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Mollie Hemingway

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The New York Times in 2017 falsely reported that the Trump campaign had ‘repeated’ contacts with Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 campaign, and instead of being held accountable for publishing lies, the story’s authors received Pulitzer prizes.

The FBI official who ran the investigation into whether the Donald Trump campaign colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election privately admitted in newly released notes that a major New York Times article was riddled with lies, falsehoods, and “misleading and inaccurate” information. The February 2017 story was penned by three reporters who would win Pulitzers for their reporting on Trump’s supposed collusion with Russia.

The FBI’s public posture and leaks at the time supported the now-discredited conspiracy theory that led to the formation of a special counsel probe to investigate the Trump campaign and undermine his administration.

“We have not seen evidence of any individuals affiliated with the Trump team in contact with [Russian Intelligence Officials]. . . . We are unaware of ANY Trump advisors engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials,” former FBI counterespionage official Peter Strzok wrote of the Feb. 14, 2017 New York Times story “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence.” That story, which was based on the unsubstantiated claims of four anonymous intelligence officials, was echoed by a similarly sourced CNN story published a day later and headlined “Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign.”

Strzok’s notes are the latest factual debunking of these stories, which were previously shown to be false with the release of Robert Mueller’s special counsel report finding no evidence whatsoever in support of the Hillary Clinton campaign assertion that Trump affiliates colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. A report from the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General on just one aspect of the investigation into Russia collusion — FBI spying on Trump campaign affiliates — also debunked these news reports.

Former FBI Director James Comey admitted under oath in June 2017 that the reporting was “false,” something his deputy director Andrew McCabe privately acknowledged to the White House earlier that year but refused to admit publicly. Efforts by the White House to get the FBI to say publicly what they were admitting privately were leaked to the media in order to suggest the White House was obstructing their investigation. “Obstruction” of the Russia investigation would form a major part of the special counsel probe, and media and Democrat efforts to oust the president.

As for the merits of the explosive New York Times story alleging repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials before the election, Strzok said it was “misleading and inaccurate… no evidence.” Of the unsubstantiated claim that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was on the phone calls with Russian intelligence officials, Strzok said, “We are unaware of any calls with any Russian govt official in which Manafort was a party.” And of the New York Times claim that Roger Stone was part of the FBI’s inquiry into Russian ties, Strzok said, “We have not investigated Roger Stone.

The Times report, which came hours after National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was ousted due to criminal leaks against him, was one of the most important articles published by major media as part of their campaign to paint Trump as a Russian operative. Widely accepted by the media and political establishment, it did as much to cement the false and damaging Russia conspiracy theory as CNN’s story legitimizing the now-discredited Christopher Steele dossier or the Washington Post’s now-discredited suggestion that Flynn was a secret Russian operative who was guilty of violating an obscure 1799 law called the Logan Act.

The New York Times declined to retract or correct the article three years ago, even after Comey testified it was false, on the grounds that the anonymous sources who fed the false information remained pleased with the initial story.

The damage this false story caused the Trump administration can not be overstated. It’s a story worth recounting here.

Leaks Real, News Fake

The leaks are real, the news is fake,” President Donald Trump said on February 16, 2017, when ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked him at a press conference to respond to The New York Times’ explosive report. As other reporters asked more questions related to the New York Times story, he went on to deride the media for writing negative and false stories based on anonymous sources.

The response was roundly mocked by a media class that asserted it was unimaginable that intelligence officials might be leaking anything but the most accurate information. CNN’s Jake Tapper, echoing other Democrat activists, called the press conference “unhinged.”

“I guess I don’t understand,” said CNN’s Jim Acosta, asking, “How can the stories be fake?” Numerous other reporters, presumably all college-educated, publicly claimed to wonder the same thing. The few reporters who were skeptical of the anonymously sourced reports on Russia were also mocked.

