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May 22nd 2017 print

Peter Smith

Trump and Russia: The Endless Beat-up

Probes, spurious confections, bogus dossiers ... and all in regard to what exactly? No one really knows, other than what should be obvious to all who have watched the Left and its media auxiliaries in action: their trade is lies and distortions in which no conservative should invest an ounce of credence

trump old scratchI have just finished reading a piece by Melanie Phillips on Donald Trump. It was good piece and she was on his side. But how many conservatives are willing to praise Trump without succumbing to the obviously overpowering urge to distance themselves from his faults. Very few and Ms Phillips is not one of them.

Where Trump is concerned almost all conservatives suffer from delusions of moral superiority. They shouldn’t. The miners whose jobs he is saving don’t care about his etiquette.

This is another kind of ‘supportive’ conservative response. I heard this kind of thing after The Washington Post reported anonymous sources claiming that Trump had recklessly shared classified information with the Russian foreign minister. “He’s not a politician and makes missteps.” “He’s not the only senior politician who has let out information he shouldn’t have.”

The problem with these kinds of excuses for his behaviour is that there is no evidence that he shared information inappropriately. His national security advisor, General McMaster, who was in the room, categorically explained on separate occasions that the sharing was appropriate. Does that not matter?

Imagine being accused of doing something you claim, with authoritative backing, that you didn’t do and your putative friends respond by making excuses for your misstep. Has intelligence plummeted in recent years? I would say that it has.

Then there is the unseen Comey note of a meeting he had with Trump in February, reported in The New York Times, courtesy of yet another anonymous source. Were the contents leaked by Comey? Would he sink so low so quickly? Who knows?

If the note exists and is a faithful recording, Trump apparently expressed a hope that Comey would let any investigation of General Flynn pass because he was a good guy. “I hope you can see your way to letting this go,” he said, according to the anonymous source.

Expressing a hope isn’t obstructing an investigation and, crucially, Comey is on the record in May as saying that there had been no attempt made by anyone to interfere with any FBI investigation. End of story, or it should be among conservative commentators.

Conservative supporters of Trump can’t afford to be only half-in. The left are one hundred percent in to destroy Trump. And the never-Trumps, like bitter and twisted John McCain and numbers of precious conservative journalists, like, say, Jonah Goldberg of National Review, chip away whenever the opportunity arises. Death by a thousand chips is in the offing.

Make no mistake; Trump presents a threat because his policies and his determination and resolution have a chance of bringing America back from the brink of entrenched tribal divisions and economic malaise. Democrats and their media pals cannot afford to let that happen. Too many voters might see the light. Destroying Trump is the way to prevent it. How to do it? Come up with a big fat lie. Invent a Russian connection.

For almost a year the FBI and other agencies have laboured over the possibility of collusion between Trump’s campaign staff and the Russians. A trumped up lurid dossier of sexual exploits in a Russian hotel underscores the fictional tabloid narrative. Not a scintilla of evidence has been found. And, in any event, what is the crime under investigation? The standard, as under Stalin, appears to be back: “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.”

If the man is Trump and you’ve looked hard and nothing’s there, the solution is to keep on looking. Now ex-FBI director Robert Mueller has been put on the case as special counsel. Some see this development benefiting Trump in the sense that it might stem the frenzy of confected outrage. They are wrong. Nothing will stem it.

I want to go back to my assertion of plummeting intelligence. Without that decline the Russian probe would have been aborted in short order. It is based around Putin, no less, interfering in the US election by orchestrating, or overseeing, or doing something (?) to facilitate a hacking attack on Clinton’s campaign.

What actually happened? Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief John Podesta had his emails uncovered. These emails were passed to WikiLeaks. They were then publicly released in a way which caused embarrassment to Clinton. This much we know. All else is speculation, and fanciful speculation so far as I can tell.

Picture a sample collusion scene as a Trump campaign operative phones a Putin apparatchik:

“Comrade,” he says, “I’ve managed to get hold of Podesta’s email password from a mole (or dimwit) inside the DNC. Look, speak to the boss and if he’s interested I’ll pass it on and you can grab the emails and give them to Assange for dastardly damaging distribution. OK?”

“Sounds very interesting, agent Deep Cover, but why don’t you just pass them to Julian yourself rather than via Moscow and back?”

“I thought Comrade Putin might like the kudos and amusing diversion of being suspected of interfering in an American election.”

“I see (guffaws evident). I’ll speak to Vladimir and get back to you on your secret number.”

Is this the type of supposed collusion they’re imagining? If it isn’t what is it? Think up your own, it will be just as likely as anybody else’s.

What is the supposed crime? Surely there has to be some concrete indications of a potential crime before costly and time-consuming investigations are launched, never mind prolonged? Not anymore, apparently; certainly not this time.

