Column: When Russiagate Conveniently Vanishes

June 5th, 2020 6:57 AM

Rod Rosenstein – the former Deputy Attorney General at the red hot center of the Robert Mueller probe into the phantom menace of Trump collusion with the Russians – testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 3.

You may not know that happened. ABC, CBS, and NBC ignored it that night. PBS gave it 55 seconds. NPR gave it four minutes, but this part sounded bizarre.

Mary Louise Kelly, anchor: “May I start with an observation? Does this seem a little out of left field? With everything going on in the country right now, senators are focused today on the Russia investigation?”

Philip Ewing, reporter: “The short answer for that is, politics.”

The ABC, CBS, and NBC evening newscasts devoted 2,202 minutes of coverage to the Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theory from January 21, 2017 to February 10, 2019. When the Senate Intelligence Committee announced its conclusion on February 12 that there was no collusion? Zero on ABC, CBS, and NBC.

The short answer for that? Politics.  

These networks, alongside the “prestige” print press and CNN and MSNBC, obsessed 24/7 about Russian collusion claims for more than two years. It was never “out of left field.” It was the fiercely beating heart of the “news” product. They repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of Trump’s election and even welcomed bald-faced lies that Trump might be a Russian agent. “Bombshell” after “bombshell” led to claims that collusion was going to end Trump’s presidency early. Now the papers bury the story on the inside pages.    

Under questioning from senators, Rosenstein claimed he was really not well-informed at all about everything the FBI – under his direct supervision – was doing to railroad Team Trump. Sen. Ted Cruz asked him if he knew the primary source behind the Steele dossier disavowed it as rumors and hearsay? No. Did he know the Steele dossier was funded through the DNC? No. But that partisan pile of hearsay was used repeatedly to authorize spying on Trump adviser Carter Page.

Cruz claimed what the Obama-Biden team did to undermine the Trump campaign, transition, and administration made Watergate pale by comparison. This would explain why the partisan networks skipped over this. They have labored to insure that Trump – just like George W. Bush before him – was designated as the “worse than Watergate” president.

After Sen. Lindsey Graham asked if Rosenstein would agree in retrospect that by August 2017, there was ultimately “no there there” to support the “concept that the campaign was colluding with the Russians,” Rosenstein responded, “I agree with that general statement.” But no one in that department, and no one in the press backed down and stopped pushing a false collusion narrative.

The crowning audacity after the Rosenstein hearing came from MSNBC star Rachel Maddow, the Collusion Queen and Duchess of the Dossier. Without uttering the words “dossier” or “Rosenstein,” she complained that 53 new subpoenas would be issued in investigating the origins of this get-Trump conspiracy. With a megaton of chutzpah, she lamented this was designed to “create an air of criminality around Vice President Biden and the whole Obama administration, in time for the election in November.”

A politicized “air of criminality” still wafts over the Trump administration, thanks to the “objective” media. But they offer no apologies, no retractions, no admissions of fault on the overall Russia mess. Their drumbeat of “news” on collusion turned out to be....Fake News