by Thaddeus G. McCotter
As we bemusedly observe U.S. Representative Adam “Pathfinder” Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, continue to twist in his idiot wind—he now claims Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s general-warrant counterintelligence investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians in the 2016 campaign may not prove adequate—we should recall that in the earlier, heady days of the Russiagate weaponized lie, there was this suitably dismissive bit of snark charitably comparing Schiff’s quest for proof of this conspiracy theory with cryptozoologists hunting for the chimeric chupacabra.
In a perspicacious passage, reference was made to Werner Herzog’s “Incident at Loch Ness” where, desperately hoping the creature proves real, a character denounces the skeptics: “Show me one piece of evidence that proves this thing does not exist. They’re saying, ‘show us the evidence.’ I’m saying, ‘Show us the non-evidence.’”
Stumbling ahead to 2019, enter stage Left, Mr. Ken Dilanian, NBC’s national security reporter, for proof life imitates snark. Promoting his February 12 article, he repeatedly tweeted out the story’s headline: “Exclusive: Senate has found no direct proof of conspiracy between Trump campaign, Russia . . . .”
Note the cute use of “direct proof,” which preserves collusion conspiracy theorists’ hope (if not sanity and dignity). There must have been other types of proof uncovered; and, yes, that could lead – no, will lead! – to direct evidence being unearthed by Mueller and others, like the Pathfinder and his pals, to impeach and imprison the treasonous Trump.
But cute is in the eye of the beholder. To many of his collusion conspiracy enthusiasts and Twitter followers, this was heresy. Before you could say “Beria,” the anti-social network’s Stalinists demanded Dilanian engage in a scathing introspection; publicly beg their forgiveness; and vow never again to tell them something they didn’t want to hear upon pain of being purged (i.e., forced to “learn to code”).
Perchance a devotee of Nessie (?), in his next tweet Dilanian attempted to atone with the Loch Ness defense: “To be clear, the Senate intelligence committee has not found evidence exonerating Trump, either.”
Cagily, Dilanian expressed the collusion conspiracy theorists’ ultimate Kafkaesque conundrum confronting President Trump: to avoid being burned as a traitorous witch, he must somehow refute the endless supply of non-evidence, which is solely bounded by the collusion conspiracy theorists delusions. However unfounded, every accusation is credible and the president is guilty until proven innocent; and he cannot be proven innocent because “Orange Man Bad.”
What is often overlooked is the reason that Dilanian and his merry band of collusion conspiracy theorists skipped right past an exhaustive or otherwise list of the “non-direct proof” damning the president. That reason? It was succinctly and emphatically stated by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr(R-N.C.): “[We found] no factual evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.”
In an article in The Hill, Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark Warner (D-Va.) proved the point despite himself: “Respectfully, I disagree … I’m not going to get into any conclusions I’ve reached because my basis of this has been that I’m not going to reach any conclusion until we finish the investigation. And we still have a number of the key witnesses to come back.”
The translation into normal speak: Warner hasn’t found any evidence, but he’s still hoping he or someone or anyone will, so he and the other collusion conspiracy theorists don’t look like duplicitous, seditious weasels who weaponized the police powers of the state to smear and undermine a duly elected president of the United States.
But one might not want to place too much faith in Warner, given his obtuse powers of deduction. To wit: “What we do know,” he continued, “and it’s part of the public record, there’s never been a campaign in American history that during the campaign and its aftermath that the campaign folks affiliated with the campaign had as many ties with Russia as the Trump campaign did.”
Evidently, Warner hasn’t heard of Uranium One or the Clinton Foundation, though in fairness he has heard of Oleg Deripaska.
But someone who didn’t or wouldn’t hear Senator Burr’s “no factual evidence” declaration was U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee who, in a brief Twitter thread, waxed eloquent upon direct and circumstantial evidence. Though garnering brownie points from the collusion conspiracy theorists for his effort, the thread is brief because, like Senator Warner, he doesn’t provide any listing of any of the supposed circumstantial evidence against the Trump campaign for colluding.
It’s the old Pathfinder two-step: the evidence he’s seen is classified, so he can’t publicly reveal it; and, in turn, this allows the phantasms of the collusion conspiracy theorists to run unfettered by facts.
Then Swalwell tossed in a new wrinkle by hectoring Senator Burr: “It’s not direct, but that doesn’t matter. The law says it’s treated exactly the same way. So, @SenatorBurr, have you seen any circumstantial evidence of collusion?”
His didactic guise doffed to don more fitting partisan garb, Swalwell fails to instruct how all evidence – direct or circumstantial – must be factual. Thus, Burr’s “no factual evidence” statement answers the query. Yet, that is not really Swalwell’s aim. For his query incorporates the insinuation that Burr may have seen circumstantial evidence but, depending upon its source, cannot or will not reveal it to protect the treacherous president. Like Warner, Swalwell is trying to diminish Burr’s averring there was no “factual evidence,” so the collusion conspiracy theorists can continue perversely praying an American president is the tool of a foreign power.
Fortuitously, collusion conspiracy theorists don’t need no stinkin’ evidence so long as the collusion delusion remains an epidemic raging within the left-wing media. Whether honestly afflicted by the collusion delusion or cynically pimping it for clicks, ratings, profits, and fame, the media remains securely within the thralls of the myth.
The clip of Burr from ABC 7 WWSB has the duality of its headline: “Burr: ‘No factual evidence’ of Trump-Russia collusion”; and then the station feel compelled to add, “Sen. Richard Burr says the two-year-long Senate Intelligence Committee Russia investigation has not turned up compelling evidence of collusion [emphasis mine].” Who is one to believe? Burr’s plain words or the station’s “nuanced” revision of them into the exact opposite of what he said?
Further, from the same aforementioned story in The Hill, which comes complete with a “Trump seized upon Burr’s remarks” cliché, the reporter misrepresents narrative for evidence: “Trump has repeatedly maintained that his campaign did not collude with Russia, and he has decried the federal investigation into the 2016 election led by special counsel Robert Mueller, calling it a ‘witch hunt.’ That probe has thus far implicated six former Trump associates and dozens of Russians.” (Emphasis mine.)
Implicated in what? Per the special counsel’s charging instruments against them, it wasn’t of colluding or conspiring with each other to impact the 2016 presidential election.
Yet, these tip of the iceberg instances of the elitist media’s titanic tanking of their credibility are but further examples of how, for the Left, life imitates snark. In “Incident at Loch Ness,” another character piously announces, “I don’t want to point fingers … but I do blame David.”
The Pathfinder, Senator Warner, Rep. Swalwell, and all conspiracy theorists hustling and clutching to the evanescent collusion delusion couldn’t have said it better.
But you can bet they’ll keep trying.
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The Hon. Thaddeus McCotter is the former chairman of the Republican House Policy Committee, current itinerant guitarist, American Greatness contributor, and Monday co-host of the “John Batchelor Show.”