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." That is Robert Mueller's conclusion after nearly two years of investigating the matter.
The attorney general repeated versions of that sentence four times in his summary of Mueller's report, released Sunday. Whatever you think of Donald Trump, it's now factually established that he did not collude with Vladimir Putin to steal the presidential election. Period. That case is now closed.
This is the point in the story where applause breaks out. Not just cheers from Trump and his family and campaign staff and all of those many people who were told they were going to be indicted but weren't. But gratitude from the country itself, from all Americans of all political parties.
For years we've all been told that our government was being controlled by a foreign power. There were spies in our midst. The President of the United States was one of them. He was disloyal, a quisling, an agent of a nation that hates us and seeks our destruction. That man was at the helm of our country, destroying democracy, undermining our values, poisoning this nation from within. He was terrifying, and millions of Americans were terrified. Some wept as they talked about their fear and helplessness.
Now we know that none of that was true. You would think the relief at learning this would be overpowering, like finding out a terminal illness was just a cold. The long and bitter war has ended. We are safe.
But that is not how most on the left are responding. They are not celebrating for their country. They are not grateful. They are angrier than ever. To them, the Mueller investigation has proved nothing and exonerated no one. Russian collusion is as real to them is it was the day first Hillary Clinton alleged it. Progressives have not surrendered. The vast robot army of the Democratic Party fights on as if nothing has changed.
"The fact that this investigation takes place within the Justice Department, which Donald Trump essentially controls and that he got rid of the one problem, Jeff Sessions, who the one decent thing that he did was just recuse himself, this guy [William Barr] has not recused," MSNBC host Joy Reid said "it feels like the seeds of a cover-up are here."
Oh, a cover-up. And not just a cover-up, but a cover-up being perpetrated with the help of Mr. Robert S. Mueller -- the very man you loved and trusted. The one whose report you looked forward to like it was Christmas. The grey-haired angel of truth who was going to deliver you from the orange scourge. Our friend, Robert Mueller.
It turns out Mueller was part of this conspiracy, too. It was a conspiracy so brilliant, so complex that he and 18 other federal prosecutors conducted a two-year Potemkin investigation in order to shield their plot from discovery. Diabolical.
Why would Mueller do that? Come on, you know the answer -- because it's always the same answer. Robert Mueller is a racist. It's a racist plot. That's what NBC is telling you.
If that sounds like a far-fetched claim, keep in mind that you're the wacko. They're always telling you that. You're a conspiracy nut, they'll say. You believe in crazy things on the basis of zero evidence -- you and Alex Jones. You think the left is coming for your guns. You think mass immigration is hurting this country. You think illegal aliens are voting in elections. You imagine the tech companies are censoring political speech. You don't trust the media.
And by the way, you don't believe in science, and that's why you're hesitant to give a 29-year-old freshman member of Congress complete control of the U.S. economy. You're a lunatic. You should be ignored. And so should Trump, by the way. Go ahead and ignore his complaints about being persecuted. He's just whining.
NBC's Savannah Guthrie even suggested in an interview with Sarah Sanders that it's actually Donald Trump, the guy who has been falsely denounced for betraying his country as a Russian agent, who owes the apology -- an apology to the prosecutors who hounded him. It goes without saying that Democratic members of Congress echoed these sentiments -- or maybe it was the other way around, the media aping the Democratic Party. Suddenly, it's hard to tell who is taking cues from whom.
Any remaining distinctions between journalists and the country's ruling class have long since disappeared. Reporters used to boast about holding the powerful to account. Now, they scramble to do their bidding. The Washington Post is owned by the richest progressive in the world. They're one interest group now; you can't tell one from another.
Politicians and prosecutors and intel agency heads told us implausible lies about Russian collusion. Reporters are paid to push back, but they didn't. Instead, they welcomed those lies and then amplified them. They're proud to do that, but they are not apologizing for it now.
