Gregg Jarrett: Trump-Russia 'collusion' was always a hoax -- and dirtiest political trick in modern US history
There was never any evidence that Donald Trump “colluded” with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election from Hillary Clinton. It was all a hoax. It constituted what is surely the dirtiest political trick in modern American history.
The hoax was based largely on an anti-Trump “dossier” conjured from the fertile imaginations of two nefarious characters: ex-British spy Christopher Steele; and Fusion GPS Founder, Glenn Simpson.
It was commissioned by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democrats, then peddled all over Washington to journalists, the FBI, the State Department and the Department of Justice. It spread like an airborne contagion in a 50 mile per hour wind. The premise of the ruse was as outlandish as the actions of those who advanced it. Steele was fired by the FBI for lying and went into hiding. Simpson eventually invoked the Fifth Amendment and clammed up.
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There were no credible facts when the FBI wrongfully launched its “collusion” investigation in July of 2016, violating its own regulations. There was still nothing remotely plausible in May of 2017 when fired FBI Director James Comey absconded with government documents and leaked them to the media for the sole purpose of triggering the appointment of a special counsel, Robert Mueller. If you harbor any doubts about the “paucity” of evidence, read the closed-door testimony of FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Comey. Their admissions will stun you.
Along the way, the FBI obtained a wiretap warrant on a Trump campaign associate, Carter Page, by concealing vital evidence to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and deceiving the judges. No one, as yet, has been held accountable for any of that. The last time I checked, perpetrating a fraud on a court is a felony. Several of them, in fact. Oh, and undercover informants were dispatched by the FBI to infiltrate the Trump campaign.
Now, after an exhaustive 22-month investigation, we have finally learned from the new Attorney General, William Barr, that “the Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” Trump did not hack the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations. Trump did not hatch a plot in the bowels of the Kremlin to win the election. The infamous Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer was not a crime. Carter Page was not a spy after all. The list of false accusations that Trump has suffered are too numerous to recount here. You’d need a calculator.
To Democrats and most in the media such trivial things as evidence never mattered. They didn’t care about that. They treated facts as a mere nuisance. They allowed their political bias and personal animus toward Trump to blind them. Their obsessive belief in a nonexistent conspiracy with Putin consumed all common sense. As their hatred for Trump and his policies grew, they became more sedulous in propagating fictitious stories.
I suspect Mueller ducked his obligation to render a decision on obstruction and inserted the “exonerate” language in his report so that rabid Democrats in Congress would take up the anti-Trump cause as a pre-text for impeachment proceedings.
Democrats in Congress like Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, Richard Blumenthal, Nancy Pelosi, Jerold Nadler, Maxine Waters, and so many others all claimed without a scintilla of proof that Trump “colluded” with Russia. For two years, they pronounced him guilty in the court of public opinion.
Democrats convinced themselves that President Trump’s election was misbegotten. They accepted “collusion” as a matter of faith driven by their own prejudices, and teased by hope out of ignorance. Will they ever apologize? Of course not. They will conjure some vacuous excuse and move on to the next accusation. They’re already doing it.
Many journalists were equally reckless and malevolent. Most of them never bothered to examine the facts, evidence and the law. They refused to do their jobs. Instead, they abandoned objectivity and suspended their sense of fairness. They allowed enmity to obscure their judgment. In the process, the media squandered credibility, its only currency.
It is no wonder that many Americans have little trust in journalists to be honest in their reporting. Will network brass take action to punish those who so egregiously exaggerated or, in some cases, even lied to Americans? Not a chance. Network chiefs were complicit cheerleaders. The media, together with Democrats, are already parsing and pivoting.
Without missing a beat, they are pivoting to obstruction of justice by parsing what Attorney General William Barr wrote in his summary letter to the heads of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. Barr stated, “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction of justice offense.”
Barr and Rosenstein, the two top officials at the Department of Justice, did not reach this conclusion in a vacuum. They sought the opinions of other lawyers at the DOJ, including the Office of Legal Counsel. They studied the evidence and the law. They consulted the same DOJ lawyers who were guiding Mueller on the subject of obstruction during his long investigation. They reached a firm consensus that, under the law, President Trump never acted “with corrupt intent” to obstruct “a pending or contemplated proceeding."
One of the reasons that led Barr and Rosenstein to their inexorable conclusion is that Trump had committed no underlying crime of conspiracy with Russia or, if you like, “collusion.” In simplistic terms, it is difficult to argue that someone intended to obstruct a non-crime. This is exactly the question Trump has posed on more than one occasion when he asked, rhetorically, “Why would I interfere in something I didn’t do?” Why, indeed.
While Mueller was more than willing to conclude that Trump never “colluded” with Russia, he deliberately dodged rendering any decision on obstruction of justice. He left it entirely to Barr. In so doing, the special counsel abdicated his responsibility as the prosecutor who was hired to make this very decision. While shirking this authority, Mueller then took an inappropriate swipe at Trump by writing, “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
This was a blatant cheap shot by Mueller, although thoroughly expected. It’s very much like a prosecutor who loses a case and then claims to the media, “Well, the jury may have found the defendant not guilty, but that doesn’t mean he’s innocent.” Technically, that’s true. But it’s how losers try to justify the result they don’t like.
Mueller knew Trump did not obstruct justice in firing Comey. The president was constitutionally authorized to dismiss him for a stated reason or no reason at all. Even Comey admitted it in a letter to his staff, and there were a plethora of reasons to sack the director.
The president’s subsequent public remarks about the firing did not come close to exhibiting a “corrupt intent” to interfere in the Russian investigation. Trump’s comments were widely misreported and misrepresented by the media. This should come as no surprise to anyone.
As for Trump’s alleged remark to Comey that he “hoped” that his fired national security adviser Michael Flynn would be cleared by the FBI, this did not constitute an attempt at obstruction of justice, as I explained in detail in my book, “The Russia Hoax.” Again, Comey all but admitted this when he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. In separate hearings, Rosenstein, Comey and Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe all assured Congress that no one had tried to obstruct their investigations.
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I suspect Mueller ducked his obligation to render a decision on obstruction and inserted the “exonerate” language in his report so that rabid Democrats in Congress would take up the anti-Trump cause as a pretext for impeachment proceedings.
Sure enough, within minutes of Barr’s letter, House Judiciary Chairman Jerold Nadler, D-N.Y., commenced the obstruction-impeachment battle when he tweeted, “In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before the House Judiciary in the near future.”
The Russia Hoax begat the Witch Hunt… and Mueller has seen to it that the Witch Hunt is far from over.
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