Baseless Russiagate allegations continue to risk war with Russia…
The New Year has brought a torrent of ever-more-frenzied allegations that President Donald Trump has long had a conspiratorial relationship – why mince words and call it “collusion”? – with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin.
Why the frenzy now? Perhaps because Russiagate promoters in high places are concerned that special counsel Robert Mueller will not produce the hoped-for “bombshell” to end Trump’s presidency. Certainly, New York Times columnist David Leonhardt seems worried, demanding, “The president must go,” his drop line exhorting, “What are we waiting for?” (In some countries, articles like his, and there are very many, would be read as calling for a coup.) Perhaps to incite Democrats who have now taken control of House investigative committees. Perhaps simply because Russiagate has become a political-media cult that no facts, or any lack of evidence, can dissuade or diminish.
And there is no new credible evidence, preposterous claims notwithstanding. One of The New York Times’ own recent “bombshells,”published on January 12, reported, for example, that in spring 2017, FBI officials “began investigating whether [President Trump] had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.” None of the three reporters bothered to point out that those “agents and officials” almost certainly included ones later reprimanded and retired by the FBI itself for their political biases. (As usual, the Times buried its self-protective disclaimer deep in the story: “No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials.”)
Whatever the explanation, the heightened frenzy is unmistakable, leading the “news” almost daily in the synergistic print and cable media outlets that have zealously promoted Russiagate for more than two years, in particular the Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN, and their kindred outlets. They have plenty of eager enablers, including the once-distinguished Strobe Talbott, President Bill Clinton’s top adviser on Russia and until recently president of the Brookings Institution. According to Talbott, “We already know that the Kremlin helped put Trump into the White House and played him for a sucker….