From American Thought Leaders, Hoover Institute historian Victor Davis Hanson provides a brilliant retrospective of the Russian collusion hoax, detailing the players, the playbook, the tactics and what could come next.
The Russia Collusion Hoax, A Retrospective Transcript
Excerpts from American Thought Leaders
Victor Davis Hanson: There were people within the United States government, the director of the FBI James Comey, the director of CIA John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the deputy director, and an array of others in NFC in the DOJ who felt A) that Hillary Clinton is going to win, they had followed the analytics in the polls.
Victor Davis Hanson: 90% surety. But they felt, as an insurance policy, that Donald Trump for variety of reasons culturally, politically, socially, was unacceptable as president. And the very thought that he could be present with so foreign and disruptive that they felt they had a higher duty, a higher loyalty, to stop that.
Victor Davis Hanson: So, what did they do? They started to surveil his campaign. They put informants, we know, in the his campaign. In October of 2016 they went to a Federal Surveillance Court, FISA Court, and diluted that Court by not telling the true nature of opposition research from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which was on unverified. And then they used that to surveil Carter Page, who had worked for Trump, but they were able to go back in time to a time when he was actively and surveil his communications and then reverse target that by tapping all the people that he had talked to. They, in the case of the National Security Agency excuse me, National Security Council, they requested names that came up in the surveillance that be beyond unmasked and then they leaked them. How did this translate in real terms, if you and I were reading newspapers and September / October 2016, Mother Jones, Yahoo news, they were printing things that Trump was involved with the Russians, and that permeated the press. We forget that now. Then when Trump did the unthinkable, he won, both in anger at that fact, but also as a pre-emptive defense of their behavior, you see, because you got remember, the dialectic would have been, President Clinton, look at all I did for you, I should be rewarded, I went beyond the Call of Duty for you. Now that mentality went, my gosh, I got legal exposure, so we’ve got to press further. So then it was a methodology of getting more FISA request and disrupting the transition, and then finally the act that resulted in the Mueller report, the Mueller commission and then to dethrone.
The Steele Dossier
Victor Davis Hanson: It seems pretty clear that, at some point, Republican never Trumper’s during the primary season wanted to smear Donald Trump, because he was ahead. So they hired Glenn Simpson at Fusion GPS and they had a Dossier, and then they lost. The Hillary Clinton campaign found out about that, contacted him, and said why don’t you beef up your efforts. They hired Christopher Steele, a British spy, and he hire,d to make sure that his results would be seated within the proper government thors, he highered the wife of the fourth rank in person, Bruce Ohr, to work on it. And they were paid through two firewalls, Hillary Clinton gave the money to the Democratic National Convention, they gave the money to GPS, GPS gave the money to Christopher Steele.
If you read the dossier carefully, I think, if you and I say we don’t know much about espionage or dossiers or Russia, I think you and I together, in a week, could have done a better job. We would have got the format, the scare capitals, these this and alleged, it is said it, it has been reported, one wonders, and then we would have done better. We wouldn’t have said it Michael Cohen’s father-in-law was a major developer in Russia when he has one rental, or we wouldn’t say that Michael Cohen’s wife is a Russian when she’s never been to Russia, she’s Ukrainian. We wouldn’t have any of these details. We would say Michael Cohen was in Prague without investigating whether there was some passport or documentation that he had been. So it was all unverified, and yet, because it was salacious, things about sexual activity, when Steele then, in the campaign, through the Ohrs, brief the FBI on it. They thought, wow, we can include this in the president’s daily briefing, according to John Brennan and James Comey. We will bring in Mother Jones or Yahoo News. They were not the top tier because the top-tier wasn’t sure that this thing could be true. And so they seeded it through them, James Baker, General Counsel to the FBI. They brought people from the Department of Justice I think on August 1, 2006, they brief it. The director of the CIA briefed Harry Reid in the Senate so that it was Victoria Nuland in the State Department brief people. So the effort was to get this out to as many people as possible so somebody would leak it and it would damage Donald Trump, and again, the irony was, it was based, it was compiled by a foreign National who used foreign National sources and they were paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and those facts were not told to the court that the facilitated all this by providing the government excuse to surveil American citizens, at which point they found no evidence whatsoever, and so when you and I are talking about the dossier right now, no one has ever said this fact in the dossier I can prove, and here’s the proof. And yet they diluted four judges and they dilute the country.
The Deep State
Victor Davis Hanson: The larger context of this was, when he was elected there was an effort to sue three states for the voting machines and nullify the election. There was a sustained effort to give the Steele dossier to the electors, and to persuade the electors not to vote according to their constitutional mandate. Then there was almost immediately 60 Representatives that voted for impeachment, the week he was inaugurated. Then there was an effort to sue on the emoluments Clause of the Constitution to remove him. The there was a 25th amendment psychodrama that went on for, and then finally there was Rob Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe meeting to see if they could pull cabinet members to remove. This was in addition to the Stormy Daniels psychodrama, the Michael Cohen, the tax return. So there’s been a sustained effort not to wait until 2020, but to remove the President of United States under the idea that, we are so moral and anointed unelected officials that we have a duty to somebody higher than, than the American people, and boil that down and it was a coup attempt to destroy the presidency before its tenure at expired.
