At the Intercept, Glenn Greenwald breaks the bad news about the Trump-Russia investigation: Key Democratic Officials Now Warning Base Not to Expect Evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion. This should not be a shocker. If there was evidence it would have leaked months ago and if the House Intelligence Committee had been told, Adam Schiff would have been on Saturday Night Live to announce it.
FROM MSNBC POLITICS shows to town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues. This fixation has persisted even though it has no chance to sink the Trump presidency unless it is proven that high levels of the Trump campaign actively colluded with the Kremlin to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. election — a claim for which absolutely no evidence has thus far been presented.
The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies — just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected — that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed.
If you lived through the Clinton era as a politically active adult you know exactly what he’s talking about. And you know the pain you felt when scandal after scandal was sold as the one that would bring him down but we had to wait until he loaded the U-Haul in January 2001, taking everything that wasn’t nailed down with him, to get him out of the White House.
The latest official to throw cold water on the MSNBC-led circus is President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morell. What makes him particularly notable in this context is that Morell was one of Clinton’s most vocal CIA surrogates. In August, he not only endorsed Clinton in the pages of the New York Times but also became the first high official to explicitly accuse Trump of disloyalty, claiming, “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”
But on Wednesday night, Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum to “cast doubt” on “allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.” “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all,” he said, adding, “There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”
Obama’s former CIA chief also cast serious doubt on the credibility of the infamous, explosive “dossier” originally published by BuzzFeed, saying that its author, Christopher Steele, paid intermediaries to talk to the sources for it. The dossier, he said, “doesn’t take you anywhere, I don’t think.”
Greenwald is mostly right. But he’s also missing the cognitive dissonance. Right now the Democrats are raising money off this meme. They will continue to raise money off it as the investigation pays out. In the end, when nothing is uncovered, they will raise money off the GOP tools, like Comey, who led the investigation. They will gamble that outrage will generate income and tribalism will prevent any price being extracted at the polls.
Does any of this sound uncomfortably close to what the GOP is doing with Obamacare?