If someone associated with an intelligence agency had been granted anonymity to claim without evidence that Donald Trump — Donald Trump — had been a secret Russian agent for decades, or had for some reason paid prostitutes to urinate on a Moscow hotel bed President Obama once slept in, or had arranged clandestine meetings in Prague with top-level Kremlin operatives in a grand dirt-and-dollars-and-election-support scheme, it simply had to be true! Who was to say otherwise? Who was to demand evidence for the absurd conspiracy theory that had, it turned out, been manufactured as part of a Clinton campaign operation?

The response to Trump’s claim that the leaks from anonymous intelligence officials were producing fake news was one of many indicators that U.S. political media would be in no position to think critically or skeptically about whether they were being used by a politically motivated cabal of intelligence officials. The smarter ones might have known they were being used but simply determined they would be more than happy to play an important role in the operation.

Trump was right that the leaks were real but the news was false. Trump campaign aides did not have repeated contacts with Russian intelligence, contrary to what Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti, and Matt Apuzzo breathlessly reported. Flynn was not a secret Russian agent. Neither was former Sen. Jeff Sessions.

Published At The Right Moment

The New York Times story was completely false, but the damage it caused the Trump administration was very real.

The false story was published mere hours after intelligence officials had successfully ousted Trump’s National Security Advisor Flynn following weeks of criminal and selectively edited leaks about his benign communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States. CNN “confirmed” the New York Times’ false reporting hours later.

The Wall Street Journal’s Shane Harris and Carol E. Lee reported based on anonymous sources two days later that the CIA was withholding important national information from Trump because of supposedly legitimate concerns over his ties to Russia. Then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo debunked that reporting immediately. The Washington Post openly talked about the “cloud of Russia” hanging over the Trump administration.

Still, the combination of stories and resulting hysteria was enough to lead Trump to hold a press conference in the East Room to address the growing Russia collusion narrative. It was there he described the “real” leak, “fake” news phenomenon he was dealing with.

As a reminder, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee had secretly bought and paid for the conspiracy theory to be manufactured, disseminated in the press, and seeded to the U.S. government. It failed to take off as much as they hoped before the election — and yes, contrary to popular reporting, Clinton’s Russia operation was absolutely deployed before the election, and resurrected by the Clinton campaign in the hours after her stunning defeat.

Then corporate media, humiliated by their failure to accurately report on the 2016 campaign, latched onto the conspiracy theory as a way to explain away their failure. Obama intelligence officials worked to give credence to the theory by leaking about Russia’s long-standing efforts to meddle in U.S. elections and attempting to insinuate Trump’s collusion with same.

At the time the New York Times story ran, it was received credulously by nearly the entire political and media class and received no meaningful pushback from them. “BREAKING: Minutes ago, NY Times bombshell– Trump campaign officials in contact w/Russian intelligence for full year,” tweeted Michael Moore. “Flynn was the appetizer. This is the meal,” tweeted Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas.

“Yes, this is as bad as it looks,” the Democratic National Committee stated. “If not a smoking gun, this is a very hot pistol,” opined Paul Begala. “The trail linking Trump to Russian interference in the election is getting closer and closer,” wrote Robert Reich. “Way beyond Flynn!” wrote an excited Sen. Amy Klobuchar, asking for support for a bill investigating Trump.

“Big NYT scoop,” bragged New York Times editor Cliff Levy. Slate’s Ashley Feinberg said, “it is [expletive deleted] insane that trump is not being impeached.” Rolling Stone senior writer Jamil Smith said, “This story is a mother[expletive deleted]. We have crossed the Rubicon, folks.” “Whoa,” said Twitter enthusiast Bill Kristol.

“It’s all starting to unravel. This won’t be over soon and we must be relentlessly disciplined in how we discuss it,” said Russia hoaxer Susan Hennessey. “There are some important caveats in NYT story on Russia and Trump. But harder to see how Republicans resist probe,” lobbied Los Angeles Times White House reporter Chris Megerian.

