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In the fall of 2018, judged by any metric, things were going swimmingly in President Donald Trump’s America.
The GDP was up 5.2% from 2017. The unemployment rate declined to a 49-year low of 3.8%. Inflation was only at 2.49% year-to-year. The murder rate fell nearly 6%, the second straight year of decrease after a wild spike under Obama. No new wars had been launched, and the American death count in Afghanistan had fallen to 3% of its peak eight years prior.
So how was it that the Republicans barely held the Senate despite having only nine seats at risk? How too did the Democrats capture 41 seats in the House, their biggest gain in a midterm since the post-Watergate tsunami of 1974?
The answer is simple. Lacking a real Watergate, the Democrats and their media allies created one. To be sure, the Watergate inquiry in all its tentacles was very nearly as corrupt as Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s imagined collusion with Russia, but at least there was a real crime at the heart of Watergate.
With Russiagate, the only crimes committed were those committed by the accusers and investigators, and those crimes were far more serious than any crimes committed in Watergate.
We know a good deal more about those crimes thanks to the savvy work done by Special Counsel John Durham and his team in the recently concluded trial of Christopher Steele source, the Russian-born Igor Danchenko.
On the right, of course, we like to scoff at Durham, but on reviewing the powerful media and deep state forces behind Mueller, I come away with much more appreciation for what Durham accomplished with close to no institutional support at all.
During the Danchenko trial, Durham laid out the infrastructure of the Russia hoax in detail and blistered the FBI while so doing. Almost no one expected this.
As the FBI agents acknowledged under oath, a Democratic operative with Russian ties, Charles Dolan, fed Danchenko garbage tying Trump to Putin. Danchenko added additional garbage and fed it all to his patron, Christopher Steele.
Steele fed it to his employers in the Clinton campaign and his co-conspirators in the media, the FBI and on the Mueller team. Collectively, they passed this garbage off as gold through the 2018 midterms and beyond. (For details, I would recommend Techno Fog’s reporting at The Reactionary.)
This crap never swelled sweeter than it did in the New York Times newsroom in the four weeks before the 2018 midterms. During that stretch, the Times ran eight articles or op-eds on the Mueller investigation, all of them them either specious or irrelevant.
Consider this front-page story from Oct. 9, 2018: “Trump Aide Eyed Deception Plan To Tilt ’16 Race!” Note the exclamation point added lest readers think this story unworthy of their time.
Apparently, an Israeli company submitted to Rick Gates a series of proposals, one of which describes “opposition research and ‘complementary intelligence activities’ about Mrs. Clinton and people close to her.”
It proved to be bust. “There is no evidence,” the Times conceded, “that the Trump campaign acted on the proposals.”
In sum, although the proposals were nothing burgers rejected by a non-entity within the Trump campaign, October demanded surprises, and the Times gift wrapped this one for its readers.
During that same 2016 time frame, however, the Clinton Campaign did contract through intermediaries with a foreign spook to create a smear campaign against Trump, a campaign that ultimately blossomed into the Mueller investigation.
The smears worked. On Oct. 10, the Times reported that “in private testimony,” former FBI legal counsel James Baker told of how he took seriously a suggestion by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, “to secretly tape conversations with President Trump but viewed it as too risky and unlikely to deliver meaningful information.”
Not unethical, mind you, not treasonous, but “too risky.” From the Times’ perspective, the only downside to this revelation was that Trump might fire the Judas in his employ and maybe even shut down the Mueller investigation.
To reassure its readers, the Times served up an op-ed by former FBI agent Asha Rangappa claiming that it was too late to stop Mueller and the FBI from destroying Trump.
“Whatever happens now,” wrote Rangappa confidently, “there is no doubt that the F.B.I. has already collected hundreds of thousands of pages of evidence in the form of documents, interviews, electronic surveillance and foreign intelligence shared by our allies that are stored in the F.B.I.’s tamper-proof system and cannot be destroyed.”
Among those caught in the FBI dragnet was one-time Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. The Times gratuitously reported Oct. 19 that Manafort would be sentenced in February for the “financial fraud crimes” he had been convicted of in August.
Manafort’s aptly named new book, “Political Prisoner,” is a chilling reminder of how the deep state, with the media’s blessing, can destroy whomever it chooses for whatever reason it sees fit, whenever it chooses to do so.
As October faded into November, and the Times editors could feel the roar of the blue wave at their backs, they relaxed a little. An actual headline from Nov. 1 reads as follows: “Colbert Makes Fun of Attempt to Discredit Mueller.”
Apparently, there had been a halfhearted attempt to frame Mueller for sexual misconduct. In November 2018, that was a bad thing. In September 2018, as Brett Kavanaugh can attest, framing a man for sexual misconduct was a an act of patriotism.
“So someone is trying to frame Robert Mueller,” Stephen Colbert joked. “And not the way I thought, where he reveals the president’s ties to Russia and then we hang Mueller’s picture in every home in America.”
These are the narratives the GOP had to slap down in November 2018. In 2022, alas, half of America still thinks they’re true.
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