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“The line broke, the monkey got choked…”

Andrew C. McCarthy @ NRO: While You Weren’t Looking, the Democrat–Media Election-Hacking Narrative Just Collapsed

That supposed FBI investigation of collusion with the Russians? Never mind . . .

They’re in retreat now. You may have missed it amid President Trump’s startling Saturday tweet storm, the recriminations over president-on-candidate spying, and the Jeff Sessions recusal — a whirlwind weekend. But while you weren’t looking, an elaborate narrative died.

For months, the media-Democrat complex has peddled a storyline that the Putin regime in Russia hacked the U.S. presidential election. There is, of course, no evidence that the election was hacked in the sense that the actual voting process was compromised. Rather, there is evidence that e-mail accounts of prominent Democrats were hacked months before the election, and thousands of those e-mails were published by WikiLeaks in the months leading up to the election.

[…]

Thus, details about investigative activity have been leaked to the media. The press and the Democrats then exploit the leaks to spin the “Trump complicity in Russian election-hacking” story. It seems not to matter how objectively ill-conceived the Russian election-hacking claim is, or how woefully insufficient the purported Trump–Russia ties are to support an inference of campaign collusion in the hacking. The specter of an investigation — breathless media reports of FISA-court applications, wiretaps, surveillance of agents of a foreign power, and mysterious servers; painstaking analysis of shady financial transactions involving Russian banks and funding streams — seems to make the outlandish conspiracy impossible to dismiss out of hand.

[…]

For months, they have titillated their audience with the election-hacking conspiracy fantasy. When they cover their behinds by mentioning the possibility of innocence, it is in the fine print.

But still, the media and Democrats have always had a serious vulnerability here — one they’ve never acknowledged because they’ve been too swept away by the political success of the fantasy narrative. It is this: At a certain point, if compelling evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to steal the election did not materialize, the much more interesting question becomes “How did the government obtain all this information that has been leaked to the media to prop up the story?”

The most plausible answer to that question: The Obama administration, through the Justice Department and the FBI, was investigating the associates of the opposition party’s presidential nominee, and perhaps even the nominee himself, during the campaign. Otherwise, what explanation can there be for all of the investigative information — much of it classified, and thus illegal to disclose — that has been funneled to the press?

In short, the media and Democrats have been playing with fire for months. The use of law-enforcement and national-security assets to investigate one’s political opponents during a heated election campaign has always been a potentially explosive story. Let’s not kid ourselves: If the roles were reversed, and a Republican administration had investigated officials tied to the campaign of the Democrats’ nominee, we would be drowning in a sea of Watergate 2.0 coverage.

[…]

Here’s the most interesting part: Now that they’ve been called on it, the media and Democrats are gradually retreating from the investigation they’ve been touting for months as the glue for their conspiracy theory. It’s actually quite amusing to watch: How dare you suggest President Obama would ever order surveillance! Who said anything about FISA orders? What evidence do you lunatic conservatives have — uh, other than what we media professionals been reporting — that there was any investigation of the Trump campaign?

You will hear more righteous indignation in the coming days, no doubt. The first brushback pitches came this weekend: the claim that if President Trump dares to demand that the FBI and Justice Department show him the supposed FISA applications, he will be engaged in unprecedented political interference in the independence of law enforcement. It’s a silly assertion; as I explained over the weekend, FISA surveillance is not law enforcement, it is national security. A chief executive who demanded to review FISA information (obtained by exercise of the executive’s power) would be doing his main job — to protect the country — not interfering in a judicial proceeding.

But have you noticed? While all this head-spinning legal jibber-jabber goes back and forth, the foundation of the false narrative we’ve been hearing since November 8 has vanished. Now that we’re supposed to believe there was no real investigation of Trump and his campaign, what else can we conclude but that there was no real evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia…

VDH: The Ancient Laws of Unintended Consequences President Trump

If the progressive media and intelligence agencies were hand-in-glove leaking damaging rumors about Trump, and if none were yet substantiated, then the issue reversed and turned instead on a new question: How were they trafficking in confidential intelligence information if not from skullduggery of some sort? No wonder that some smarter observers backtracked from the Russian-Trump collusion charges of the past six months, given that the leaks were less likely to be credible than they were criminal. The accusers have become the accused. And who would police the police?

The media and the anti-Trump Republicans decried Trump’s reckless and juvenile antics as unbefitting a president. Perhaps, but they may have forgotten Trump’s animal cunning and instincts: Each time Trump impulsively raises controversial issues in sloppy fashion — some illegal aliens harm American citizens as they enjoy sanctuary-city status, NATO European partners welch on their promised defense contributions, Sweden is a powder-keg of unvetted and unassimilated immigrants from the war-torn Middle East — the news cycle follows and confirms the essence of Trump’s otherwise rash warnings. We are learning that Trump is inexact and clumsy but often prescient; his opponents, usually deliberate and precise but disingenuous.

[…]

Obama officials have written contorted denials that by their very Byzantine wording suggest there is some truth to the thrust of Trump’s accusations. (Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for Obama, tweeted a warning: “I’d be careful about reporting that Obama said there was no wiretapping. Statement just said that neither he nor the WH ordered it.”) At best, the public is learning that intelligence agencies and the Obama Justice Department deliberately monitored Trump’s campaign effort (and leaked its findings), acts that fit a larger pattern of seeking to oppose his 2016 campaign. […]

Unraveling the Feces-storm of Spygate

Are the Democrats scrambling for a fall guy on the wiretap of Trump campaign?

