President Donald Trump may have overstated his victimhood status when he spoke before graduating service members at the United States Coast Guard Academy: “No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.” However, the freshly elected Republican president makes a strong case that he is the subject of an unprecedented media “witch hunt.”
With reports emerging daily which allege a sinister connection between the Trump administration and the Russian government, the very authenticity of America’s democracy is called into question. Citizens rightly wonder if their president is beholden to shadowy sponsors at the Kremlin.
From accusations of a concerted effort between the Trump campaign and Russian President Vladimir Putin to influence the election by gradually leaking compromising information about Hillary Clinton to the latest report of a White House cover-up of these conspiracies via the firing of FBI Director James Comey, the mainstream media is hemorrhaging stories which point the finger at a scandalous administration that is ultimately deserving of impeachment.
But are these fears resulting from objective evidence, reliable sources, and credible intelligence? Or is this a partisan campaign meant to unseat the POTUS in America’s first ever bloodless coup?
For many Americans and certainly the liberal establishment, the election of a man whom they perceive to be a xenophobic elitist or the antithesis of every progressive value they hold dear is simply unacceptable. Russiagate serves as a means to an end that will see Trump forever returned to his palatial towers in New York City.
A closer examination of the facts reveals 10 reasons why Russiagate is without substance.
10 Plausible Deniability
Former acting CIA director Michael Morell, who has significant connections in the Democratic Party and once called Trump “an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation,” has since downplayed his accusations, admitting that “there is smoke, but there is no fire—at all.”
The “smoke” Morell refers to is indications that members of the Trump campaign met with Russian statesmen prior to Election Day without disclosing these encounters. However, the “fire” which is so fundamentally lacking from ongoing investigations is any link that directly ties Trump to any inappropriate meetings with Moscow.
The distinction is everything as far as impeachment is concerned. Trump’s plausible deniability is the difference between a Watergate and the Iran-Contra affair. The former scandal resulted in President Richard Nixon’s humiliating resignation. Conversely, President Ronald Reagan was able to depart the White House with his reputation intact and an approval rating that never fell below 46 percent, in large part because he was able to deny any direct knowledge of the scandal unfolding within his administration.
9 Hard Line On Russia
When it was announced that Rex Tillerson would be appointed to one of the most powerful positions in Washington as Secretary of State, mainstream media had their suspicions confirmed: Trump was colluding with Russia, in this instance by appointing a former oil executive with intimate ties to Putin to a key cabinet post. However, journalists are failing to take an objective look at how the private lives of Trump and his closest advisers contradict their documented policy decisions, which often stand in opposition to Russian interests.
Trump has been surprisingly defiant, quickly abandoning notions of a new era in US-Russia relations when such an arrangement did not benefit American interests. Trump’s cabinet appointees reflect this independence, with Defense Secretary James Mattis admitting that the White House has no intentions of cooperating militarily with Russia in Syria and Tillerson demanding that Russia abstain from fighting in Ukraine before an end to sanctions are discussed.
Trump’s own hostility toward Russia surpasses even that of the Obama administration. After the US targeted a Syrian air base in retaliation for a chemical attack that killed numerous noncombatants, Putin was furious and Kremlin spokesmen admitted that the missile strike significantly damaged US-Russia relations.
8 Lack of Evidence
With insider information on the Trump administration being leaked to the press with ritual frequency, Americans can be fairly certain that if any incriminating evidence regarding Trump and the Russians existed, it would have already been leaked. Sensitive conversations shared between the highest political posts in the Oval Office are repeatedly revealed to the media, often read as word-for-word accounts of conversations between Trump and important foreign officials.
So far, White House leaks have allowed the press—and therefore, the American people—unprecedented access to office gossip between low-level aides and internal disputes involving belligerent staffers. More serious breaches of national security include phone calls between the president and foreign heads of state as well as undisclosed Oval Office meetings with Russian officials.
Though President Trump has been the subject of persistent systemic efforts to leak compromising information, his approval rating remains fundamentally unchanged in the wake of any damaging direct evidence.
7 International Policy Sharing
Among the numerous Trump advisers and staff conducting frequent negotiations with the Kremlin in the months prior to the election, from former campaign chairman Paul Manafort to then–National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, investigators have yet to release any incriminating information regarding these talks. The focus of these undisclosed conversations was primarily restricted to such topics as the war in Syria, combining forces against the Islamic State, common economic interests, and how to contain an ambitious China.
In other words, the campaign sought out top Russian officials to discuss urgent matters of national security and public interest. However, some former Obama administration officials have stated that the frequency of correspondence between Russia and the Trump team raised a “red flag” during the transition, enough to warrant electronic eavesdropping against them.
But, considering that improved relations with Moscow constitutes the “cornerstone of his foreign policy platform,” the close cooperation and preemptive talks directed by Trump fail to signify anything nefarious. Unfortunately, the president is presented with few policy alternatives in the Middle East after the previous administration ceded leadership to Putin in places like Syria and Iran.
6 Faulty Evidence
In a move that demonstrates the lengths that the FBI was prepared to go to in order to produce evidence of impropriety from Trump, the federal law enforcement organization was prepared to pay former British spy Christopher Steele $ 50,000 to uncover anything that would compromise the president. Coincidentally, Steele was also working for Fusion GPS at the time, an opposition research firm with close ties to the Clinton campaign.
Among the assertions in Steele’s leaked dossier, which BuzzFeed later published, were claims that Trump engaged in “perverted sexual acts” in a Moscow hotel room previously occupied by the Obama family. This established the compromising information that Trump’s opponents so very badly needed to suggest that the Russians could blackmail him.
The ultimately debunked dossier went on to claim that Russian tech giant Aleksej Gubarev was involved in an illegal hacking campaign against the Democratic Party during the 2016 election. Gubarev is currently suing BuzzFeed for alleged character assassination.
