What did the Steele dossier hoax cost America?

To the extent that it soiled our politics, damaged U.S. standing and foreign relations, or influenced the calculations and miscalculations of Vladimir Putin, the blame lies in one place only. Whatever the Kremlin’s own six-figure investment in Facebook and Twitter memes or even its trafficking in stolen Democratic emails, nothing in Vladimir Putin’s bag of tricks inflicted one-millionth the damage on American life that the Steele fabrications did.

As can also be seen now with perfect clarity, Mr. Trump’s own contributions to the collusion legend, which are still adduced by certain morons in the press as evidence, received whatever shaky valence they had only by association with the false Steele narrative. Mr. Trump’s joke about Russia releasing Hillary’s emails was just that, an inappropriate joke. And so on, right through to his unfortunate performance at the Helsinki summit and his ill-advised alighting on Ukraine policy for half a second. An unseasoned (and blowhardy) politician was flailing under an unprecedented assault from fabricated treason allegations and a press determined to paint his election as illegitimate.

Mr. Trump may be a compendium of human vices but he will always be the president who withstood the most insidious, organized slur in modern memory. His enemies did that for him, not least among them a largely cretinous media that showed its true colors, which turned out to have nothing to do with fearless and searching concern for the truth.