You’d have to be a complete idiot to believe the conspiracy theory being peddled by Hillary Clinton that Donald Trump is colluding with Russian intelligence to win the presidential election. It’s not merely over the top. It’s a paranoid fantasy.
But the meme is being repeated over and over.
It all seemingly began with Wikileaks on July 22 revealing Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails proving that the party was favoring Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the presidential primary on the eve of the party’s convention in Philadelphia.
Almost instantly, Obama administration officials were unsurprisingly pointing the finger at the Kremlin.
Because, the breach actually was not news. On June 14, the Washington Post had already reported beyond a shadow of a doubt that, “Russian government hackers penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee and gained access to the entire database of opposition research on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to committee officials and security experts who responded to the breach.”
Therefore, by the time Wikileaks dumped the emails, the Russian origins of the breach were already a known quantity.
Trump, responding to the leaked DNC emails story and the Russian connection, joked about the breach at a press event, implicating Clinton’s other email scandal, saying, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you’ll be rewarded mightily by our press.”
But that was not actually news, either. The Associated Press had reported in Sept. 2015 that Hillary Clinton’s private email server — you know, the one she denied contained classified information but really did — might have been penetrated by the Russians.
And by May 2016, it was reported by the popular political blog Gateway Pundit that Moscow had actually succeeded in penetrating Clinton’s emails and was carefully considering whether to leak the trove of documents, said to total 20,000. Allegedly, the Russians had piggybacked onto Clinton’s server by monitoring the renowned hacker known as Guccifer.
A month prior to that, the Panama Papers were revealed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that proved embarrassing to the Russian government after linking Russian President Vladimir Putin to offshore accounts. Putin laid the blame for the Panama Papers leak squarely at the feet of the U.S., saying at a press conference in April, “They are trying to destabilize us from within in order to make us more compliant.”
Did U.S.-backed Panama Papers revelations provoke a Russian-backed threat to expose Clinton’s private server emails and then the DNC email release via Wikileaks? If so, these document dumps could actually be a high stakes spy game of tit for tat between Russia and U.S., designed to weaken both administrations.
None of that implicates Trump, really. He was responding to news dispatches at the July press conference. And if the original June Washington Post report on the DNC email hack was to be believed, it was not just the DNC that had been breached. Trump too was targeted, according to report, which stated, “The networks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were also targeted by Russian spies, as were the computers of some Republican political action committees, U.S. officials said.”
But that didn’t stop Clinton. Within 9 days of the Wikileaks hack, she appeared on Fox News Sunday linking the hacks to Trump for good measure, saying, “We know that Russian intelligence services hacked into the DNC, and we know that they arranged for a lot of those emails to be released, and we know that Donald Trump has shown a very troubling willingness to back up Putin, to support Putin.” Here, Clinton is implicating her opponent, Trump, of engaging in espionage, admittedly via innuendo.
It wouldn’t stop there, as surrogates made more direct charges. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright doubled down at the convention in July, saying, “The truth is that a Trump victory in November would be a gift to Vladimir Putin — and given what we have learned about Russia’s recent actions, Putin is eager for Trump to win. And that should worry every American.”
More utter nonsense.
Then there was Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s Aug. 29 letter to FBI Director James Comey, urging an immediate investigation into Trump, stating, “The evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign continues to mount and has led Michael Morrell, the forming Acting Central Intelligence Director, to call Trump an ‘unwitting agent’ of Russia and the Kremlin.”
“The American people deserve to have a full understanding of the facts from a completed investigation before they vote this November,” Reid added. Yeah, right. Sure the FBI will get right on that one. Talk about a conspiracy theory.
President Barack Obama briefly alluded to the espionage once again at the G20 meeting in China on Sept. 5, suggesting, “[O]ur goal is not to suddenly, in the cyber arena, duplicate a cycle of escalation that we saw when it comes to other arms races in the past, but rather to start instituting some norms so that everybody is acting responsibly… [W]hat we cannot do is have a situation in which suddenly this becomes the Wild, Wild West, where countries that have significant cyber capacity start engaging in competition — unhealthy competition or conflict through these means when, I think, wisely we’ve put in place some norms when it comes to using other weapons. So that’s been a topic of conversation with President Putin as it has been with other countries.”
But these are all just distractions from what is truly animating these apparent spy games between the U.S. and Russia. As if the progressive deterioration of U.S.-Russian relations has occurred in a vacuum.
Perhaps they actually have something to do with the clash between U.S. and Russian policies in, say, Ukraine and Syria. Specifically, the U.S.-backed overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2014 — where Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was apparently caught on tape helping to organize the coup — and the attempted overthrow of Bashar al Assad in Syria in 2013, another Russian satellite. These failed U.S. interventions have arguably destabilized both regions, risking a wider war between the greater powers.
Which, if you’re going to take over Russian satellites, fine. But you better win. And when you lose those wars — Obama’s “red line” means nothing, Russia owns Crimea and Ukraine is embroiled in civil war — and suddenly top party officials’ dirty laundry starts appearing in the news, like Hillary Clinton’s pay to play racket at the State Department and her private email server storing classified information, don’t act surprised. Those things probably happened for a reason. And they have nothing to do with Donald Trump.
The truth is, Hillary Clinton has nobody to blame but herself for her reckless use of a private server to hide her interactions with Clinton Foundation donors that apparently put U.S. policy up for the highest bidder, exposing herself and her country to being blackmailed — and for the Obama administration’s failed Russian reset, which has rapidly escalated into a dangerous standoff with Moscow that has made the world less safe.
This is a guest post by Robert Romano senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.
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