by Victor Davis Hanson
October 28, 2017
Despite having both an expansive budget and a large legal team, Special Investigator Robert Mueller likely will not find President Trump culpable for any Russian collusion—or at least no court or congressional vote would, even if Mueller recommends an indictment.
That likelihood becomes clearer as the Trump investigators—in Congress, in the Justice Department, and the legions in the media—begin to grow strangely silent about the entire collusion charge, as other scandals mount and crowd out the old empty story.
This news boomerang poses the obvious question—was the zeal of the original accusers of felony behavior with the Russian collusion merely an attempt at deflection? Was it designed to protect themselves from being accused of serious crimes?
What Did the FBI Do?
It was bad enough that the original narrative had the authors of the so-called Fusion GPS/Steele dossier leaking their smears to the media. Worse, the FBI, in the earlier fashion of the Clinton campaign, may have paid to obtain the Fusion concoction.
Now it appears that some of the leakers who had the file in their possession also may have belonged to the American intelligence community.
Did the FBI pass around its purchased smears to other intelligence agencies and the Obama administration in the unspoken hope that, in seeing the file had been so sanctioned and widely read, some intelligence operative or one of the Obama people would wink and nod as they leaked it to the press?
And why did the progenitors of the Steele dossier fraud—the Fusion GPS consortium and former Wall Street Journal reporters (a firm that had a prior history of smearing political enemies with “opposition research”) and working indirectly on behalf of Russian interests—reportedly behind closed doors invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying about the dossier, its origins, and its funding before the House Intelligence Committee?
Increasingly, James Comey seems to be caught in contradictions of his own making. The former FBI director may well have misled the U.S. Congress in deliberate fashion, both about the timeline of events that led him to recommend not charging Hillary Clinton and about his denials that the FBI had communications about the bizarre “accidental” meeting on an Arizona tarmac between the U.S. Attorney General and Bill Clinton.
How does an FBI Director get away with leaking his own notes, ostensibly FBI property, to the media with the expressed intent of leveraging the selection of a special prosecutor, only to succeed in having his friend, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, appointed to that very post—an official who presumably and earlier had been investigating possible Clinton collusion with Russian uranium interests?
So Many Questions, So Few Answers
Apart from noting how strange and surreal it was, no one yet knows the full relationship between former Democrat National Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her IT “expert,” the now-indicted Imran Awan.
Why would Wasserman-Schultz go out of her way to protect him and by extension his network from government investigations—even as Awan’s criminal familial enterprises, as well as his unauthorized and perhaps illegal conduct concerning government communications, were being exposed?
Why is Awan apparently eager to talk to prosecutors about his relationships with Wasserman-Schultz and other congressional representatives?
Why did an “in-the-know” Wasserman-Schultz apparently allow Awan to act so illegally for so long?
In other words, the behavior of the former head of the DNC seems inexplicable.
After initial denials, Susan Rice now admits that she unmasked the names of private U.S. citizens swept up in Obama administration intelligence surveillance and seems to have no regrets about it.
Samantha Power, the Obama administration’s former U.N. ambassador, does not deny that she, too, unmasked names—but strangely is reported to have argued that she was not responsible for all the unmaskings that appear under her authorizations on the transcripts.
If true, does that astonishing statement mean that she has amnesia or that her own staff or others improperly used her name to access classified documents?
Has anyone ever admitted to unmasking American citizens under surveillance, and then claimed that her authorizations were not as numerous as they appear in documents? And what were the connections between those who unmasked and those who illegally leaked information to the press?
Despite roadblocks and media obfuscation, we are strangely still inching along a pathway that may end up not far from Donald Trump’s once widely ridiculed tweet that “Obama” (read: members of the Obama administration) had Trump’s “wires tapped” (read: electronically surveilled) “in Trump Tower” (read: among other places too) “just before the victory” (read: probably well before).
