June 14, 2024
Law in the Service of Partisan Politics
This is an exquisitely planned political campaign. (???)
This is an exquisitely planned political campaign. (???)

Russiagate has always been a political narrative masquerading as a federal investigation. Its objective, plain and simple, has been twofold: first, to hamstring Donald Trump’s capacity to press the agenda on which he ran (immigration enforcement, conservative judicial nominees, deregulation, and a military build-up, along with skepticism about military interventions, free trade, and NATO); and ultimately, to render him unelectable come autumn 2020.

That’s it. That’s what FBI agent Peter Strzok so aptly called the “insurance policy.”

Yes, of course, if some grievous misconduct had emerged, something so egregious that Beltway Republicans could chance the wrath of the Trump base by hopping aboard the impeachment train, Democrats might take a shot at removing the president. But that, as they say in the Green New Deal biz, was just “aspirational.”

The real work in the here and now is hardball politics: Hem Trump in. Politicize the intelligence and law-enforcement apparatus. Signal to the public through intelligence leaks and suggestive official public statements that the president was suspected of conspiring with the Kremlin. Convince Trump that using the presidency’s arsenal to fight back would just bolster the obstruction case against him. Sic a special counsel on him if he lashed out anyway. Use the investigation as a rationale for slow-walking Trump nominees and for refusing to deal with him on such critical issues as border enforcement. Drive his numbers down.

It’s working.

It had to have been clear to investigators as of late 2017 that there was no “collusion” case against the president — no proof of a conspiracy with the Kremlin to undermine the 2016 election.

In September 2017, five months after Robert Mueller took over the Russia investigation, the Justice Department stopped seeking surveillance warrants — i.e., it decided to stop peddling the Steele dossier to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. That means the government no longer stood behind the Clinton-campaign-sponsored opposition-research screed, which alleged — based on anonymous Russian sources — that there was a Trump–Putin conspiracy to undermine the election.

In the months that followed, Mueller returned several indictments. His charges against two sets of Russians indicated that the Kremlin sought no collaboration with Americans; his charges against Trump associates had no connection to Russia.

Notwithstanding the absence of proof, though, the collusion investigation continued for over a year, until late March 2019. Is it any wonder, then, that over 40 percent of Americans continue to believe the Trump campaign was in cahoots with Moscow — even after the announcement that Mueller concluded there was no Trump–Russia conspiracy?


See Also:

(1) Nadler’s show trial, not Barr, deserves to be held in contempt

(2) Anti-Trump dossier roils Capitol Hill anew after revelations about bias

(3) William Barr vs. Eric Holder: A Tale of Two Attorneys General

(4) The Real Democratic Agenda: To Impeach Trump

(5) Judicial Watch: Records Obtained in Court-Ordered Discovery Reveal Obama White House Tracking FOIA Request for Clinton Emails