In their first statement after the Mueller report's summary became public, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the two leaders of the Democratic Party in Congress, didn't mention the fact that Trump had been cleared of collusion. Neither did any Democratic politician appearing on cable news. Virginia Congressman Don Beyer insisted on Monday that "there was a lot of collusion within the Trump campaign" -- even though Robert Mueller, whom Democrats have told us many times is the final word on the question, had already told us otherwise. So, nobody was fooled by any of this.
Mueller's summary is on the Internet. You can read it yourself if you want and reach your own conclusions. So, by lying about the obvious, and doing it so obviously, Democrats merely revealed themselves to be everything they claim Donald Trump is -- stupid, irresponsible, reckless, corrupt, buffoonish. They had to know their talking points wouldn't work. They repeated them anyway. Why? Because they didn't know what else to say.
Over on CNN, Jeff Zucker dispatched his eunuch to address the channel's viewership, meaning those Americans trapped at the airport waiting for flights. You may think CNN has been lying to you relentlessly for the last two years, the eunuch explained. Not at all. CNN has done a fantastic job. None of this was our fault. We're amazing.
"Reporting is what adds the most value. Finding out something new, putting out new information into the world is the best feeling in journalism. It's the greatest value add," said Brian Stelter, CNN's chief media correspondent. "That's what hundreds of journalists have been doing, trying to solve pieces of this Trump-Russia puzzle. So don't be fooled by the partisans who cherry pick the worst mistakes of individual journalists or the craziest ideas from commentators and claim that's the entire media. It's not."
"The greatest value add." That's how CNN sums up its role in the Russia story. Does a single person believe that? Of course not. Not one person. Jeff Zucker himself doesn't believe that, and that's why he sent his marionette out to lie. Jeff Zucker is an anxious man. He's been caught doing the one thing journalists are not allowed to do. He intentionally misled his audience.
By lying about the obvious, and doing it so obviously, Democrats merely revealed themselves to be everything they claim Donald Trump is -- stupid, irresponsible, reckless, corrupt, buffoonish. They had to know their talking points wouldn't work. They repeated them anyway.
In a fair world, Jeff Zucker would be running a car wash, or he would be selling timeshares in Cancun. He would not be in the news business. Zucker himself knows that very well. He knows he's an imposter.
In a fair world, CNN wouldn't call itself a news network at all. It's far less than that, and it has been for a long time. In 1996, CNN blamed the Olympic bombings in Atlanta on an entirely innocent security guard named Richard Jewell. In the end, CNN paid Jewell a settlement for slandering him, but Jewell never recovered his life. Just two years later, CNN falsely the United States military of murdering American defectors during the Vietnam War with sarin gas. It was a ludicrous story based on obvious lies. CNN ran it anyway because it confirmed their world view.
Three years after that, CNN implied again on the basis of zero evidence that a California congressman called Gary Condit had murdered one of his interns. CNN's relentless coverage helped drive Condit from office. Condit turned out to be innocent. Too late. His life and family were destroyed.
Now, you'd think a news network might learn from debacles like this. And yet, under the leadership of Jeff Zucker, CNN's recklessness and its dishonesty have only accelerated. Just this past September, CNN told us that Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, was a gang rapist alcoholic who targeted underage girls. Then in January, they told us that a group of boys from a Catholic school in Kentucky were dangerous bigots who threatened to a revered tribal elder Vietnam veteran, purely because they hated American Indians.
Every part of that claim was a lie. And CNN is now facing a $275 million lawsuit for repeating that lie. Yet, CNN kept going. Just days after its Covington Catholic fraud, CNN decided to amplify yet another racially divisive hoax, Jussie Smollett manufactured hate crime.
And now, exactly two weeks after Smollett was indicted for telling the same lies that CNN uncritically repeated, we have learned that the Russian collusion narrative, which by the way, has formed the backbone of CNN's entire programming schedule for two years, is fake. It's a hoax. It never happened. CNN responded by congratulating itself. Jeff Zucker still runs the network; his job apparently is safe.
CNN's anchors wonder aloud why Americans don't trust the news media. It must be that propaganda from Fox News. Yes, must be.
