Collusion, anyone? By Michael Barone.
As the likelihood of the charges of Trump campaign “collusion” with Russia seems headed toward zero, the likelihood of proof of a different form of “collusion” seems headed upward toward certainty.
The Russia collusion charge had some initial credibility because of businessman Trump’s dealings in Russia and candidate Trump’s off-putting praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was fueled by breathless media coverage of such trivial events as Jeff Sessions’ exchange of pleasantries with the Russian ambassador at a Washington reception.
And, of course, by the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel. But Mueller’s prosecutions of Trump campaign operatives were for misdeeds long before the campaign, and his indictment of 13 Russians specified that no American was a “knowing participant” in their work.
Now, there’s talk that Mueller is winding up his investigation. Whenever he finishes, it seems unlikely his work will fulfill the daydreams so many liberals have of making Trump go the way of Richard Nixon.
Meanwhile, the evidence builds of collusion by the Obama administration’s law enforcement and intelligence personnel in trying to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat and delegitimize Donald Trump in and after the 2016 presidential election.
The investigation of Hillary Clinton’s illegal email system was conducted with kid gloves. One glaring example of impropriety came when FBI Director James Comey was given (and accepted) Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s order to call it a “matter” rather than an “investigation.” Clinton aides were allowed to keep her emails and destroy 30,000 of them, plus cellphones. They were not subject to grand jury subpoenas, and a potential co-defendant was allowed to claim attorney-client privilege.
On June 27, 2016, Lynch clandestinely met with Bill Clinton on his plane at the Phoenix airport — a meeting that became known only thanks to an alert local TV reporter. Lynch supposedly left the decision on prosecution to Comey, who on July 5 announced publicly that Clinton was “extremely careless” but lacked intent to violate the law, even though the statute punishes violations intentional or not.
Contrast that with the collusion of Obama officials with the Clinton campaign-financed Christopher Steele/Fusion GPS memorandum alleging Trump ties with Russians. Comey and the Justice Department used it, without divulging who paid for it, to get a FISA warrant to surveil former Trump campaign operative Carter Page’s future and past communications — the “wiretap” Trump was derided for mentioning.
Similarly, when Comey informed Trump in January 2017 of the contents of the then-unpublished Steele memorandum, he didn’t reveal that the Clinton campaign paid for it. Asked on his book tour why not, he blandly said he didn’t know.