Russia and Comey: There is no There There
Eric Lendrum, Politics Contributor
Opinion -- By now, you’ve all surely heard about the latest developments alleging more collusion between President Trump and Russia. The Washington Post first reported the claim that President Trump shared classified intelligence with Russia, wording the headline in a manner that seemed to convey that this was further evidence of President Trump colluding with Russia even after the election. Then, as reported by our own Corey Uhden, the recently-fired former FBI Director James Comey alleges that President Trump asked him, in private, to call off the investigation against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, which was investigating General Flynn’s ties to Russia. Comey then says he wrote a memo documenting the meeting. Both stories came out within the span of a couple days, and from first glance, things seemed to be pretty bad for President Trump.
However, to quote a famous line of poetry: There is no there there. This is a blatant example of two fake news hits released nearly simultaneously to try to discredit President Trump further. It is the media and the left’s (but I repeat myself) final serious attempt at reviving the Russian conspiracy theory, which has been dying ever since the Syrian airstrike that all but dismantled the theory. After all, would a Russian puppet really attack Russia’s closest ally in the Middle East, in a move that clearly angered the Russians?
First, let us look at the intelligence-sharing story. First and foremost, note that the Washington Post, as with many other outlets that have continuously hammered away at the President for everything under the sun, cites “a U.S. official familiar with the matter” as the proof of the intelligence-sharing. Translation: An unnamed source. In this day and age of blatant fake news with an agenda, never ever trust “unnamed sources.” It is the easiest thing in the world to create a fake story using an “unnamed source.”
Second, even if this happened, President Trump did nothing illegal whatsoever. Even the New York Times admitted as such in their coverage of the story. The President has the authority and the sole judgment over which information is given to whichever ally he deems necessary. In this case, the information concerned a newly-developing Islamic State plot to sneak bombs into Western targets by disguising them as laptops, tablets, and other such portable electronic devices. Considering that Russia has been one of the leading strategic and military allies in the fight against ISIS, this is indeed extraordinarily relevant information that Russia would have a right to know. In a word: Diplomacy. Last I checked, diplomacy is not a scandal.
The media has also been reporting that Israel was the source of the intelligence in the first place, and as such has been falsely reporting that the Israelis are furious with this development, with BuzzFeed reporting that two Israeli officials (again unnamed) called this Israel’s “worst fears.” Of course, that directly contradicts the official statement by the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, who said that Israel “has full confidence” in the U.S. and its intelligence-sharing judgment. In a battle between BuzzFeed and the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., it’s pretty safe to say which one is more trustworthy.
Lastly, Russian president Vladimir Putin has lashed out at the American media’s response, calling it “schizophrenic.” He has even offered to prove that this sharing of intelligence did not happen, by releasing transcripts of the meeting between President Trump and Russian officials. Indeed, it would be a sad day when the Russian president is more trustworthy than the American media.
Furthermore, the media’s hypocrisy is absolutely devastating, especially when compared to similar actions - confirmed true, by the way - under the Obama Administration. For example, an Obama Administration official spoke to CNN and leaked information concerning an Israeli airstrike in Syria in 2013, which left Israeli officials furious. And let us not forget Obama’s infamous “flexibility” remark to former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in 2012; if President Trump were to say the same thing, the media would be screaming bloody murder.
Now onto the Comey episode. This is an even smaller, and ultimately more pathetic, attempt to paint the same nonexistent picture. This entire ordeal can be easily destroyed in so many ways. First, let’s do a simple analysis of the timeline of events as follows: On January 24, the New York Post reported that General Flynn was cleared by the FBI investigation, confirming that there was no evidence of wrongdoing in terms of Flynn’s communications with Russia. Then, on February 13, Flynn resigned as National Security Adviser. The New York Times reports that the meeting between President Trump and then-Director Comey - at which the President allegedly made the unusual stand-down request - took place the next day, February 14. You can view an even simpler version of this timeline breakdown, in the same style as a “cheat sheet,” here.
So then the question remains: Why in the world would President Trump ask Director Comey to shut down an investigation that ended three weeks prior, concerning a man who had resigned the day before?
Furthermore, even if this claim by former Director Comey had any merit whatsoever, Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett laid out a very clear and rational explanation for why his handling of these allegations only further proves that this is more than likely a politically-motivated smear attempt, one that could even result in criminal charges against Comey himself.
Calling it “a gun without powder,” Jarrett points out several major inconsistencies. First, if this actually did occur and Comey waited until just now to reveal it, such a delay would constitute an obstruction of justice on Comey’s part, since he would be required to report any such questionable - possibly illegal - conduct immediately to the Department of Justice. Furthermore, if Comey’s delay was due to the fact that President Trump’s language was “vague, ambiguous, or elliptical,” and he thus wasn’t sure whether or not it constitute an attempt to obstruct the investigation, then the claim is invalid; obstruction of justice requires actual proof of specific intent to do so. Lastly, even if this claim had any legitimacy, and the memo could possibly be a “smoking gun” as Democrats would surely love for it to be, Comey’s revelation of the memo to the media first - rather than reporting it to the Department of Justice - also greatly hinders any possible investigation due to failure to go through the proper channels. This only further increases the likeliness that this is nothing more than a media stunt from a bitter fired employee.
Oh, and there’s also the tiny detail that then-Director Comey testified, under oath, on May 8 that he had not experienced any calls from superiors to suspend any of his ongoing investigations. So once again, either Comey is lying now, or lied under oath back then.
The media will continue shoving this story down everyone’s throat, and the Democrats will continue to use this as a rallying cry for some delusional notion that they can actually impeach President Trump for doing nothing illegal. But, like many other efforts at forcing this fake Russia narrative on everyone - like with similar accusations against General Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions - this too will blow over due to a sheer lack of evidence.
You can follow the author on Twitter: @EricLendrum26.
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