WATCH: There is no Trump-Russia collusion and the media should stop pushing this

With every passing week it becomes more and more apparent there was corruption and collusion in the 2016 election cycle. It just wasn’t with Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE.

The Grassley-Graham memo has confirmed what many of us had suspected for months: The FBI did in fact use the Steele dossier as the key — if not sole — “new" evidence for its FISA application.

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Or, to put it another way, our top law-enforcement bureau used a piece of partisan propaganda filled with Russian disinformation to secure a FISA warrant to spy on U.S. citizens on American soil.

 

This leaves us with only two possible conclusions. Either the senior level of both the national intelligence community and the FBI are incompetent (which is not inconceivable, after reading fired FBI director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyThere was nothing remotely treasonous in Trump's performance with Putin Opinion: One FBI text message in Russia probe that should alarm every American Clapper: Intel officials showed Trump evidence of Putin's role in election meddling MORE’s Twitter feed and hearing former CIA director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanThe Memo: Summit fallout hits White House CNN's Camerota to Santorum on Putin: 'Do you get dizzy living in upside-down world?' There was nothing remotely treasonous in Trump's performance with Putin MORE’s flip-flopping media appearances).

Or they knew exactly what they were doing in using the unsubstantiated dossier as a core intelligence document (remember, it was used as briefing material for both President Obama and his National Security Council) and a thin excuse to spy.  

Despite disclosures that the FBI’s own internal team said the dossier was, at best, only minimally corroborated, the FBI’s use of the dossier multiple times as evidence to secure extensions for the FISA warrant leads one to believe that James Comey would stop at nothing to bring down Donald Trump.

As Lee Smith at Tablet Magazine has described the FBI’s handling of the Steele dossier for FISA warrant on former Trump policy adviser Carter Page, Comey “violated the privacy of an American citizen in order to advance a conspiracy theory that would benefit one presidential candidate at the expense of another.” One would think Comey has lawyered up because he has quite a bit of explaining to do.

But it’s not just the CIA, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI who apparently thought they were above the law and the Constitution. We now have revelations that the State Department was involved with the Steele dossier.

It would appear that two of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House protests extend into sixth day despite rain Clinton: US is 'losing friends and allies' under Trump Justice Dept releases surveillance applications for former Trump aide MORE’s dirty tricksters, freelance journalist and longtime ally Cody Shearer and longtime confidant Sidney Blumenthal, were involved with Jonathan Winer, a former official at the State Department, in planting and laundering more misinformation that Steele used to corroborate his own misinformation.

As the scandal starts to ripple out beyond the DOJ and FBI, and into the State Department, we also need to remember just how large a role the CIA played in the initial dossier rollout: Brennan, then its director, was briefing Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSenate GOP breaks record on confirming Trump picks for key court Don’t worry (too much) about Kavanaugh changing the Supreme Court Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick MORE (D-Nev.) on Russian interference in the fall of 2016.

That briefing very likely (based off Reid’s letter to Comey) used information from the dossier. There are reports from the Business Insider that Reid did actually receive an early copy of the dossier, either from Brennan, Comey or potentially others.

Comey, Brennan and then-Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperThere was nothing remotely treasonous in Trump's performance with Putin The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump eyes second Putin summit Clapper: Intel officials showed Trump evidence of Putin's role in election meddling MORE were actually briefing President Obama and President-elect Trump on the contents of the dossier, all while publicly proclaiming that the dossier was salacious and unverified. By talking about it and briefing on it, it would appear they were intentionally legitimizing the false claims of the dossier. Either they acted incompetently or they acted intentionally. Perhaps it was a mixture of both.

All of the breathless rumor-mongering, the briefings, the innuendo, all based on a fake dossier, has spun up the narrative of Trump-Russia collusion. Yet, there’s simply no "there" there, after more than 18 months of investigation.

It’s a house-of-cards narrative with no facts to support it. No matter how badly many on the political left want Trump’s “”collusion” to be true, it is desperately hard to turn fairytales into facts.

While many on the left cling to their sad dreams, more and more evidence is mounting that the real collusion was, in fact, between Democrats and Russia, involving the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign.

In banana republics, the party in power weaponizes the state against political opponents to stay in power. It’s becoming clearer by the day that Obama’s DOJ, FBI, State Department and even the CIA were weaponized against Trump.

With the thin excuse of the Steele dossier, it’s becoming far more believable that, instead of being for national security reasons, all of this was spun up for political reasons. One can argue that Trump the Outsider was an existential threat to the administrative state,  and also to the justice and intelligence communities which, over the course of decades, have seemingly decided they are above the law and immune to congressional oversight.

What is equally shameful in all of this is the media’s complicity. It has acted as mouthpieces for lawless administrative-state actors and agents of Russian misinformation, by swallowing hook, line and sinker the dossier’s contents and running with that information.

It also apparently is completely disinterested, distinctly uncurious, as to what actually happened in 2016 with our government agencies. Many in the press apparently have no problem with partisan propaganda being used to destroy our civil liberties and Fourth Amendment rights. In their self-righteous crusade to bring down the “evil” Trump, the ends justify the means — so damn the inconvenient facts.

This behavior of the media is just as troubling as the behavior of the various governmental agencies. For there to be transparency and accountability in government, there has to be a free, honest and objective press, not one that is simply the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party and the administrative state. 

In 2016, we had a foreign agent by the name of Christopher Steele receiving funds from the DNC and the Clinton campaign, albeit indirectly, sowing Russian disinformation throughout our government and press, both of which willingly bought into it. We had the Obama administration colluding with the campaign of Hillary Clinton to bring down Donald Trump’s campaign — and, when that failed, many people continued trying to delegitimize and undercut it.

That is the real story of corruption and collusion.

 

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.