Russiagate was not a zero-sum game

Russiagate was not a zero-sum game

Although House Democrats, foolishly in my opinion, have announced they will move forward with their own probes into Donald Trump’s putative collusion with Russia to sway the 2016 election, the game is for all intents and purposes over. To the extent that there can be a winner in a prolonged and at times acrimonious public audit of a U.S. president, his family, and his confidantes, it is Donald Trump. But the victory is pyrrhic, at best. “The president,” Jack Shafer somewhat ironically notes at Politico, “is not a crook,” to which, if I were Trump, I would say, “Thanks — for nothing.”

A new Hill-HarrisX survey poll out yesterday finds that 54% of Americans now say they’re open to re-electing Trump. That’s rare good news from a survey for this president, but it’s tempered by the bitterness of all that he and his associates have been forced to endure over the past two years. Imagine how much higher his polling numbers might be today if the media had focused their attention on all the good he has done in his first two years rather than on some trumped-up charge.

The media: They’re still coming to grips with how this bleak chapter in American history will end for them. On Sunday liberal commentator Matt Taibbi published a revealing self-deprecatory opinion piece titled “It’s official: Russiagate is this generation’s WMD,” which has caused some of his partners in crime to wince. On Monday, New York Times “conservative” columnist David Brooks delivered his own mea culpa in an article headlined “We’ve All Just Made Fools of Ourselves — Again.”

Will this presidential election be the most important in American history?

But no amount of soul-searching can undo the damage done to the president and those close to him by embarking on this fool’s errand. Writing at The Hill, Sharyl Attkisson calls out the many individuals who are owed apologies, and by whom. Among them:

Apologies to Trump on behalf of those in the U.S. intelligence community, including the Department of Justice and the FBI, which allowed the weaponization of sensitive, intrusive intelligence tools against innocent citizens such as Carter Page, an adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign.

Apologies also to Page himself, to Jerome Corsi, Donald Trump Jr., and other citizens whose rights were violated or who were unfairly caught up in surveillance or the heated pursuit of charges based on little more than false, unproven opposition research paid for by Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Apologies for the stress on their jobs and to their families, the damage to their reputations, the money they had to spend to hire legal representation and defend themselves from charges for crimes they did not commit.

But don’t expect those apologies to be forthcoming, and even if they were, talk is cheap.

No, the game might be over, but there are no winners.

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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