The standard narrative in Washington is that Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia to hand him the election.
This storyline is underpinned by several things. There is the soft-on-Russia rhetoric of his campaign juxtaposed with Hillary Clinton’s tough talk. Then there was retired general Mike Flynn’s meeting with the Russians immediately following the election, and lying about it (for which he was fired and could be prosecuted). There were the embarrassing DNC and Clinton campaign hacked and leaked e-mails. Then the disclosure that Trump Jr. had met with a Kremlin connected lawyer after the primaries and before the Republican Convention. And most damning of all, against all odds Hillary LOST! After all, what else could explain the impossible other than Russia? Had she won, none of this would be an issue.
Now personally I’m a conservative Republican who, like many others, does not particularly like Donald Trump because of what I see as his narcissism and lack of qualifications in government. Nonetheless, I voted for him because I agree with many of his policies, and he is nowhere near as flawed as Hillary Clinton. But it is crystal clear he did not collude with Russia, and any Russian interference that might have occurred had no impact on the outcome.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines collusion as a secret agreement…for an illegal or deceitful purpose, substantially the same as the legal definition. It is true that the campaign policy toward Russia was a sort of détente, not unlike Reagan’s with Gorbachev or Obama/Clinton’s “reset button” approach. Further, it is neither illegal nor even unusual for candidates to meet with representatives of foreign governments to build rapport and discuss future policy approaches. What was absent in the case of Trump was any evidence of agreement, payment, a quid pro quo, conspiracy to commit any illegal act, or any other action that could conceivably be labeled as illegal. And it is not just an absence of evidence that could have been cleverly concealed. With all the leakers, admitted wiretaps of Russian conversations, and the unrelenting campaign on all fronts to implicate Trump—if there were evidence, it is impossible it would not have come out. And even Obama’s own intelligence experts testified they could find no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. Yet we have nothing but innuendo, attaching nefarious purposes to benign events.
In Washington it is said if a lie is repeated often enough it becomes the truth, and this is the case with the hollow Trump-Russia connection. It is clear the Democrats are hysterical over Hillary’s loss and desperate to discredit the hated Trump. They are seeking a way to sabotage his conservative agenda and take back power from a disgraced administration in upcoming elections.
So how, as the headline to this story states, did Russia win, and with whom did they collude? Obama’s own head of national intelligence, James Clapper, testified that the Russians have tried to influence elections for years. Their purpose, according to Clapper and others in the intelligence community, is not to determine the winner—they know that is impossible in America—but to undermine the process, create doubts in the public mind, and weaken the administration. Clapper and the others made clear no election results were altered by the Russians. And the embarrassing e-mail leaks were minor ripples in the Clinton campaign, already awash in scandal and blunders (see the new Clinton campaign tell-all bestseller Shattered). It’s now obvious why Hillary lost, and just about everyone agrees it had nothing to do with Russia. But now Washington and the public are galvanized by Russia-Trump investigations and accusations. Little is being accomplished, other than by executive order. The Russians have clearly accomplished their goal. The celebration in the Kremlin must be epic.
And with whom did they collude? Clearly not Trump. No, Russia co-opted the unwitting but willful assistance of the Democratic Party, particularly attack-dog-designate Adam Schiff , Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. These people have led the disloyal effort to sweep aside national unity with a false narrative of knowingly baseless accusations, all designed to undermine the constitutionally elected president. And in so doing, paralyze the nation and deliver to Russia exactly what they wanted.
How America longs for the days of a loyal opposition of patriots dedicated to the best interests of the country rather than their own power.