The latest so-called bombshell in the Russia/Trump investigation was reported by the Wall Street Journal, a paper that has been relatively sane in a media landscape that has completely lost its collective mind. And while there’s nothing wrong with their reporting – at least, as far as we know so far – the rest of the media took the story and ran with it as far as possible, claiming that it was the most damning evidence yet that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian hackers behind the DNC invasion last year. Unfortunately, despite all the juicy headlines, the story provides exactly zero evidence that this is the case.
The WSJ story reports that a now-deceased Republican oppo research strategist named Peter W. Smith had a theory that the Russians probably had hacked Hillary Clinton’s basement server and, therefore, probably had the 33,000 missing emails she never turned over to the feds. He had no evidence of this; it was purely based on his own reckoning. Reckoning, you may recall, that most of the conservative news media had indulged in last year and that even then-candidate Donald Trump alluded to in a press conference last summer where he supposedly encouraged the Russians to keep hacking.
According to the Journal, Smith was on a mission to obtain the emails last September as the 2016 election was drawing to its conclusion. But while the media has tried to make it seem like Smith was working directly for the Trump campaign, he wasn’t. He wasn’t even working for someone working for the campaign. And he apparently had no particular inroads into Russian sources, either. He was just an interested participant looking for the hacked emails, and you can bet that he wasn’t the only one.
So where’s the story? Well, while Smith was on his wild goose chase after the emails, he apparently told some hacker groups that he was “talking” to Michael Flynn. And…that’s about it. Smith never got the emails, and never even – as far as we can glean from the story – necessarily spoke to any hacker groups actually associated with Russia. And in his interview with the Journal before his death, he assured them that he had not been working for or with Mike Flynn.
Now, is it possible that Flynn expressed interest in the emails if Smith had been able to come up with them? Perhaps! And if so, who cares? Every journalist and oppo researcher in the country wanted to get their hands on those emails, to say nothing of federal investigators. How in the world does that prove that Trump colluded with the Russians? Even if Trump himself was out there scouring the hacker community for the emails, it wouldn’t prove anything other than that he was willing to get dirty to win the election. Which, frankly, was not a fact he ever tried to hide.
You know, it gets overlooked, but there would BE no Russia scandal if it weren’t for Hillary Clinton’s original crime! And the weaker the stories, the more the media blows them out of proportion. Soon, we’ll be reading “blockbuster” scoops telling us that Trump cheered for Ivan Drago when he watched Rocky IV in 1985.
Sooner or later, this is all going to blow up in the face of the Democrats. And in the meantime, they – not Trump – are doing Russia’s bidding by weakening trust in the American president.