5 Unconvincing Report
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats betrayed the intelligence community’s own obsession with Russia when he admitted that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) was looking for “every opportunity to hold Russia accountable.” This may have contributed to the drafting of a 25-page declassified report that was strangely absent of even the most rudimentary technical details on Russia’s alleged hacking campaign. Instead, it read like a New York Times editorial.
Cybersecurity experts and independent intelligence analysts expressed doubts over the report and were not persuaded by the collective conclusions of the intelligence community. Naturally, critics of the Trump administration insist that the true dirt on Russiagate may be found in the classified, unrevealed sections of the same report. But the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) set the bar so low with his assessment that few skeptics are convinced of the report’s legitimacy.
According to former CIA analyst Larry C. Johnson, there is no direct, incriminating evidence in the ODNI report. He explains its dubious nature:
These are “or and how” intelligence estimates as opposed to an intelligence analysis based on fact. There’s no fact underlying this. There are analytical assumptions. You can tell that because whenever they use the language like “we assess that” or “we believe that” or “it’s likely that,” that means they don’t know, because if you knew, you could say . . . in public “according to multiple sources we know that.” You state facts.
Despite these troubling deficiencies, opposition groups and journalists continue to parade the report around Washington. In an attempt to add authority to the DNI’s claims of Russian-sponsored hacking, Trump’s opponents are suggesting that all 17 agencies that comprise the US intelligence community independently confirmed the findings of the report.
In fact, the report only included assessments from the FBI, the NSA, and the CIA. Lawmakers, such as former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra, are troubled by the ODNI report’s exclusion of dissenting opinions from important organizations like the Department of Homeland Security or the Defense Intelligence Agency. Hoekstra added that the move was likely an attempt to provide Obama with a “supposedly objective intelligence report” on Russian hacking that could later be used to “undermine” the incoming administration.
4 Partisan Double Standards
It is simple to imagine an America where Hillary Clinton is president and, much like her predecessor, the toughest question the media asks her is: “What . . . enchanted you the most about serving in this office?”
The former Secretary of State would certainly get a free pass on ties to Russia. In one particular transaction, Clinton sat on a secretive board that swiftly approved the sale of 20 percent of America’s uranium reserves to a state-owned Russian company despite the potential national security threats such a deal entailed.
Meanwhile, a French-owned company seeking similar board approval for the purchase of significantly less risky defense assets waited two years to have their own proposal approved. Perhaps the sudden urge by investors involved in the uranium deal to donate tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation or the generous Russian bankers’ payment of $ 500,000 for a one-hour speech by Bill Clinton would grease the wheels that produced the board’s approval for the deal.
Evidence of a similarly controversial deal between the Trump team and Russian big business would surely result in impeachment hearings. After all, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was compelled to recuse himself from any Russiagate investigations for simply bumping into a Russian ambassador in the presence of numerous other state diplomats at the Republican National Convention in summer 2016, demonstrating the complete intolerance of lawmakers for any interaction with Russian officials.
3 Friendly Relations With Russia
When it was revealed that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn sought a “backdoor” channel of communications with Russian officials to circumvent the national security bureaucracy, many observers took this to mean that the White House had something to hide. The truth is that military and intelligence officials are so averse to healthy US-Russia relations that Flynn feared efforts at diplomacy could be sabotaged by national security careerists hostile to this goal.
Author Justin Raimondo agrees that the “Russophobic” defense establishment is opposed to a warming of relations with the former Soviet Union. He notes that the Department of Defense needs an ever-present Russian threat to continue receiving a handsome share of the national budget, while the CIA is “institutionally opposed to Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy.”
2 Unreliable Sources
An alarming percentage of media reports making bold accusations about the Trump White House today rely upon uncorroborated sources to support claims of Trump-Putin collusion. Anonymous sources claimed that Comey was requesting more assets to conduct his investigation into Trump’s ties with Moscow just before he was fired.
Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores called this accusation “totally false.” Similarly, unnamed “officials” also claimed that the mass departure of senior State Department officials was motivated by a lack of respect for the incoming president. The truth, according to actual named sources, was that Trump requested the exodus in preparation for installing his own team.
Across the nation, unimaginative journalists are increasingly depending on unreliable or anonymous contacts to describe a chaotic, self-destructive White House living on the edge of impeachment. To relate the story of Comey’s ouster, The Washington Post relied upon “the private accounts of more than 30 officials at the White House.”
In many cases, stories are going to print in which an anonymous source cites an anonymous source. To reinforce the claims of their unnamed sources, news agencies are frequently turning to each other and former Obama appointees, as if to check the journalistic box requiring at least one verifiable reference per article.
1 Three Redundant Investigations
The decision by Trump to unceremoniously fire Comey served to confirm for the president’s critics that their darkest suspicions were warranted. Their narrative suggests that Trump fired the FBI director to interfere with an investigation that was closing in on the White House and threatening to end in impeachment.
But this narrative is nonsensical. In a return to McCarthy-era political witch hunts, the Trump administration’s potential ties to Russia are being investigated by three separate legal bodies. The termination of a single Obama-era appointee would do little to strengthen the president’s job security given that the House and Senate Intelligence committees are conducting their own investigations into Trump-Russia ties.
The Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform are also pursuing independent investigations. If this legislative arsenal was not enough to blow away any attempts by the Trump team at concealing suspected Russian relations, then the special counsel assigned to the Justice Department should add another layer of interrogation. Surely, there could be a better use of time and resources for America’s elected officials.
Benjamin Baird is a freelance journalist, a proven military leader, and conservative superhero, responding to liberal villainy wherever it rears its ugly head. He is editor-in-chief of crusadeoftruth.com.