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The Russia non-hoax

November 22, 2021

Jonathan Chait writes the necessary corrective to the nonsense being peddled on the right, that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a hoax. I do not believe that those pushing that have such short memories. The investigation into Russian interference did not begin with the Steele dossier, nor did the latter play much role in the election. Both the Mueller Report and the Senate Intelligence Report focused on the more important issues that did:

The most conclusive investigation into the counterintelligence danger posed by Trump’s ties to Russia — that is to say, the noncriminal ways Trump was implicated in, and compromised by, Russia — was conducted by the Senate Intelligence Committee. That bipartisan report is extensive and damning. It identifies two channels of cooperation between the Trump campaign and its Russian allies. First, campaign manager Paul Manafort, who communicated regularly with Russian agent Konstantin Kilimnik, including giving him regular supplies of campaign polling data. And second, working through adviser Roger Stone, the campaign “took actions to obtain advance notice about WikiLeaks releases of Clinton emails; took steps to obtain inside information about the content of releases once WikiLeaks began to publish stolen information.”

Nothing has undermined the evidence that Russia hacked the DNC, that Russia worked hard to influence the election, that Trump’s campaign welcomed that and worked with that. Chait points to the rhetorical sleight-of-hand:

Conservatives have almost entirely ignored the Senate Intelligence Committee report. None of the conservative columns I linked to above even mention the Senate Intelligence report; indeed, the conservative media has almost uniformly refused to acknowledge it at all.

And likewise, the Mueller report. And all the other documentary evidence about a very real scandal, of which the Steele dossier was an unimportant side bit. I would quibble with Chait’s phrasing. Honest conservatives aren’t playing that game. Only the ones who have bought into the Trump stream of bullshit.

Russia again has its eyes on expansion into Ukraine. When historians look back at recent decades, I suspect it will be Putin that they view as the preeminent leader of the right wing movements of our time. 

Update: David Frum now has written It Wasn’t a Hoax, which nicely distinguishes between the Steele dossier and what we know about Russia’s work to get Trump elected. 

One Comment leave one →
  1. Douglas Rothkopf permalink
    November 22, 2021 8:44 am

    The US is now going to suffer the absence of Yavonavich and Hill as Russia amasses troops on the. Ukraine border. The corruption of Trump was more then personal venality but civilization changing.

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