The Trump-Russia Story Survives, Even As Evidence of Collusion Fades

(The Washington Post) —

In case you haven’t noticed, there has been no shortage of stories concerning President Donald Trump’s Russia connections. They are still on the front page, and they have the air of some urgency. But they seem to contain nothing about the Trump campaign colluding with Russia. Ever. The fact is, as Willis L. Krumholz expertly chronicled in his thorough timeline and analysis published in the Federalist on Tuesday, “We still have zero evidence that Trump colluded with Russia.”

The media have too much invested in the Russia collusion conspiracy to just pack up and leave. So, they are eager to report on Paul Manafort’s work for Ukraine between 2012 and 2014 and the raid of his house earlier this year — as if either has something to do with Mr. Trump. They herald the subpoenas issued to former national security adviser Michael Flynn and anything even remotely concerning Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian attorney at Trump Tower. And now, they are flogging a story about a Trump Organization executive trying to get some relief on a stalled project in Russia. But, as reports show, the executive didn’t even get the courtesy of a reply. The fact that the Kremlin completely stiff-armed this friendly overture suggests Trump and Russia were anything but colluding co-conspirators. Right?

The media’s willingness to publish anything related to Mr. Trump and Russia with negative inferences and allegations of unrelated wrongdoing demonstrates just how desperate they are to keep this story alive. CNN is, perhaps, the worst culprit. The unabashedly anti-Trump news outlet hosts a dedicated webpage, “The Russia Investigation,” where its catalog of Russia-related stories only serves to reinforce the fact there is no evidence to suggest any form of collusion occurred. They must realize that, and yet they persist.

The whole notion that there was ever collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in order to influence the 2016 election appears to be fading into the rearview mirror. Writing in the Washington Examiner last week, Byron York made the profound observation that at House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s nationally broadcast town hall in Wisconsin, “there was not one question, nor one word said, about the issue that has consumed the Washington media in recent months: the Trump-Russia affair.” Oh and by the way, it was CNN that broadcast the town hall. Ironic. If only the network’s reporters understood that — for good reason — practically no one in flyover country believes there is anything to the collusion story.

Anyway, the previously gathering storm of Russian collusion seems to be breaking up into a few unconnected showers that won’t soak Mr. Trump. Lightening won’t strike, Trump’s presidency won’t be killed. He won’t even catch a cold. His associates could be in trouble for offenses that occurred before the Trump campaign even started. Others may be embarrassed by their amateur language and behavior during the campaign, and a few may look evasive or dishonest as a result of their attempts to justify or deny their actions once the investigation began.

So, with more stories coming out each week further establishing that no collusion occurred, could it be that there is evidence of collusion that has simply yet to be uncovered? Not likely.

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