Host: So, basically it was, any means necessary were okay to try to remove the sitting president?
Victor Davis Hanson: I think so. I think these unelected bureaucrats, call them what you want, deep state, members of the administrative state. Their analogous to people in history that worked in the Byzantine Court or the LS Coalder, in the Spanish Empire, or the people at Versailles. They were permanent cast of unelected representatives that felt that the liberal progressive project under Obama would be continued for a 16-year interlude. An that somebody who didn’t deserve to be nominated, under no circumstances should have been president, and who, when he was elected, should fail, that was not happening. So they called upon themselves to remove him. And I’m not trying to be overdramatic, because remember on September 5, of 2018 we had an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times. That was geared, by the way, to come out the same time of the Bob Woodward broke.
Host: Right here.
Victor Davis Hanson: Its a one-two punch, in which a person said, I am a Republican deep state bureaucratic appointee within the administration and I’m trying to stop what I think are wrong decisions by the president. I’m a member of the resistance, that’s what he said. That was, trim away the imprimatur of the New York Times it was basically a call for insurrection.
That’s definitely how it read. I recall that very very distinctly.
The Rule of Law
Victor Davis Hanson: The idea is it progressivism has taked over the Democratic Party and progressivism itself is transmogrified into socialism and under that ideology it is, the law is flexible and malleable, and it’s defined by what our ideas of morality are. The laws can be good or bad depending whether it serves our egalitarian agendas, which is basically a quality result in French Revolutionary value system, and to the degree that you want to advance that, then the law makes the necessary adjustments. That’s what we’ve seen since Trump was elected.
Fake News and the Media
Victor Davis Hanson: The media has always been left of center, but in the old days of Walter Cronkite or John Chancellor, when I was going up, there was a sort of professional protocol that you weren’t over, you were implicit, but not over. With the election of Trump, we have people actually state, Jim Rutenberg in the New York Times, Christiane Amanpour at CNN, saying that Trump poses such a danger to the Republic that a reporter has a higher duty to become a partisan. And then this term fake news is not just a rhetorical smear by Donald Trump, I mean if you look at CNN, just to take one network, they reported that the bust of Martin Luther King was removed, it was not. They reported that James Comey would testify that he told Trump he was under investigation, he did not do that. They said the Trump Tower meeting, Trump knew in advance, he did not know in advance. They said that Donald Trump was tipped off by wiki, they admitted they didn’t know that. Anderson Cooper had to apologize for using some really crude language on air about Trump. Reza Aslan, the religious editor, had to resign for using a smear. Two CNN reporters joked on a hot mic about Trump crashing. Remember Kathy Griffin held up the decapitated head at a CNN, that just one network, and so, again they become a fusion party of the the media and the progressive Democratic Party, there together. And you can see that with the Wikileaks when the Podesta trove was released to the public. You had people like Dana Milbank or Glenn Thrush, these are more key reporters who are writing to John Podesta and says, I’m really a hack, but I want you to proofread this and you object and I’ll make any changes you want, as if the media has to have the Clinton campaign approval or something. I’ve never, I can’t remember that happening in the United States.
And this is all juxtaposed to the idea that Donald Trump hasn’t done anything illegal to reporters, he may have talked about fake news and the media is the enemy of the people, bur he hasn’t surveiled people like Barak Obama did with the Associated Press reporters or with Fox News, James Rosen where the actually broke into their accounts and, and surveil their communication. So that’s what’s so bizarre about.
Victor Davis Hanson: We’re in such a degree of polarization and hatred of Trump that its blind at all reason and so we don’t say Russia, what has Trump done with Russia? Well, he has upped the sanctions, he’s killed Russians in Syria, he’s been tough in the air over Syria, he’s increase the oil production by 3 million barrels that hurts Russian oil, he’s forced NATO to spend more, he’s beefed up defense. He has tried to restore missile defense in Eastern Europe that Obama cancelled on a hot mic. So he’s been much more aggressive on Russia, but yet we, we have this albatross around his neck of Russian collusion.
Obstruction of What?
Victor Davis Hanson: It’s very hard to prove obstruction of a non-crime. If you work for me and I see that your shoplifting and I say to you, I don’t think you should shoplift it might be bad for our reputation, that’s not obstructing your behavior or getting involved, its just advise. So when Trump kept saying, I think this is a Witch Hunt, I wouldn’t do that if I were you. That turns out to be pretty wise advice because colusion was not found. So how can you obstruct a non-crime?
Previews of Coming Attractions
Victor Davis Hanson: The second half of this story is now the first chapter of the second half, and that is, the hunters are going to be hunted and the inquisitors are going to be inquired about, and I think we’re going to be shocked at what happened.