Andrew C. McCarthy, Yes, Hillary Clinton Orchestrated the Russia-Collusion Farce!
Did she or didn’t she?
Of course she did. In late July 2016, Hillary Clinton, in an effort to divert attention from the email scandal that was haunting her presidential bid, directed her campaign to peddle a political narrative that Russia’s suspected hacking and leaking of Democratic Party emails was in furtherance of a conspiracy between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump to swing the election to Trump.
That is, as I argued in Ball of Collusion, the Clinton campaign dreamed up, paid for, and peddled the Trump–Russia collusion farce. And in promoting it, President Obama’s former secretary of state had a willing and able partner in the Obama administration — very much including its intelligence and law enforcement apparatus. Democrats Change Their Tune It was amazing to watch Democrats play Twister this week, as National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe added documentary corroboration to the disclosure he’d made the week before.
In that first revelation, via letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ratcliffe explained that, because our spy agencies have very effective foreign-intelligence-gathering methods, they were able to she accused Trump of doing: She colluded with Russians (through yet another foreigner she recruited to meddle in the 2016 presidential campaign: the ludicrous former British spy Christopher Steele) in order to damage Trump’s campaign and cinch the election for herself. As ever with the Clintonistas: When they’re moving their lips, they’re projecting.
Ratcliffe’s initial revelation came with a caveat: While our spy agencies judged Moscow’s analysis about Clinton to be authentic (in the sense of truly being a Russian intel product), they could not vouch for its accuracy (i.e., it might reflect what the Russians really believed, but it might alternatively be exaggeration or fabrication).
This was not a wobble. Intelligence agencies sweep up scads of information, and they must always grade its reliability with a skeptical eye to avoid deluding themselves.
But this was all Democrats needed . . . at least at first. At a Judiciary Committee hearing, former FBI director James Comey and Senate Democrats scoffed at Ratcliffe’s frank, professional concession, claiming it discredited his disclosure in its entirety, and called his competence into question. He’d clearly been duped by Russian disinformation . . .
Did the Russians have a window into the Clinton campaign? It sure looks that way, between Secretary Clinton’s security practices (which even Comey has
described as irresponsible) and her retention of Steele, with his stable of Russian oligarch clients and his dossier “primary subsource,” whom the FBI suspected (with copious reason) to be a Russian asset.
But the point here is not whether Russian spies, thanks to Clinton’s own carelessness, had effectively infiltrated her campaign. The point is: Clinton was undeniably doing what, it turns out, the Russians were contemporaneously detecting.
Want to play epistemological acrobatics? Okay, fine. We can spend hours pondering whether Russian spies generated an assessment about what Clinton was up to because they legitimately wanted to inform their Kremlin superiors, or whether they did it because they wanted our spies to see it and to wonder whether the Russians knew that we knew that the Russians knew . . .
I’d prefer to keep my eye on the ball, which has precious little to do with spy games and Russian disinformation. The Russians were able to deduce what Hillary Clinton was up to because it was patently obvious. It did not take a super sleuth to figure this one out. Just eyes to see and ears to hear.
That’s why you might have noticed a shift in Democratic tone when Ratcliffe released more documents.