After 22 months of breathless speculation and cable-news media obsession, the glorified circle jerk known as the Mueller probe reached its anticlimactic conclusion last weekend.
In a letter Attorney General William Barr penned for Congress on Sunday, summarizing the principal findings of the Special Counsel’s report, the AG wrote: “The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
As a result, the report, which legions of cable news pundits, legal “experts,” intelligence analysts, and Twitter #Resistance scam artists swore to us would sink the president and his inner circle, “does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public.”
However, the Mueller report stopped short of exonerating the president from obstruction of justice charges. Celebrity attorney and Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz calls the Special Counsel’s lack of conclusiveness on this topic a “cop out,” as the whole point of appointing a special prosecutor is so they can make binary, yes-no decisions about the existence of crimes.
A $35 Million Fishing Expedition
According to Barr’s letter the Special Counsel employed 19 lawyers, “who were assisted by a team of 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff.” The Mueller probe issued over 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants, 230 orders for communications records, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed roughly 500 witnesses. Altogether, this fraudulent fishing expedition is projected to cost American taxpayers as much as $35 million.
While it’s true that the Mueller investigation led to 199 charges against 34 people and three companies, including six of Trump’s former advisers and associates, the fact remains that not a single American has been charged, indicted, or convicted for conspiring with Russia to influence the 2016 election. That is to say, all crimes uncovered by this investigation had nothing to do with the specified scope of the probe.
This Generations’ WMD
Deconstructing this partisan hoax, journalist Matt Taibbi offered what is perhaps the most insightful take on this media dud, calling the Trump-Russia, tinfoil-hat conspiracy “this generation’s WMD” – a reference to the Iraq nukes that never manifested.
In a blog post written following the release of the AG’s letter, Taibbi says the Special Counsel’s final conclusions signify “a death-blow for the reputation of the American news media.” Calling the media’s error “many order of magnitudes more stupid than any in recent past, WMD included,” Taibbi writes that “once again, a narrative became turbo-charged when officials with motives pulled the press corps by its nose to a swamp of unconfirmable private assertions.”
The officials most culpable for spreading #Russiagate disinformation are former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan and ex-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Brennan and Clapper were hired as intelligence analysts by MSNBC and CNN, respectively, where they spent the better half of the last two years peddling and fueling baseless conspiracies theories about President Trump’s ties to Russia.
Who would have guessed that if news outlets hired lifelong intelligence operatives trained in deceit, disinformation and propaganda, that they would end up misleading millions of their viewers? They turned themselves into CIA-TV & are now paying the price https://t.co/IaxiExi0ko https://t.co/6Nr6E6beWe
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 25, 2019
Between both spooks, resting-irritable-bowel-faced Brennan is arguably the most absurd of the two. In a tweet last year, Brennan insisted that Trump’s interactions with Putin in a July 2018 press conference in Helsinki “rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous.”
Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) July 16, 2018
And yet the Trump administration’s push for regime change in Venezuela, the bullying tactics it has used to discourage Germany from buying Russian natural gas, its sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to the Ukraine, and its bombing of Syria –a Russian client-regime state – all undermine Kremlin interests, in direct contradiction to Brennan’s idiotic and self-serving narrative.
Genesis of the Hysteria
The genesis of Russiagate lies in the unverified Steele dossier, a salacious opposition research report compiled by British spy Christopher Steele, which among other things, alleged the existence of an R. Kellyesque “pee-pee tape” that the Russians were holding over Trump as kompromat.
Supposedly, the story goes, Trump, while on a business trip in Moscow, hired a group of prostitutes to perform a “golden shower” on a bed formerly used by Barack and Michelle Obama. The Kremlin allegedly captured the lurid tryst on tape and, clairvoyantly predicting Trump’s inevitable rise as the 2016 GOP candidate, strategized to use the footage to gain favorable concessions from the man destined to be president.
This salacious dossier and a Yahoo media report that pulled heavily from the dossier served as the basis for the first Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that the FBI used to launch the Russia investigation and spy on the Trump campaign.
According to Taibbi, the FBI’s abuse of FISA powers is “similar to a laundering technique used in the WMD episode called ‘stove-piping,’ i.e. officials using the press to ‘confirm’ information the officials themselves fed the reporter.”
#Resistance Grifters Won’t Give Up
A short two-minute video for those of you in the media pitifully insisting that no media reckoning is needed and journalists performed beautifully, soberly and responsibly throughout this whole saga: pic.twitter.com/PF5s2kTcYA
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 25, 2019
Even after the AG’s release of the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions, #Resistance grifters like Seth Abramson, Malcolm Nance, Louise Mensch, Rachel Maddow, Congressman Adam Schiff, and the Krassenstein twins refuse to concede defeat.
Scanning Twitter, this brain trust can be found pointing to 19 ongoing investigations into the president and his businesses, conjectures about sealed indictments with other agencies, suggesting that Barr has fallen for Mueller’s “trap,” thus enabling Congress to take the lead on determining obstruction of justice charges, and even that the AG is somehow distorting Mueller’s findings.
But this is all crap. The Russia hysteria that has divided the country and made MSNBC’s Maddow the highest-rated cable news anchor was all built on a lie, disseminated by the intelligence community to an uncritical, subservient, and disingenuous media-industrial complex that refused to accept that a historically unlikeable candidate like Hillary Clinton lost to a chauvinistic game-show host with no political experience.
As critics on both sides of the aisle call for the public release of the full Mueller report, whatever findings contained therein do not change the fact that there will be no more Special Counsel indictments, sealed or otherwise.
In the end, the whole Trump-Russia conspiracy theory turned out to be just that and the irresponsible corporate media that blindly accepted and reported the inventions of the intel community will face no reckoning for its journalistic failure.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Who would have guessed that if news outlets hired lifelong intelligence operatives trained in deceit, disinformation and propaganda, that they would end up misleading millions of their viewers? They turned themselves into CIA-TV & are now paying the price <a href=”https://t.co/IaxiExi0ko”>https://t.co/IaxiExi0ko</a> <a href=”https://t.co/6Nr6E6beWe”>https://t.co/6Nr6E6beWe</a></p>— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/1110142254310744064?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>March 25, 2019</a></blockquote>
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