Trump, the Russia lie and why the House Intel Committee's report matters

Trump, the Russia lie and why the House Intel Committee's report matters
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Since the moment Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report MORE became the Republican nominee for president in 2016, his opponents have sought to smear him as an American traitor who enthusiastically colluded with the Kremlin to get elected and, as president, to serve Russia’s — not America’s — interests.

That collusion narrative was designed to accomplish the Three Big Goals: 1) to irreversibly discredit the candidate and, later, the new president as a willing tool of a U.S. adversary; 2) to so cripple his ability to govern that his agenda would be stillborn; and 3) ultimately, to serve as grounds for his removal from office.

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Why? Because Trump represents an existential threat to the guardians of the corrupt, existing order and, therefore, he must be destroyed.

 

Hence, the hatching of the Russia Lie and the attendant investigatory travesty, both aimed squarely at crushing the sitting president — and both under fire from the truth.

The Russia Lie suffered yet another heavy blow with Friday’s release of the final report from the House Intelligence Committee. It states flatly that the committee “found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government.”

And, in a powerful rebuke to the parts of the Deep State that assisted in creating and advancing the Russia Lie, the committee faulted the intelligence community for “significant intelligence tradecraft failings” and strongly disputed its earlier assessment that Russia had endeavored to elect Trump.

Trump immediately took to Twitter to once again claim vindication and call for the prompt end to all Russia-related investigations.

The GOP majority-written report didn’t completely let the Trump team off the hook, however, pointing to some instances of poor judgment: “While the committee found that several of the contacts between Trump associates and Russians — or their proxies, including WikiLeaks — were ill-advised, the committee did not determine that Trump or anyone associated with him assisted Russia’s active measures campaign.”

In other words, the Russians attempted some election interference, but neither Trump nor anyone on his team were willingly, actively or knowingly involved in it.

The Democrats, however, were a different story.

As the report notes, the Obama administration was acutely aware of the Russian active measures and responded merely in a “slow and inconsistent” manner, which is a polite way of saying that President Obama and his national security team knew the Russians were up to no good and did little to nothing about it. 

The committee also hit the Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonQueer Marine veteran launches House bid after incumbent California Rep. Susan Davis announces retirement Poll: Trump neck and neck with top 2020 Democrats in Florida Former immigration judge fined, temporarily banned from federal service for promoting Clinton policies MORE campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for hiring opposition research firm Fusion GPS which, in turn, contracted with former British spy Christopher Steele, who produced the now-infamous sordid dossier based, in part, on information from Kremlin-linked sources: “The Committee also found that the Clinton campaign and the DNC, using a series of cutouts and intermediaries to obscure their roles, paid for opposition research on Trump obtained from Russian sources, including a litany of claims by high-ranking current and former Russian government officials. Some of this opposition research was used to produce sixteen memos, which comprise what has become known as the Steele dossier.”

That pack of politically motivated lies — bought and paid for by the Democrats — was used by the Obama Department of Justice to secure Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants to spy on erstwhile Trump associate Carter Page and the Trump campaign more broadly. Those warrants allowed Trump’s political enemies to gather intelligence and possible incriminating evidence with which to take him out. The political weaponization of the secret FISA process is perhaps the most egregious — and dangerous — abuse of power in recent history.

Democrats, predictably, are fuming about the committee’s report, because it obliterates their longstanding calumny that Trump is a Putin bootlicker. But even they could only muster the weak countercharge that the willingness of some Trump associates to consider Russian offers of help implied “a consciousness of wrongfulness, if not illegality.”

For Democrats who’ve spent nearly two years on the Trump-Russia warpath, that’s mighty thin gruel. It’s also completely meaningless.

The good news is that while there are other ongoing investigations, the House Intelligence Committee’s findings dovetail with everything we know so far: that there was no collusion on the part of Trump or his campaign and may begin the end of the Russia Lie.

The bad news: Just as the phony dossier was used to generate the abusive FISA warrants, the Russia Lie was always a Trojan Horse issue used to grant an abusive special counsel authorization, open-ended in time and scope, to accomplish the three Big Goals.

Ending the Russia Lie is merely the first step in combating the leftist assault on the president and the country. The special counsel and other interminable farcical investigations, including into obstruction, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortLewandowski refuses to say whether Trump has offered him a pardon Democrats return to a battered Trump Manafort's legal team argues NY prosecution constitutes double jeopardy MORE, Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, are all in service of the greater plan.

They must end because the duly-elected president deserves to govern free from these persecutions — which is precisely what his enemies, the authors and drivers of the Lie, fear most.

Monica Crowley is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, based at King’s College in New York City, which examines national security, energy, risk-analysis and other public policy issues.