So what are these voices of authority on CNN saying now that the facts have arrived? Have they apologized or corrected themselves or even acknowledge their role in perpetuating this hoax? Carl Bernstein, whose sloppy Watergate reporting from half a century ago somehow keeps him on TV to this day, has thought a lot about this question. He's decided that in his august and seasoned opinion as a celebrated newsman, CNN did a remarkable job.
"I think we've done -- the media, the press -- has done one of the great reporting jobs in the history of especially of covering a presidency by the most news organizations," he said. "And look, let's look at where the disinformation and mistakes and lying have come from. It hasn't come from the press. It's come from the President of the United States and those around him."
Okay, in case you're wondering why Donald Trump got elected President of the United States, you just saw it. Trump may be flawed, but the people in charge are just absurd. The Washington Post and the New York Times have no idea. They still don't know why Trump won the election. They wholeheartedly agree with their friend, Carl Bernstein.
Both of those newspapers won Pulitzer Prizes for their Russia coverage. In its citation, the Pulitzer Committee commended the reporters for their "deeply sourced relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically further the nation's understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect's transition team and his eventual administration."
Read that run-on sentence again, if you dare. You might want to keep those words somewhere as a keepsake memento, like that "Dewey defeats Truman" headline from the Chicago Tribune" so many years ago. A monument to human absurdity. Your grandkids can read it and snicker. The Times and the Post, though, don't get the joke. They have no plans to return their prizes. They think they did a great job.
The rest of us can keep laughing. But there's an ominous lesson here, too. Our leaders are not fit to lead. They have no idea what they're doing, and they won't admit it. They are hysterical children, cruel and stupid and vain. They care only about themselves. They learn nothing from their mistakes.
And so their self-regard undiminished, they march on to the next disaster full of self-righteous confidence. The next battle they tell us is over obstruction of justice. It doesn't seem to occur to them that justice is precisely what we got.
Nineteen federal prosecutors spent nearly two years investigating the Democratic Party's claim that Donald Trump stole the presidential election. Investigators in the case had a limitless budget and essentially no restrictions of any kind. They hired dozens of FBI agents, intelligence analysts and forensic accountants to help them investigate. They issued nearly 3,000 subpoenas. They received hundreds of search warrants and hundreds more surveillance orders. They showed up at people's homes with automatic weapons pointed in their faces. They spied on American citizens. They read their texts, downloaded their emails. They interviewed at least 500 separate witnesses.
Not since September 11, have federal investigators dug more deeply into a case. And in the end, they proved the charges false. Democrats have decided to ignore the findings. Instead, they say they want "justice," by which, of course, they mean revenge, punishment, power. That's what they've always wanted. The rest of this, the Mueller investigation included, was staged purely for show. Shame on the rest of us for falling for it yet again.
You'd like to believe that people who did this will be held accountable. They hurt our country, they poisoned our public sphere, they distorted our foreign policy, they completely terrified the population. They should be punished. It's not like we don't punish people here. We live in a society where people lose their job for believing in biology, in a place where college students risk having their lives destroyed for telling the wrong joke. America is suddenly a very punitive place.
But these people will escape what they deserve. You know they will because they so often have before. The very same people who push the Russian collusion conspiracy are the ones who told us Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction in 2003. A few years after that, they had assured us that the housing market was absolutely solid --no problem! Go ahead and invest. Just the other day, they informed us that will have to stay in Syria and Afghanistan forever because of threats that only they understand. Tomorrow, they'll be telling you to take the bus to work because of global warming.
But they will never take the bus. They won't have to. They will never face the consequences of the disasters they created. Instead, they'll keep getting rich from failure -- another TV contract, other committee chairmanship, another fat grant from a Soros-funded foundation. And as they prosper, they will continue to lecture you from Twitter about your imaginary moral failings. Shut up, racist. Obey.
That's what's likely to happen in the aftermath of this hoax. That's what's always happened. How long do they think this can continue?
Adapted from Tucker Carlson's monologue from "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on March 25, 2019.