The Wall Street Journal published an editorial Sunday which described the collusion narrative as a conspiracy theory, one that we’ve spent way too much time on in the past two years:
Well, so much for the claim that Donald Trump or his campaign conspired with Russians to steal the American Presidency. That conspiracy theory, which has distorted American politics for more than two years, expired in an instant Sunday when Attorney General William Barr delivered Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “principal conclusions” to Congress…
The Russia conclusion in particular ought to be good news to all Americans. Mr. Mueller spent two years and the vast resources of the FBI and Justice Department to search for “collusion.” He found ample evidence that Russia did try to influence the election. But he found that no one in the Trump campaign “coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign,” Mr. Barr wrote.
This lifts the cloud over the 2016 election that authoritarians like Vladimir Putin hope to promote with their meddling in democracies. It means no Trump officials abetted the hack into Democratic emails, and no Trump officials conspired with WikiLeaks (Roger Stone’s fantasies aside). The conclusion should restore a measure of public confidence in our political system and the integrity of U.S. elections. Imagine the political crisis had Mr. Mueller found the opposite?
The end of the collusion illusion should also cause the media to do some soul-searching about rushes to judgment. For two years, with the help of ex-Obama officials, they spun anecdotes of contacts between Russians and Trump campaign advisers into a conspiracy. With few exceptions they went well beyond First Amendment oversight into anti-Trump advocacy. But it was always odd that those individual Russia-Trump contacts never added up to anything or went anywhere, which is why we warned about waiting for the facts.
So is this being treated as “good news” by the media and the left? If you spent 10 minutes on Twitter this weekend you already know the answer to that. The left isn’t greeting this conclusion with relief but with dismay. They are already spinning new theories about what this report shows and how it needs further investigation by Democrats in Congress. In short, they aren’t letting this go. Here’s Brian Beutler writing for Crooked this morning:
Long before Special Counsel Robert Mueller finished his investigation, the public record was littered with detail—from indictments and investigative reports and the president’s comments and his son’s inbox—showing that the Trump campaign had worked knowingly and in tandem with the Russian government to win the 2016 election.
The scandal that has come to be called “collusion” had been substantiated, in other words, and all we awaited from Mueller was a final assessment of how deep it ran, and whether any of it constituted criminal activity…
Notwithstanding Barr’s heroic, lawyerly effort to create a sense that Mueller has exonerated Trump, the letter he delivered to Congress on Sunday is nearly silent on all of these questions, and actually suggests that the report’s contents are deeply damaging to the president.
On close reading, Barr’s putative summary of the Mueller report clears Trump of only the most narrowly drawn accusations, which nobody was making.
So, apparently, we already knew collusion happened we were just waiting to see if Mueller would bring charges. Also according to Beutler, nobody was making the charge that the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians to win the 2016 election. This doesn’t really make any sense but it doesn’t have to really. This is just a sad refrain of “Don’t stop believin’, hold on to that feeling” for Democrats who cannot bring themselves to face the truth.
Collusion is a hell of a drug but going cold turkey is going to be tough for a lot of people who did not see this coming. Van Jones said Democrats need time to grieve, but what a lot of them need is the rhetorical equivalent of methadone: Something to keep them going now that there aren’t going to be any more “Boom” stories to inject into their veins. Fortunately, they have plenty of people in the left-media eager to provide them with that.
Just to give you an idea what the addicts are going to be missing, here’s Rachel Maddow saying some variation of “Russia” about 100 times in one episode of her show:
Maddow? No way it's not like this clip was spliced from a single show. pic.twitter.com/oHITN8928k
— Currie Dobson (@Ventuckyspaz) March 23, 2019