Donald Trump is good at something Brett Kimberlin was always good at. Here’s how it works: you take something you are doing to others, and accuse the others of doing it to you. Robert Stacy McCain always called this the “accuse the accusers” strategy.
So when he mounts an effort to convince the public that the media is trying to hoax you about his connections to Russia, you can be sure that effort is itself a hoax.
Jonathan Rauch sets the stage this way:
“To see what is in front of one’s nose,” George Orwell said, “needs a constant struggle.” Among Donald Trump’s many impressive talents is his gift for obscuring, occluding, and even inverting what is in front of America’s nose.
Most notably, he has convinced tens of millions of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, that he, not Joe Biden, won the 2020 election—which is pretty amazing, when you think about it. In close second place, though, is that he and his supporters have won the Russia narrative. They have convinced millions of people, including many in non-MAGA circles, that Trump and his campaign did not collude with the Russians in the 2016 presidential campaign; that in fact, if anyone colluded, it was Christopher Steele, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and the FBI—against Trump.
Rauch details the evidence:
The brazenness and success of this counternarrative are remarkable, because what is there in front of our nose, in plain view, is an undeniable and undenied stack of evidence that the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence viewed the 2016 presidential race as a collaborative venture. The facts are these (all according to undisputed reports by special counsel Robert Mueller, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, and many news outlets):
- The Trump campaign eagerly and knowingly accepted overtures from the Russian government to provide dirt on Hillary Clinton.
- Trump publicly asked the Russians to illegally steal and dump Clinton documents, and Russian intelligence promptly did exactly that.
- The campaign and its associates had at least 100 contacts and probably more with assorted Russians, including (according to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s account) ones with ties to organized crime and Russian intelligence.
- Trump’s campaign manager provided internal campaign materials to a business associate characterized by the Senate report and the U.S. Treasury Department as a Russian intelligence operative.
- The campaign team, including Trump, was well aware of potential plans by Russia’s Wikileaks partner to dump stolen documents, kept close tabs on it, and tried to schedule and exploit that possibility.
- Trump and his fixer Michael Cohen lied point-blank about Trump’s ongoing business dealings with the Russians.
- Meanwhile, at no point did Trump and his people report Russia’s activities to U.S. law enforcement; instead, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee report, the campaign was “elated” by what it regarded as a “gift” from Wikileaks.
That the Trump campaign did all of those things and more is not seriously disputed.
Btw, if you want to yammer about the dossier, Rauch addresses that too.
It’s old news. But it’s worth repeating. Because, as Rauch notes, Trump is big on repetition. Trump will repeat his lies until he dies. The repetition is a big part of the way he gets chump suckas, like the people who use the phrase “Russia hoax,” to buy in to the con.