Trump is right. It is a witch-hunt. Only the daft among conservatives would believe otherwise. Unfortunately, the daft are a legion these days.


 

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

Comments [18]

  1. Hugh says:

    Excellent article Peter.

  2. GerardB says:

    Thanks Peter. Great article.
    But, according to my anonymous source who is very close to the Clintons, the Russians didn’t need to talk to the Trump team at any time because it was so easy to hack the computer of Democrat chief John Podesta and Hillary’s top secret trading and private email server was a breeze to hack particularly under the watchful eye of FBI chief James Comey who opined that it was legally OK for Hillary, but no other American, to trade top secret emails.

  3. Ian MacDougall says:

    Probes, spurious confections, bogus dossiers … and all in regard to what exactly? No one really knows, other than what should be obvious to all who have watched the Left and its media auxilliaries in action: their trade is lies and distortions in which no conservative should invest an ounce of credence

    This American ‘Left’ would have to be huuuuuuuuuuuuuge!
    It would have to include: pretty well all of the Democratic Party: you know, the outfit that gave the US both Kennedy and Johnson, PLUS a fair whack of the Republican Party as well. Plus a few identities allegedly still around and with big fan clubs in the US- eg Joshua bar Joseph (aka Jesus Christ.)

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-gop-future-roundtable-20161113-story.html

  4. Homer Sapien says:

    Splendid article Peter.

  5. Keith Kennelly says:

    Well well Ian it’s quite a revelation you were ‘all the way with LBJ’ against those terrible commies in Vietnam.

    Those Republicans you talk about, exactly who besides bitter John McCain? Names please or you stand accused of the same tactic of the leftie media.

    So Christ stands along side the US leftie media judging, being unforgiving and throwing stones at Trump.

    Yeah sure. And I reckon you think cold cause warmth and because weather doesn’t fit with warming we need to reasses rthevway we use science and indeed real science needs re evaluation.

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Keith:

      Well well Ian it’s quite a revelation you were ‘all the way with LBJ’ against those terrible commies in Vietnam.

      Keith, how you manage to read support on my part for LBJ into what I posted above is frankly beyond me.

      Those Republicans you talk about, exactly who besides bitter John McCain? Names please or you stand accused of the same tactic of the leftie media.

      Have a look at the link I posted to the LA Times, where it says “But even as the Republican Party has grabbed the commanding heights of power, it has lost any idea of why it’s there. There are three factions in the GOP competing for control.” [And on from there….]
      Still, it is the LA Times. Probably not ‘conservative’ enough.

      So Christ stands along side the US leftie media judging, being unforgiving and throwing stones at Trump.

      Though I no longer call myself a Christian, I think that Christ (“sell all you have and give the proceeds to the poor” etc) would not stand with Trump and the GOP, if he were still around today. But of course, I can only go by what he is quoted as having said in the Sermon on the Mount.

      Yeah sure. And I reckon you think cold cause warmth and because weather doesn’t fit with warming we need to reasses rthevway [sic] we use science and indeed real science needs re evaluation.

      Increased atmospheric absorption of solar radiation leads to increased atmospheric circulation, and can cause local cooling thanks to cold air being dragged in from the poles. Prove that wrong and I am sure you will be in line for a Nobel for physics.

  6. [email protected] says:

    Unfortunately your article is very accurate, Peter. I don’t like Trump because he is a rude, crude bombastic boor. But even more unfortunately for western civilisation due to our overwhelming leftist dominated media the only non-leftist type of person that can ever get to succeed politically in modern times is somebody like Trump.
    To my mind the most effective elected politician in my lifetime [nearly 7 decades] was Margaret Thatcher. However I doubt that Margaret would ever be elected in today’s feral media climate, even allowing that females now get favourable treatment. If anybody doubts this just compare how Julia Gillard and Hillary were treated by the media as compared to what Margaret was. Margaret was subjected to brutal treatment by the media at the time, but that said,the media of her time at least made some pretence at being non-biased/honest. It did not openly set out to destroy her then like they would now and as they are now openly trying to destroy Trump. Trump [or one of his staff] summed it up very accurately with the statement that ‘the democrats are not our opposition, the media is’.

    • Jody says:

      “I don’t like Trump because he is a rude, crude bombastic boor. But even more unfortunately for western civilisation due to our overwhelming leftist dominated media the only non-leftist type of person that can ever get to succeed politically in modern times is somebody like Trump.”

      It’s hardly a ringing endorsement, though, is it!!! A half-decent leader would have stopped the miserable lefties in their tracks. Immediately.

      • ianl says:

        > “A half-decent leader would have stopped the miserable lefties in their tracks. Immediately”

        Do you have a practical, useful suggestion as to how to do this, Jody ?

