In a completely unexpected development, the House Intelligence Committee announced this week that its exhaustive investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election has concluded, and there is no evidence of collusion between anyone in the Trump campaign and Russia. Case closed! What a relief.
Maybe it was because the news broke just before Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired — as was one of Tillerson’s close aides, as was the president’s “body man,” who apparently has some gambling issues (no security risk there) — but the Intelligence Committee’s exoneration of the president didn’t make quite the splash they were no doubt hoping for. Or maybe it was because by now the House Intelligence Committee has all the credibility of the 6-year-old down the street who tells you that his dad is an astronaut who plays in the NBA and invented skateboards. If President Trump wanted a whitewash, he certainly could have done better than this.
In their yet-to-be-released report, the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee grudgingly admit that Russia did attempt to meddle in our election, but they make the extraordinary claim that the Kremlin did so without any preference as to who would win. This is in direct contradiction of the American intelligence community, which last year released its collective judgment that “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”
It also flies in the face of everything that went on in broad daylight: When the Russians hacked into Democratic party emails and released them with a timing meant to maximize damage to Clinton (one set was released during the Democratic convention, and the other immediately after the Access Hollywood tape came to light), it’s a little hard to say they weren’t trying to help either candidate. Naturally, the president gave his lickspittles an all-caps shoutout:
THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
What the Republicans on the committee seem to have missed is that if you want to use your investigation to throw people off the scent, you have to convey the impression of seriousness and impartiality. Instead, they’ve suffered one embarrassing pratfall after another in their attempts to exonerate the president and his team, the most dramatic of which was the “Nunes memo,” in which committee chair Devin Nunes tried to convince everyone that the entire Russia scandal is a misbegotten outrage stemming from the FBI’s unfair surveillance of former Trump aide Carter Page. Even on its own terms the Nunes memo was a dud, but when the Democrats on the committee released their rebuttal, it was shown to be an absurdly misleading dud.
And now it’s going to …read more
Source:: The Week – Politics