“Holy moly,” said the Los Angeles Times’ Matt Pearce. “Oh wow,” wrote the Washington Post’s Abigail Hauslohner. “Boom,” wrote Der Spiegel’s Matthieu von Rohr. “Words just fail me,” said NPR’s Neela Banerjee. “Blockbuster story has been out 24 hrs & Trump has provided no explanation or refutation. Instead attacks leakers,” said Washington Post-enabled Max Boot. “Siren,” wrote Politico’s Blake Hounshell. “Can’t overstate the importance of a diligent, independent press that protects sources,” wrote Mallory Busch about the anonymously — and erroneously — sourced account.

“This is one of the biggest scandals in American history. Where will it end?” asked American Federation of Teachers union president Randi Weingarten. “Are there any constitutional redresses if the President of the US proves to be the Muscovian Candidate?” asked Foreign Policy senior correspondent Michael Hirsh.

The story was tweeted by Rachel Maddow, lead reporter Michael Schmidt, the New York Times’ Nate Cohn, Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, CNN’s Jake Tapper, Times reporter Jeremy Peters, AP bureau chief Michael Tackett, and rabid Democratic activist and CNN White House correspondent John Harwood,

Democrats pounced. “The need for an independent commission to investigate grows more urgent by the hour. Where is the GOP?,” lobbied Sen. Dick Durbin. “When is enough going to be enough for my GOP colleagues to allow a vote on independent investigation of White House?” asked Rep. Susan Davis. “It’s time for a full, in-depth, bipartisan investigation into the Trump administrations ties to #Russia,” wrote Colorado Democrats. “We need full investigation into connection between
@realDonaldTrump campaign & Russia. Too many unanswered questions,” was a popular refrain from House Democrats such as Ann McLane Kuster.

The comments went on and on and on. Each time the story has been debunked, this received little to no coverage from the same corporate media that trumpeted it.

Fighting the False Story Was Treated As Obstruction

Television news the week The New York Times published its false report was non-stop Russia hysteria. It dominated the Sunday shows. When White House chief of staff Reince Priebus told CBS’ John Dickerson “I think that the media should stop with this unnamed source stuff,” The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman — who would also win a Pulitzer for her perpetuation of the false and dangerous Russia collusion hoax — claimed he was demanding that the media stop using anonymous sources.

When the New York Times story came out, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe asked to speak privately with Priebus, according to reporting in Howard Kurtz’s book “Media Madness.” McCabe told Priebus that “everything” in the story was “bulls–t.” Priebus motioned to the bank of televisions showing that the media was taking it seriously and talking about it non-stop. He asked McCabe if he could say something publicly to push back. McCabe said he’d check with his colleagues and get back to him.

McCabe called back to say he couldn’t do anything. Comey also called Priebus to claim there was nothing they could say publicly. (McCabe admitted in his book “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump,” that he declined to say publicly that the report was false.)

What the FBI was willing to do, however, was leak to CNN that the “FBI refused White House request to knock down recent Trump-Russia stories.” That report made it seem like the reporting from The New York Times was legitimate and that the White House was obstructing a legitimate investigation, which, again, became a major theme of the Mueller investigation and attempts to impeach the president.

Comey did offer to brief congressmen and senators that the New York Times report was completely false. When those members said publicly that the New York Times report was false, that too was characterized as something nefarious.

“Trump administration sought to enlist intelligence officials, key lawmakers to counter Russia stories,” was how the Washington Post’s Greg Miller spun that effort. Miller noted that the FBI declined to comment on whether they had told the White House that the New York Times story was completely false. Miller would also win a Pulitzer for his role in perpetuating the Russia collusion hoax.

In his book, McCabe said there was a disinformation campaign in the conservative blogosphere to suggest he had animus toward the president and had gleefully pursued Flynn, both of which he claimed were false. Of the reports, he said, “The stories may be fictional and the information false, but the consequences of this strategy are real.”