        A colleague and myself have laid odds that your answer (if one eventuates) will not contain such a suggestion, merely more rhetoric.

  7. Michael Galak says:

    The condescending, patronising, wink wink half-hearted support for Trump by Melanie Phillips saddened and disappointed me.The backhanded compliment she awards Donald Trump is from the ‘with friends like this…’opera. Frankly, I have no interest in Donald Trump’s personal qualities. It is the end result that I am after.
    Sooner or later we will all come to regard Donald Trump’s presidency as we do Ronald Reagan’s – with the mixture of awe and gratitude. He was maligned, degraded, lied about, insulted and accused of being a trigger-happy cowboy, a warmonger, a tyrant, an incompetent B-grade Hollywood actor pretending to be President and what not. The perpetually righteous crowd felt it was their destiny to bring Gipper down. Now we celebrate Ronald Reagan as a man , who won the Cold War. He started by calling a spade a spade and declared the USSR ‘an evil empire’. The Western progressives went bananas. The Soviets, after years of inflammatory rhetoric against the West, felt deeply offended but suddenly respectful , as they always were , when confronted by strength. Trump did the same by telling the world’s Muslim leaders to drive their home-grown extremists out. I suspect that Donald Trump will be accused of being disrespectful to the inner feelings of the Muslim peoples. Is it really true that history repeats itself?

    • ianl says:

      > “He was maligned, degraded, lied about, insulted and accused of being a trigger-happy cowboy, a warmonger, a tyrant, an incompetent B-grade Hollywood actor pretending to be President and what not” [Reagan]

      Even, with increasing insistence, senile, advancing Alzheimers etc …

      But he really was a truly awful actor :)

  8. Keith Kennelly says:

    Jody

    You didn’t like Abbott either. I’m starting to think you didn’t like Reagan, Thatcher or Howard either now That you are suggesting to us Howard, Thatcher, Reagan and Abbott weren’t half decent leaders?

    They all suffered the leftie malignments throughout their careers and into their retirements and were never able to ‘stop the miserable lefties in their tracks. Immediately.’

    With Donald it is just that there are more of these feckless liars in the media these days and there are more people like you who have fallen for their miserableness.

    Are you a leftie plant?

  9. whitelaughter says:

    ” His national security advisor, General McMaster, who was in the room, categorically explained on separate occasions that the sharing was appropriate.”
    Could someone share a link to him doing this please?

  10. Keith Kennelly says:

    Ian

    That article doesn’t reveal any names. As expected just generalisations and opinions. Your usual fare. Give a link that doesn’t support your claims. How many times have you done that here.

    Ian it was you who claimed Christ as a leftie supporting the socialists trashing Trump.
    I never said anything about Crist supporting Trump. Strawman again mate.

    Your explanation of what you said bears little resemblance to what you actually said.
    That makes your pants on fire … again Ian.

    All in all Ian you are just repeating your behaviours. Do you think I forget these things?

    It’s hard to take anything you say as serious.

  11. en passant says:

    Farmer Mac has been too long in the back paddock. He is just cluttering up the internet, but he is neither funny, nor sensible.

    He just sees dead children as small change in the larger scheme.

  12. gardner.peter.d says:

    “His national security advisor, General McMaster, who was in the room, categorically explained on separate occasions that the sharing was appropriate. Does that not matter?”

    Yes it does. it is massively important. When i first joined an intelligence service in UK in the 1980s I was shocked to find how much was shared with Soviet Russia. Despite having already served in the RN for a number of years i had not thought in depth about how deterrence works in practice. Quite simply, if your enemy does not believe in your capability it will call your bluff, sooner or later. One of the ways of ensuring credibility was to show them. If there is also a channel of communication to guard against inadvertent triggering of armed conflict it too must be underpinned by such understanding.

    Few people outside these circles have this understanding, a fact that can readily be exploited by those seeking to undermine their own government. A gullible people swallow the lie that talking to Russians means ‘in league’ with the Russians. Once you stop talking to your enemies you are probably on the point of the last resort – violence.

  13. Bushranger71 says:

    Too much personal sparring here that really misses key aspects.

    I have been in the US for the past 6 weeks considering much of their past military effort and had priviliged insight into some current capabilities.

    Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy positioned America to be world top dog and the US Deep State is hooked on that to benefit their massive military-industrial complex. That is why Trump was rolled on his (correct) notion that NATO is obsolete.

    The US needs presumed adversaries to justify unaffordable defense outlay and these are presently perceived to be Russia and Iran.

    In my view, President Trump has low probability of achieving his desired goals because th hawks within his own team just will not be supportive.

  14. Keith Kennelly says:

    Bushranger. You are probably right.

    So how will The military-industrial complex deal with Islamic terrorists