TWE: Democratic Sen. Chris Coons backtracks on Trump campaign-Russia claim

Glenn Reynolds @ Instapundit:

Hypothesis: The spying-on-Trump thing is worse than we even imagine, and once it was clear Hillary had lost and it would inevitably come out, the Trump/Russia collusion talking point was created as a distraction. Now it’s being rowed back because the talk of “transcripts” supports the spying-on-Trump storyline.

Will we ever know? Maybe, if there’s a proper investigation into Obama Administration political spying.

Meanwhile, the rumors being floated about Trump are being retracted, and once everyone from Comey to Clapper has denied that he was ever under investigation, future “leaks” will come pre-discredited.

CNS: Liberal Groups Paying ‘Hush Money’ to Russian Hackers, Bloomberg Sources Say

TDC: EXCLUSIVE: Dem Super-Lobbyist Podesta Got $170K to End US Sanctions On Russian Bank … (Tony Podesta, John’s brother)

TDC: FBI Director Pressed On Agreement With Trump Dossier Author

Even the MSM is choking, and in view of everyone, especially when it is their own previous reports being used against the Obama administration and the MSM itself, regarding the timeline of the current ‘wire-tapping’ scandal…

Mark Levin: OPEN LETTER TO CNN’S BRIAN STELTER, YOU ARE THOROUGHLY DISHONEST.

NYP: Leaks and unnamed sources fuel media’s plan to destroy Trump

Breitbart: Dear Mainstream Media: YOU Made DeepStateGate Happen

MORE:

Rush Limbaugh:

1. “Look at the headline on CNN: “Trump (Without Evidence) Accuses Obama of Wiretapping.” Have you ever seen that same headline: “Democrats (Without Evidence) Accuse Trump of Conspiring with Russians”? I’m telling you, the hatred these people have! That’s what it is.”

2. “Well, if Trump is right, and if Obama or an agent has actively been surveilling and wiretapping the Republican presidential candidate, that makes Watergate look like Romper Room. It would be the culmination times five of what Nixon was anticipating or hoping to do in Watergate.”

3. “Trump’s allegation — a serious charge — has got more basis in fact and reality than the charge that the Russians hacked the election. Trump’s allegation about Obama and his administration has much more legitimacy, much more weight, much more credence.”

4. “Didn’t we just have a week’s worth of media outrage at the untrue report that Reince Priebus had requested the FBI to knock down a story? That was the false New York Times story about continual contact with the Russians. We were told, it’s not the FBI’s job to knock down stories. And yet here comes Comey asking, as the FBI director, to knock down a story.”

5. “Well, now how can this be? The New York Times has the word “wiretapped” in a headline. The writer, one of three on the piece, claims that Trump had Russian connections and to support the point, he said that Trump’s people were wiretapped. So Trump comes along, “Yeah, I was wiretapped.” Same reporter: “There’s no evidence of that.” Now, what’s going on at the New York Times? How in the world — do they know what they’re doing or did they just forget what they did? Are they so obsessed with hatred — and that’s what the Democrat Party and the left has become, folks.”

Twitchy: ‘This guy is getting a little tongue tied’: Tucker Carlson and Rep. Jim Himes talk wiretapping

9,400 to Zero: For 6 Years, Spy Court Denied NO Electronic Surveillance Applications

FPM: #OBAMAGATE: EXPOSING THE OBAMA DEEP STATE Obama’s third term has begun. Our Republic is in danger.

Trump: A Master Tactician Serves Filet After the Russian Soufflé Collapses

The Z Blog: The Destroyer of Worlds

In a world where the rules no longer apply, it quickly becomes every man for himself and that’s what is happening in Washington right now.The Left accusing Trump of colluding with the Russians is not just a reckless political attack. It’s war on the very system of governance. It’s the sort of thing that goes on when the political system is breaking down. Trump’s charge that Obama was spying on his campaign makes perfect sense in light of what see happening. The evidence of some sort of Nixonian skulduggery is pretty strong.

Of course, in a world where the scrupulous following of protocol is essential to maintaining the status quo, a break down in the rules puts everyone at risk. That seems to be Trump’s game here with the spying charges. The establishment has tossed out the rules in their effort to attack him, so he is threatening to further bust up the system, which works to his favor and to their disadvantage. it’s a foolish game the Left has decided to play as they have much more to lose in a world without rules.

There’s another aspect to this. Trump has fewer skeletons in his closet than any president in generations. In Washington, that makes him a very dangerous man. All of these guys have shady deals in their closet. All of them bend the rules to reward themselves and their associates. No one says anything about it because everyone is dirty. Washington is a lot like a corrupt police precinct, where everyone is on the take so no one dares rat on anyone else. Trump’s life is an open book so he does not have to play along.

Read the whole thing.

DRUDGE REPORT Headlines:

WIKILEAKS publishes huge trove of ‘CIA spying secrets’…

Global hacking program…

‘Stole’ Russian Malware, Uses It to ‘Misdirect Attribution’ of Cyber Attacks…

ZeroHedge: Wikileaks Unveils ‘Vault 7’: “The Largest Ever Publication Of Confidential CIA Documents”; Another Snowden Emerges

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