Whether or not McCabe’s denials are plausible, how much more powerful is the strategy when it’s not unread blogs but the most powerful media outlets in the world that are willing to spread fictional and false information.

Author: Mollie Hemingway

Source: The Federalist: New FBI Notes Re-Debunk Major NYT Story, Highlight Media Collusion To Produce Russia Hoax

The appointment of a former official who served as an apologist for the FBI signals that the court isn’t particularly concerned about the civil liberty violations catalogued by Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

The nation’s top spy court appointed an Obama-era Justice Department official who has denied and downplayed FBI surveillance abuse to assess the FBI’s response to a scathing new report cataloguing problems with how the agency secured authority to spy on a Donald Trump campaign affiliate.

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) presiding Judge James Boasberg appointed David Kris to review the FBI’s proposed changes to its surveillance application process even though he spent the past few years running interference for the FBI as substantive criticism of the agency mounted.

Lengthy investigations in the House of Representatives and by the Department of Justice inspector general showed major problems with the claims the FBI made as part of an investigation into whether Trump was a traitor who had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. Those problems include withholding exonerating evidence, undue reliance on shady sources, and outright alteration of evidence.

Kris, who served as assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s National Security Division, recently claimed the IG report that catalogued egregious abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) powers actually vindicated the FBI. He also smeared Rep. Devin Nunes in 2018, saying his initial sounding of the alarm about those abuses was incorrect, threatened national security, and should be harshly punished.

Kris appeared in locations that pushed the false Russia collusion narrative, such as Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show, the Lawfare blog, and Twitter, to defend the FBI and attack President Trump and other critics of the harmful surveillance campaign. He once wrote that Trump “should be worried” that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into treasonous collusion with Russia meant “the walls are closing in.

The appointment of a former official who served as an apologist for the FBI signals that the court isn’t particularly concerned about the civil liberty violations catalogued by Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigation into the year-long surveillance of Carter Page. Page is the Trump campaign affiliate whose phone and email communications federal agents wiretapped, and who had confidential human sources and overseas intelligence assets placed against him. False claims that Page was a Russian spy were leaked to the media by government officials as part of a years-long campaign to paint President Trump as a traitor who had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election.

The court “finds it appropriate to appoint David S. Kris, Esq., to serve as amicus curiae to assist the Court in assessing the government’s response to” a Dec. 17, 2019, order to “inform the Court . . . of what it has done, and plans to do, to ensure that the statement of facts in each FBI application accurately and completely reflects information possessed by the FBI that is material to any issue presented by the application.”

The pick was justified on the grounds that he is one of the few officials with FISA experience. But Kris has repeatedly shown himself to be a reflexive defender of the FBI, even as evidence mounted of its malfeasance. Here are some examples of that.

Kris Adopted Resistance Messaging about the Russia Collusion Theory

Kris was one of the many Washington insiders who either fell for or pretended to fall for the validity of the Russia collusion hoax.

“I suspect that POTUS and his closest advisors are and should be worried that, depending on the evidence, Mueller’s next steps will make it feel like the walls are closing in,” he opined on Twitter.

The Mueller investigation noted that Russia, as per its historic practice, attempted to meddle in the 2016 campaign. It found no evidence that it had colluded with any American, much less any Trump campaign affiliate, much less Trump himself, in its ongoing meddling campaign.

Kris Was Grievously Wrong about the Nunes Memo
Kris’ biggest problem was his published denunciation of the now-vindicated Nunes memo. He joined many other members of the Resistance, whether in the media, the Democratic Party, or the NeverTrump movement, in denouncing Nunes and defending the FBI as beyond reproach.

“The Nunes memo was dishonest. And if it is allowed to stand, we risk significant collateral damage to essential elements of our democracy,” Kris said. In fact, the Nunes memo was right, although it only touched on some of the FBI malfeasance that the inspector general report later confirmed in detail.