But perhaps the biggest bombshell concerns the entire foundation of the “Russian collusion” accusations. The Hill, not known as a conservative organ, now is reporting that as early as 2009 some within Robert Mueller’s FBI knew of possible blackmail, bribery, and money-laundering by Russian interests in seeking, through various means, control of sizable uranium sources inside the United States—an agenda Putin’s surrogates apparently knew to be impossible without a waiver from Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
Where the Real Collusion Lurked
Even as Mueller presses ahead and even as anti-Trump journalists have sought for a year to find any proof that Trump was a Russian patsy, the charge of “collusion” may be proved accurate after all—but it seems to have had little to do with Trump per se.
Instead, Bill and Hillary Clinton, the former directly, the latter via the family foundation, may well have been empowering and profiting from Russian insiders who were eager to obtain control of 20 percent of North America’s uranium holdings.
Indeed, Russian agents caught spying in connection with the deal were swapped out—in a not very favorable trade for the United States—without much audit.
Stranger still, so far the denials have not contested the facts, but only the efficacy of the Russian-Clinton deal: there was supposedly not any wrongdoing given that so far the Russians have not shipped out any uranium as if a habitually drunk driver is not culpable until he kills someone on the road.
Barack Obama was strangely in no hurry to move on the opportunistic Russian collusion charges against Donald Trump during the campaign or between his election and inauguration—and perhaps not just because he knew there was no there there.
Instead, Obama wisely may have concluded that if quid pro quo election-timed concessions to Russian interests constitute a criminal or treasonous offense, then his own hot-mic offer to the Putin government was a similar transgression.
But more important, it seems likely now that Obama knew that any such reopening of the Russian question would not only expose a compromised Clinton in an election cycle but also his own administration—as knowledge of politically motivated decisions to ignore what might well have indictable offenses came to light.
At this point, it would be silly to ask why there will be no more $145 million gifts from Russian interests to the Clinton Foundation (or from anyone, for that matter), or no more $500,000 fees for a single Bill Clinton speech.
Whereas the Clintons are always willing to sell something that properly belongs to the government, they are no longer in any position to negotiate anything and thus by their own financial standards have zero monetary value to the sorts who in the past were eager to buy them.
Are we finally nearing the end of our own Jacobin (i.e., radical left-wing) cycle of revolutionary fervor—as wild charges of criminality are exposed to be little more than the bitter feelings over a blown election or, worse, efforts either to nullify that election or an attempt to cloak the accusers’ own felonious behavior?
But the inquisitions will likely stop only when the inquisitors, under intense pressures, learn that they have far more exposure to the very charges that they have leveled—and thus finally beg to call the whole sordid matter off.
Diminished Institutions, Stark Truths
In a fair world, Robert Mueller would find that his original agenda had proved irrelevant, other than incidentally colliding with far more serious culpability on the part of many of those who had energized him.
He would then either drop the investigation, recuse himself, or expand it to include far more likely charges of collusion that affected our national security.
In a fair world, those in the House Ethics Committee long ago would have dropped politically motivated and empty complaints against Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and would have agreed that he was simply a political target.
He was preemptively targeted not for leaking classified government information (which he did not do), but for presciently long ago announcing to intelligence agencies and to the president that Obama Administration officials had likely improperly unmasked information about private U.S. citizens that was subsequently unlawfully leaked to the press—a tawdry process that ultimately may well be connected to many of the scandals mentioned above.
And in a fair world, those who were determined to indict all who profited from Russian largesse would conclude that the Clinton machine always should have been their most likely target.
America is in a radical state of flux, or rather in a great accounting and recalibration, ranging from government to popular culture.
Hollywood lived a lie and now is not what it was just three weeks ago.
The NFL was based on known but ignored hypocrisies and is no longer the league it was in September.
The media has put rank partisanship before truth and lost ideologically and morally.
And the lie about Russian collusion has sired truths beyond our wildest nightmares.