Hitler’s propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, once said "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."
That’s exactly what Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff did during her run for the presidency in 2016. They broke into then-candidate Donald Trump’s network server hoping to discover a nefarious Trump-Russia connection. They didn’t find anything because there was never anything to find. But never mind, they would simply make something up.
So, they fabricated the Big Lie -- claiming Trump was a puppet of Russian President Putin. Voting for Trump was like putting a Russian asset in the Oval Office. They didn’t worry about getting caught since they could bury it once she won.
Clinton’s chief disinformation officer, who was also her foreign policy adviser, peddled the story to the press. The ratings hungry media was happy to repeat the Big Lie. They hated Trump with a passion, so savaging him was easy.
Then the impossible happened. Trump was elected despite their efforts. Clinton’s suddenly unemployed campaign team had to cover their tracks.
What if someone found out they were breaking into Internet activity and communications of the rival campaign? If the incoming Trump administration ever found out, they’d be in big trouble. It would be even worse than Watergate.
So, they kept digging. It was easy enough to continue hacking into the Trump Tower servers as Trump’s campaign office morphed in his presidential transition office. Again, they found nothing because there was nothing to find. They had no choice but to double down on Trump-Russia collusion. The Big Lie got bigger.
Once Trump and his staff moved into the White House, the hacking efforts moved with them. Still nothing. But the Big Lie had taken root – in the media, with Congressional Democrats, with the intelligence community, even the FBI. They all launched investigations into Trump’s ties with Russia.
The Big Lie expanded into every aspect of America’s national conversation. Former Obama administration intelligence officials took to the airwaves to declare Trump was a Russian asset, implying they had access to classified information that proved it. Congressional intelligence committee chieftains amplified the claims and pushed for impeachment.
The Big Lie spread to the Justice Department and FBI. They tapped former FBI director Robert Mueller to lead a sprawling Investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia, and staffed it with anti-Trump democrats.
Two years later Special Counsel Mueller admitted they could find no Trump-Russia connections and closed up shop. But in the process they did manage to destroy reputations and careers (my own included).
They did manage to force innocent Trump officials into debt to hire lawyers to defend themselves. They even tried to get innocent people to plead guilty to crimes they did not commit, or to accuse others, including President Trump, of crimes he did not commit.
The media loved every minute of the three years of Russiagate. Reporters became celebrities, they got lucrative book contracts and speaking gigs. They even gave each other awards for reporting breaking news scandals, which were hand-fed by "anonymous sources."
But in a democracy, the truth sometimes finds its way into the light. John Durham’s recent filing indicates he has the goods on the tech company the Clinton campaign hired to infiltrate the Trump campaign, his presidential transition and even stick with it into the Trump White House. The Durham investigation seems to have entered a new stage.
No one outside of Durham himself knows where this goes next. But two glaring questions stand out.
First, did the intelligence community know the Clinton campaign was hacking into Trump’s campaign, presidential transition and White House offices? If so, did they just look the other way? Did they stand on the sidelines while the Big Lie was spread far and wide? Of, did they actually participate in the effort to spy on Donald Trump?
If the intelligence community knew nothing about Clinton’s efforts to infiltrate Trump’s campaign, why not? Did they know about the ongoing surveillance when Trump was president-elect, and then sworn in as president? A key part of their job is to keep a president’s communications secure, including from hackers both foreign and domestic.
If the intelligence community knew about the hacking, but looked the other way, they were complicit. If they were part of the spying, they were corrupt. If they claim ignorance, they were downright incompetent.
Second, what happened to those Clinton campaign officials who create the Big Lie in the first place? Will they ever be held accountable for trying to undermine a president of the United States and by extension the will of the people?
Not so far, in fact just the opposite. In the perverse world of Washington, one of the chief architects and behind the scenes perpetrators of the Big Lie was rewarded.
He’s now President Biden’s National Security Adviser. He’s responsible for managing the Ukraine crisis with… you guessed it -- Russian President Putin.