Kris specifically said the “fundamental claim” by Nunes that the FBI misled the court about Christopher Steele was “not true.” Kris said that the government “provided the court with enough information to meaningfully assess Steele’s credibility.” He credulously accepted the FBI’s claims that there was probable cause that Page was a secret Russian asset. “It’s disturbing that Page met that legal standard and that there was probable cause to conclude he was a Russian agent,” he wrote.

Kris said Nunes should be removed from office and removed as chairman of the committee. He floated the idea that Nunes should be charged with obstruction of justice. Kris called for voters to rise up against Republicans and unseat them to keep Nunes from performing oversight of the agency and intelligence community.

Kris Adopted Resistance Spin on the IG Report

When the IG report came out, Kris was in lockstep with the spin that the leakers had put out for the weeks leading up to the release of the Horowitz report. He said, as the pre-report leakers asserted through friends in the media, that the “main finding” was that there was no bias and that the claims of critics were fully repudiated. He did acknowledge some mistakes, but downplayed them.

Kris Helped Maddow Defend the FBI against Oversight

When the applications to spy on Page — a man who was victimized by a false dossier alleging he betrayed his country and endured one year of intensive surveillance without being charged with any crime, much less any crime related to treasonous collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 election — were released, Kris appeared on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show to defend the FBI and lambast its critics.

Maddow spun the release of those applications in such a way as to say they helped the FBI’s case that Page was a threat to national security who had lost his right not to be spied on by the government. Kris agreed, and claimed the FBI had done everything right in its surveillance process. Kris was presented as one of the few people who have ever had responsibility for the FISA process. He used his time to criticize Nunes, the member of Congress who first revealed the problems at the FBI in the face of derision by the media and other members of the Resistance.

Kris falsely claimed that the applications “substantially undermine the president’s narrative and that of his proxies” and that if there were more investigation or transparency, it would “get worse and not better” for them.

He said, though, that more investigation and release of information would be “dangerous.” He criticized the president, saying he was “free to make up whatever facts suit him” while the FBI was at a disadvantage by its desire to do things properly.

When Kris was attacking Nunes for bringing the FBI malfeasance to light, he claimed that if the FBI had withheld information in its FISA applications, “heads would have rolled on Pennsylvania Avenue.” FBI headquarters are located on Pennsylvania Avenue. The FBI has been definitively shown to have withheld information in its FISA applications, but instead of heads rolling, vehement apologists of the agency are being assigned to assess proposed reforms.

Author: Mollie Hemingway

Source: The Federalist: Spy Court Picks FISA Abuse Denier To Tackle FISA Abuse

Nearly two years later, the inspector general’s report vindicates the Nunes memo while showing that the Schiff memo was riddled with lies and false statements.

The new inspector general report on FISA abuse settles the debate between Republicans and Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Both groups put out memos about the Department of Justice’s efforts to secure a warrant to wiretap Carter Page.

At the time of their release, the media praised Democrat Adam Schiff and his memo and vilified Republican Devin Nunes and his memo. Nearly two years later, the inspector general’s report vindicates the Nunes memo while showing that the Schiff memo was riddled with lies and false statements.

The memo from the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee reported:

  1. A salacious and unverified dossier formed an essential part of the application to secure a warrant against a Trump campaign affiliate named Carter Page. This application failed to reveal that the dossier was bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.
  2. The application cited a Yahoo News article extensively. The story did not corroborate the dossier, and the FBI wrongly claimed Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier, was not a source for the story.
  3. Nellie Ohr, the wife of a high-ranking Justice Department official, also worked on behalf of the Clinton campaign effort. Her husband Bruce Ohr funneled her research into the Department of Justice. Although he admitted that Steele “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” this and the Ohrs’ relationship with the Clinton campaign was concealed from the secret court that grants surveillance warrants.
  4. The dossier was “only minimally corroborated” and unverified, according to FBI officials.

