By Stephen F. Cohen
June 03, 2019 "Information
Clearing House" -
It cannot be
emphasized too often: Russiagate—allegations
that the American president has been
compromised by the Kremlin, which may even
have helped to put him in the White House—is
the worst and (considering the lack of
actual evidence) most fraudulent political
scandal in American history. We have yet to
calculate the damage Russsiagate has
inflicted on America’s democratic
institutions, including the presidency and
the electoral process, and on domestic and
foreign perceptions of American democracy,
or on US-Russian relations at a critical
moment when both sides, having “modernized”
their nuclear weapons, are embarking on a
new, more dangerous, and largely unreported
Rational (if politically innocent) observers may have thought that when the Mueller report found no “collusion” or other conspiracy between Trump and Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin, only possible “obstruction” by Trump—nothing Mueller said in his May 29 press statement altered that conclusion—Russiagate would fade away. If so, they were badly mistaken. Evidently infuriated that Mueller did not liberate the White House from Trump, Russiagate promoters—liberal Democrats and progressives foremost among them—have only redoubled their unverified collusion allegations, even in once-respectable media outlets. Whether out of political ambition or impassioned faith, the damage wrought by these Russiagaters continues to mount, with no end in sight.
One way to end Russiagate might be to discover how it actually began. Considering what we have learned, or been told, since the allegations became public nearly three years ago, in mid-2016, there seem to be at least three hypothetical possibilities:
1. One is the orthodox Russiagate explanation: Early on, sharp-eyed top officials of President Obama’s intelligence agencies, particularly the CIA and FBI, detected truly suspicious “contacts” between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russians “linked to the Kremlin” (whatever that may mean, considering that the presidential administration employs hundreds of people), and this discovery legitimately led to the full-scale “counterintelligence investigation” initiated in July 2016. Indeed, Mueller documented various foreigners who contacted, or who sought to contact, the Trump campaign. The problem here is that Mueller does not tell us, and we do not know, if the number of them was unusual.
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