. A lot of people should be deeply ashamed of this (not that they are, of course).

But that does not mean that we have not learned anything. Robert Mueller’s team of investigators have apparently has found evidence of suspected wrongdoing by the Podesta group, which you will remember is a lobbying firm founded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta and his brother Tony. According to news accounts, the Podesta’s may have violated criminal law by failing to register as lobbyists for foreign powers. Not exactly a development that Democrats were hoping for when they cheered Mueller’s appointment for the counsel.

And then there’s the ongoing uranium-1 scandal, which has been explained in a series of devastating articles by The Hill. Back in 2010 (in a move that virtually nobody will now defend), the Obama administration allowed a Russian firm to gain control of over about twenty percent of our uranium reserves here in the United States. Before the deal was approved, Obama’s Department of Justice uncovered a massive Russian bribery ring working to get control of that uranium. The Obama administration kept that information secret, even from Congress, to let that deal go through. Now, why would they do that? Did it have anything to do with the more than one hundred million dollars Hillary Clinton’s family foundation took from the uranium-1 board members? (She was Secretary of State at the time.) Maybe. Just a guess, at some point we will find out for sure.

And that is the upside of the hysteria over Russian collusion. Its unintended consequences will be fun to watch, because when you make up a fake scandal, you never really know where it is going to go.

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