All of these things were found to be true by the Inspector General Michael Horowitz in his December 9 report. In fact, Horowitz detailed rampant abuse that went far beyond these four items.

The Democratic minority on the committee, then led by Rep. Adam Schiff, put out a response memo with competing claims:

  1. FBI and DOJ officials did not omit material information from the FISA warrant.
  2. The DOJ “made only narrow use of information from Steele’s sources about Page’s specific activities in 2016.”
  3. In subsequent FISA renewals, DOJ provided additional information that corroborated Steele’s reporting.
  4. The Page FISA warrant allowed the FBI to collect “valuable intelligence.”
  5. “Far from ‘omitting’ material facts about Steele, as the Majority claims, DOJ repeatedly informed the Court about Steele’s background, credibility, and potential bias.”
  6. The FBI conducted a “rigorous process” to vet Steele’s allegations, and the Page FISA application explained the FBI’s reasonable basis for finding Steele credible.
  7. Steele’s prior reporting was used in “criminal proceedings.”

Each of these claims were found by Horowitz to be false.

Horowitz found that FBI and DOJ officials did in fact omit critical material information from the FISA warrant, including several items exculpatory to Page. Material facts were not just omitted but willfully hidden through doctoring of evidence.

The warrants were based on Steele’s dossier, which was known by January 2017 to be ridiculously uncorroborated. The renewals did not find information that corroborated Steele’s reporting. The warrants clearly didn’t allow the FBI to collect valuable intelligence. And Steele’s prior reporting was not used in criminal proceedings.

“We found that the FBI did not have information corroborating the specific allegations against Carter Page in Steele’s reporting when it relied upon his reports in the first FISA application or subsequent renewal applications,” the executive summary of the report says.

The media joined Department of Justice bureaucrats in bitterly opposing the release of the Nunes memo. The Justice Department released a letter to the press saying the action was “extraordinarily reckless,”would be “damaging” to “national security,” and would risk “damage to our intelligence community or the important work it does in safeguarding the American people.”

Then, when the report was released, the media made a variety of contradictory claims, all of them downplaying or dismissing the memo as nothing whatsoever. “Why Were The Democrats So Worried About The Nunes Memo?” asked The New Yorker. Rachel Maddow said that, far from destroying national security, instead the memo delivered “a sad trombone for Trump.” “It’s a joke and a sham,” claimed Washington Post writers.

“The memo purports to show that the process by which the FBI and Justice Department obtained approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to conduct surveillance on former Trump adviser Carter Page was deeply tainted,” the Post article says. “It does this by straining every which way to suggest that the basis for the warrant was the so-called ‘Steele dossier,’ which contains Democratic-funded research by former British spy Christopher Steele.” (The IG confirmed this week that the efforts to secure a warrant to spy on Page were dropped due to lack of evidence until Steele delivered his memos.)

On the other hand, Salon called the memo “fake news.” New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait, who fervently believes that Trump is a traitor who colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election, all evidence to the contrary, went even further. “The Nunes Memo Is Fake and the Russia Scandal Is Very Real,” he claimed. “While the evidence that the DOJ has been corrupt or even sloppy in its investigation has disintegrated, evidence for the seriousness of the investigation itself has grown progressively stronger,” Chait claimed.

CNN had their good buddy James Clapper, an Obama intelligence chief, say that the memo was a “blatant political act.” John Brennan, Obama’s CIA chief who was also implicated in the spying on the Trump campaign, told Politico that the memo was “exceptionally partisan.” Politico claimed the memo “makes no sense.”

“Nunes Memo Accidentally Confirms the Legitimacy of the FBI’s Investigation,” asserted The Intercept. “All Smoke, No Fire,” claimed resistance member Orin Kerr in The New York Times. “The Nunes Memo Continues To Backfire,” declared the hyperpartisan Washington Post editorial board.

