The ugly question: What if the Russia Russia Russia story was nothing?

Everyone has been busily trying to parse the Jeff Sessions testimony since the Attorney General took the stand but there doesn’t seem to be a lot to work with. Allahpundit talked about the number of times that Sessions declined to answer certain questions about private conversations he had with the president, but that’s some fairly thin gruel to build a presidency-ending scandal out of. (More on that below.) But the one question which seems to still be off limits for most of the MSM is the really ugly one: what if this turns out to be a dry hole?

Much of the speculation swirling around this entire saga has been based on anonymous sources supposedly spilling secrets about Oval Office conversations or supposed Russians hiding behind the potted plants. With all of that smoke, there certainly must be a fire, right? But that depends whether the smoke is coming from an actual blaze or some reporting blazing up some prime wacky tobacky. Having hearings was supposed to clear up many of these questions. Take for example the widely reported and frequently repeated assertion that the Attorney General had a third, unreported meeting with the Russians at the Mayflower. That’s been stated so often that it’s basically become an article of faith on CNN and MSNBC. But yesterday Sessions was asked about it and he simply said… no. There was no third meeting. (Fox News)

“I would have gladly reported the encounter that some say occurred in the Mayflower, if I remembered it, or if it actually occurred, which I don’t remember that it did,” Sessions said in response to questions from intelligence committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C.

And? What happens now? Unless the New York Times can produce some video or at least a credible witness who saw Session sneaking off into the cloak room with the Russian ambassador or one of his henchmen that’s pretty much a dead end. And that’s falling into a pattern with so many other aspects of the entire tapestry of accusations against the Trump administration, a group of allegedly nefarious traitors who were colluding with the Russians to cripple the American elections. David French at National Review tackles what may eventually become the biggest question of all. What if that never happened and it was all a fictional tale assembled by the media?

While we certainly aren’t privy to all the relevant information or all the relevant testimony, nothing that James Comey said last week or that Jeff Sessions said today (much less any of the questions directed his way) contained so much as a meaningful hint that the Committee was on the verge of uncovering the political scandal of the century. Rather, the focus keeps shifting to much narrower questions regarding Trump’s decision to fire James Comey — questions that are important but far less historically consequential than any claim that a president or his attorney general are traitors to their country…

Truth is truth, and it’s important for responsible people to not just understand and respond to actual evidence — no matter where it leads — but also acknowledge its absence. And so far the absence of evidence points to Trump’s innocence of some of the worst allegations ever leveled against an American president or his senior team.

If all of the congressional hearings and the investigatory work by Mueller and the FBI reports end up coming up with nothing but a couple of people forgetting to list some dinner parties they attended, then what? French is correct. We’ve been living through a media onslaught for months now which has essentially been built on the assumption that the current President and/or his team were involved in something which is nothing short of treasonous. It fills the airwaves and the column inches of widely read publications on a daily (if not hourly) basis.

You don’t have to look far to find examples. Even with the Sessions testimony producing nothing of value, Politico is still referring to the entire saga as, “the Russia imbroglio plaguing the Trump administration.” Failing to find the aforementioned Russians hiding behind the potted ferns, they immediately switch to the more “narrow” questions David French referred to. Take a look at what managed to pass for “scandalous” from the Sessions testimony, and more importantly what the authors think Sessions should have been asked. (Emphasis added)

Much of Tuesday’s hearing was devoted to Sessions’ refusal to answer certain questions that he said endangered executive branch confidences, but there were also the questions that were never asked.

The most glaring: Did Sessions ever offer to resign due to Trump’s dissatisfaction with his job performance, as several news outlets have reported? The attorney general might have punted, but his reaction might have betrayed the answer.

Sessions was also never asked whether he did anything at all after Comey expressed discomfort with his interactions with the president. The attorney general generally rebuffed questions about his dealings with Trump, but there were no questions about whether Sessions relayed Comey’s concerns to anyone, such as other Justice Department officials or the White House counsel. Sessions said Comey could have brought the concerns to others but never said he suggested any such action.

Another potential layup might have been to ask Sessions whether he considers Comey a “nut job” or “crazy” — as Trump reportedly said in a meeting with Russian officials just a day after sacking the FBI director.

Seriously? That’s the gristle we’ve been served to chew on? What originally was supposedly a shocking expose of Trump’s co-conspirators huddling in a smoke-filled basement office of the Kremlin with Vladimir Putin has now boiled down to an investigation to find out whether or not an anonymous source of the Washington Post was correct in saying Sessions considered resigning. We have outraged demands that the Attorney General fess up as to whether he ever thought James Comey was, and I quote… “a nut job.”

The media has spent months effectively accusing the President and his team of treason. So I ask again… what if there’s nothing to the story? Do we all shake our heads and move on to The Next Big Thing? We demand transparency and accountability of our elected leaders, but is there any sort of accountability for the media? Would there ever be, as unimaginable as it seems… an apology?

Don’t hold your breath.

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