As the mainstream liberal media continues to be handed leaks (on a smaller and smaller and more and more desperate basis) from what appears to be angry ex-Obama-ites lingering in the halls of Washington – ever ready to combat a slight rise in Trump’s popularity or shift in the “he’s the devil” narrative with some new “the Russians did it”-inspiring drivel – many Americans are growing very weary of the drip-drip-drip of nothingness. The latest leak – which was immediately met with howls from The Democrats screaming for his head – was the fact that then-Senator Sessions met with a Russian ambassador in his office in The Capitol during the campaign and did not tell Al Franken about it during his confirmation. As The Wall Street Journal remarks, the story about the connection between Russia and the Donald Trump presidential campaign is either the most elaborate cover-up of all time, or the dumbest.
More evidence for the dumb theory arrives with the news that during his confirmation hearings Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn’t tell Senators about two 2016 meetings with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.
The Washington Post reported late Wednesday that Mr. Sessions had two conversations with Sergei Kislyak last year, one a brief chat amid a gaggle of other ambassadors at a public event at the GOP convention in July, another in September at the then-Senator’s office.
Yet at his Jan. 10 confirmation hearing, Democrat Al Franken asked Mr. Sessions what he would do if he learned that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign had communicated with the Russian government. “I’m not aware of any of those activities,” Mr. Sessions replied, adding that “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
In a written question, Democrat Pat Leahy asked, “Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?” Mr. Sessions replied: “No.”
Democrats are calling this perjury and demanding that Mr. Sessions resign, but his only certain offense is ineptitude. A spokesman for Mr. Sessions late Wednesday defended the AG by saying, “He was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign—not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee.”
Mr. Sessions added at a press conference Thursday that he would recuse himself from any FBI investigation of the Trump campaign or Russian interference in 2016, adding that his answers in the Senate were “honest and correct as I understood the questions at the time.”
This may be technically true, but it won’t wash politically amid a Beltway feeding frenzy. Mr. Sessions knew Democrats were hunting for any Russian-Trump campaign ties, and meeting with the Russian ambassador is no offense for a Senator or campaign adviser. So why not admit the meetings up front? Give Democrats and the media nowhere to go.
If Mr. Sessions was trying to cover up some dark Russian secret, he’s the Jim Carrey of cover-up artists. Surely he knew someone would discover a meeting in his Senate office, which isn’t exactly a drop-site in the Virginia suburbs, and the meeting in Cleveland had multiple witnesses. Like former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn not telling Vice President Mike Pence about his meeting with the ambassador, this is a case of dumb and dumber.
The most important fact so far about the larger Trump-Russia collusion story is that there are so few salient facts. The Russian hacks of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta were embarrassing but had little bearing on the election. The dossier of supposed contacts between Trumpians and Russians published by BuzzFeed has never been corroborated.
Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees investigating the ties have reported nothing of substance. What we have on the evidence so far is a hapless cover-up without an underlying scandal.
Meanwhile, news emerged Thursday that Obama Administration officials ran a government intel operation on the Trump campaign. The New York Times reports that political appointees signed off on surveillance of “associates” of the Trump campaign, though “the nature of these contacts remains unknown.” The officials then spread this raw intelligence throughout the government and to foreign counterparts, ensuring they’d be widely read and supposedly to prevent their Trump successors from covering up the truth.
Finally, and perhaps most notably, WSJ points out that only days before the inauguration, President Obama also signed an executive order that allows the National Security Agency to share raw intercepts and data with the 16 other agencies in the intelligence community. NSA analysts used to filter out irrelevant information and minimize references to Americans.
Now such material is being leaked anonymously.
This is far more troubling than a meeting with an ambassador.
The Journal has a final suggestion:
President Trump could help by denouncing Russia’s election meddling and admitting that the Kremlin is acting against U.S. interests. He has already gone on record denying any personal campaign ties to Russia. If there really is nothing there, then the smart play isn’t to spar with the media and Democrats but to disarm them with transparency.
A penchant for denial and obfuscation helped ruin Hillary Clinton, and we’d have thought that the people who defeated her would have figured that out.
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