A great example of the general media treatment of the issue of FISA abuse was offered up by U.S. News and World Report. “Nail in the Coffin for Nunes Memo,” declared the headline of an article that effusively praised Schiff while utterly condemning Nunes. “Nunes’ memo was a bad joke from the start,” the author writes, going on to assert that Page was a dangerous agent of Russia, multiple Trump campaign operatives were surveilled for excellent reason, and the ex-British spy secretly hired by Hillary Clinton to produce the dossier alleging Trump was a secret agent of Russia was simply beyond reproach.

“If the GOP’s defense of Page is puzzling so is its targeting of Steele, an accomplished British former spy with an expertise in Russia and Vladimir Putin,” claimed the U.S. News and World Report article. Steele’s reputation with most reporters was not based in reality and he doesn’t even claim he verified any of the information in his report, which a sprawling special counsel investigation was unable to corroborate in any of its central and major claims.

It is unclear if the media will revisit, much less apologize for, their false claims about the Nunes memo or credulous support of Schiff’s memo.

Author: Mollie Hemingway

Source: The Federalist: IG Report Confirms Schiff FISA Memo Media Praised Was Riddled With Lies

Unlike how they handled the Russia collusion conspiracy theory, Republican politicians have shown themselves less likely to fall for the Ukraine story being peddled through leaks to the same sympathetic reporters from anonymous partisan sources.

On Sunday, CNN’s Jake Tapper amplified a tweet from Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, with some additional commentary:

In recent days, Resistance figures have run an operation similar to the Russia collusion conspiracy that gripped the country for years. That since-debunked conspiracy theory, supported by daily drips of “bombshell” “news” reports from media employees including Tapper, was that Trump had seditiously colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. Even the partisan probe ostensibly led by the ailing Robert Mueller was unable to find a single American, much less the president of the United States, had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. The hysteria about Russia caused real harm to the country’s foreign policy and administration of government. No one has yet been held accountable for perpetrating the hoax. And many media are helping the co-conspirators in the hoax avoid that accountability.

Now similar figures are alleging, based on an anonymous source without firsthand knowledge, that Trump should be impeached because of a phone call he had with Ukraine in which corruption involving Hunter Biden was discussed. Biden is the son of former Vice President Joe Biden. He is famously troubled, but also acquired a great deal of wealth thanks to his father’s connections, including in Ukraine and China. The anonymously sourced reports are changing, depending on the media outlet. First it was a whistleblower, then it turned out to be a hearsayer — someone without firsthand information. Supposedly a quid pro quo was demanded, then it turned out there was no quid pro quo. President Trump, for his part, is adamant that the phone call was nothing as described, even as that description is ever-changing.

Trump released the transcript of the phone call, which showed that the media and other Resistance figures’ early reports of the call mischaracterized it. Last week, it might be noted, Democrats were demanding the impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh due to a false report in the New York Times of dubious provenance to begin with.

What Tapper highlighted is worth highlighting, though. While during the Russia hoax, nearly all prominent Republicans expressed concern about collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 election, rushed to microphones to condemn the president for what turned out to be a false smear of sedition, and went out of their way to protect the relentless investigation of him based on lies secretly funded by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, this time, it’s mostly just Mitt Romney.

The standard of evidence required from Resistance figures in and out of the media to perpetrate yet another Russiagate is so high that it might be impossible to meet. But at the very least, it’s higher than what’s offered now. Yes, Democrats have wanted to impeach Donald Trump for the crime of winning the 2016 election, and they very well might do that no matter what they pretend the underlying reason is. But Republican politicians, Romney and those like him excepted, are either smart enough not to fall for this particular Resistance effort, or they’re simply savvy enough to realize there is no appetite for Republican politicians to assist Democrats in undermining a duly elected Republican president based on questionable hearsay, a complicated narrative that doesn’t even add up, and a desperate desire to undo 2016.

Author: Mollie Hemingway

Source: The Federalist: GOP Politicians Aren’t Falling For Ukraine Hysteria Like They Did Russia

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