If Trump is reelected, prepare for Russiagate 2.0. This time it’ll be even crazier. The Hunter Biden story has given the President’s opponents an excuse to do what they do best: shout ‘Russia’ at any allegation they don’t like.
It sounds insane that they would double down on a strategy that has failed so miserably before. The Democratic party’s obsession with the Trump-Russia conspiracy alienated average Americans and with very little payoff. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s multi-year investigation indicated that there was insufficient evidence to show collusion between Trump and Moscow, though it did find that Russia had attempted to hack the election.
Now, however, countless Democrats and NeverTrump national security types are alleging that an unwanted story relating to emails about a Democratic nominee reeks of a sinister Russian ‘disinformation plot’. Maybe it does. But it’s odd that nobody seems willing flatly to dispute the veracity of the story. It’s just, well, Russia and Trump again.
Let’s backtrack. A week ago the New York Post published a series of emails purportedly from Hunter Biden that suggest meetings occurred between Hunter Biden’s foreign business associates and then-VP Joe Biden. The Biden campaign has not challenged the authenticity of the emails. One of the individuals cc’d on the email discussing a meeting with the vice president confirmed to Fox News that it is real. The media outlets attacking the New York Post‘s sourcing haven’t managed to disprove the story. Still, Democrats and ‘intelligence officials’ — a term we’ve learned to be suspicious of by now — insist without evidence that the emails are part of a Russian disinformation campaign.
CNN White House Correspondent John Harwood called the story ‘disinformation by Russian intelligence on Biden’, former DNI and CNN analyst James Clapper said that it is ‘classic textbook Soviet Russian tradecraft at work’.
‘The whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin’, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff asserted.
The motivation is quite obvious. If Democrats and partisans in the media cannot kill the story through social media censorship (or prove outright that it is false) they will need some other explanation as to why the American people ought to ignore it. Enter Russia.
Democrats seem immune to the irony that they are the ones who fell for a Russian plot last time around. The infamous Steele dossier that endlessly touted as proof that the Russians had blackmailed Trump does now seem to have been in itself Russian disinformation.
Normal humans might have taken this as a lesson that it is a bad idea to blame everything you dislike on Putin. The Democrats instead double down.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe has already warned that there is ‘no intelligence that supports’ the Hunter Biden emails being Russian disinformation. Democrats will ignore that and point to a letter signed by more than 50 former intelligence officials — aka individuals with no firsthand knowledge of the situation — declaring that the story ‘has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation’.
If Trump manages to eke out a win, brace yourselves for another two years of Russia hysteria. Conspiracy theorists Rachel Maddow and Joy Reid will openly wonder if Ratcliffe isn’t actually compromised by the Russians and thus covering up Russian interference.
Democrats will insist that Trump ‘cheated’ and demand to know if he or his agents Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon encouraged the Russians to release Hunter’s emails as he did with Hillary Clinton. There will be endless House investigations into how the emails were obtained. When they’re not talking about Hunter’s emails, the other excuse will be that Russian disinformation about mail-in voting — amplified by President Trump, of course — froze out potential Biden voters and undermined democracy. It will be exhausting and terrible, but not surprising. History will repeat itself, first as farce and then as pure idiocy. And everyone will go more mad. Which is of course what Putin wants…