With Impeachment, Democrats Fall for Russian Gambit

January 28, 2020 Updated: January 29, 2020
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Commentary

With all media eyes on the Trump impeachment farce currently wending its way to an inevitable conclusion of exoneration, it’s crucial to remember where this whole charade started, not where it’s headed.

From the moment that Donald Trump outraged Democratic sentiment in 2016 by having the effrontery to defeat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, the entire apparatus of Leftism Inc. has collectively rallied to overturn the results.

Democratic animus against Trump had many causes: Hillary’s hurt feelings and incandescent rage; minorities’ baseless charges of “racism” even before Trump took office; open-borders advocates’ justifiable fears that the new president would start to take control of the border crisis; and the press’s stunned shock in seeing its confident predictions of a Clinton victory evaporate on the night of Nov. 8.

Indeed, on Inauguration Day 2017, The Washington Post helpfully announced that “the campaign to impeach President Trump has begun.”

The Dossier

In short order, the Democrats settled on the notion that Trump had somehow conspired with the Russians to influence public sentiment against Clinton and the Democrats, and possibly even affect the vote totals in polling places across the land.

As proof, they offered an anonymously sourced “dossier” on Trump compiled by a former British spy at the behest of Fusion GPS, an opposition-research company staffed by former journalists, and sourced to Moscow. It was a salacious farrago of rumor, speculation, and outright falsehoods, helpfully shared sub rosa with members of Congress and left-wing journalists, as well as the intelligence community operatives sympathetic to Clinton and the outgoing Obama administration. Indeed, the late Sen. John McCain handed a copy to former FBI Director James Comey in December 2016.

Most journalistic organizations at first hesitated to publish the dossier until the website BuzzFeed broke the barrier and ran it on Jan. 10, 2017—just 10 days before the inauguration. The mainstream media then, of course, immediately abandoned their professional scruples and gleefully piled on, on the grounds that the dossier was now “news.”

And it was news, of great importance—just not in the way the press and others in Washington thought it was. Because of its provenance, the inexpert reporters assumed the dossier was the product of old-fashioned journalistic shoe leather, with the added fillip of being funneled through a real spy. (Media types tend to swoon whenever a putative spy sidles up to them in a bar and whispers sweet disinformational nothings in their ears.)

Because of Christopher Steele’s apparent bona fides as a former MI6 agent, it had a patina of authenticity. But that was as far as both the press and politicians like McCain bothered to look. They should have gone one short step further: to Russia.

The notion that the Russians would aid a Republican, any Republican, was always absurd on the face of it. Practically since the Bolshevik Revolution, the U.S. left has made common cause with Russians, both in their Soviet incarnation and now as a disruptive gangster state dedicated to electoral mischief. A parade of leftist red-diaper babies—Sen. Bernie Sanders is just the latest incarnation—have advocated for the Russians, spied for the Russians, and worked for the Russians, some out of a sentimental attachment to the old country, some as true believers in the march of socialism and communism.

From the anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti in 1920, through the ring of spies that stole the atomic secrets and funneled them to the Russians in the 1940s and ‘50s, to the Soviet penetration of the American Civil Rights movement, to today’s resurgent interest in “democratic socialism,” the one thing the left has in common is a hatred of the United States as founded, and a desire to see it humbled.

Russian Disinformation

For the Russians (and, by extension, the Ukrainians, since that country has been part of a larger Russian/Soviet entity for hundreds of years) to work against the interests of the U.S. left makes no sense at all. But it all becomes clear when you view the dossier for what it really was: a disinformation operation of a particularly insidious kind, and one that the chess-playing Russians can manufacture in their sleep.

As U.S. journalist David Satter put it in National Review on Jan. 12, 2017, the dossier was “a carefully constructed attempt to disrupt American political life for years to come … reading the Steele report, I was struck by the way his sources employed the standard techniques of Russian propaganda and manipulation.”

But why would the Russians, via Steele’s imprimatur, implicate themselves? Simple: to give the fabrication the simulacrum of veracity, and thus conceal its larger purpose, which was and continues to be the destabilization of the West. There was foreign influence in the 2016 election, but it came from eastern Europe via Britain.

Think of the dossier as a poisoned pawn gambit but on a larger scale—say, a rook or even a queen—sacrificed in the service of winning the chess match. One’s opponent, who would never dare such a risky move himself, is so dazzled by his good fortune that he falls right into the checkmate trap coming in two or three moves.

The goal, in short, was to smear Trump with a chimerical notion of Russian support, thus allowing the Democrats to cry foul against ideological allies, while accomplishing the larger goal of sowing mistrust of the U.S. electoral system in the minds of people who never had given it a second thought.

Classic Russian disinformation of this type has been going on since the twin defections of Anatoly Golitsyn and Yuri Nosenko to the United States in 1964, each with contradictory stories about the KGB and its roles in the Kennedy assassination, drove the CIA’s counterintelligence director, James Jesus Angleton, nearly mad with his search for a Soviet mole within the agency, thus helping to cripple it.

For the Russians, it didn’t matter what happened to Golitsyn and Nosenko; what counted was creating confusion within the CIA—a legacy that survives to this day.

And now here we are again. That the pretense for the impeachment involves Ukraine ought to be a dead giveaway; despite the fact the Mueller investigation found no basis for the “collusion” charges, the left’s refusal to accept that verdict is all of a piece with their larger refusal to accept the results of the 2016 election.

You can bet that even when Trump is found not guilty of the House’s baseless charges, the campaign to drive him from office in disgrace will last until the next election, and probably beyond.

Michael Walsh is the author of “The Devil’s Pleasure Palace” and “The Fiery Angel,” both published by Encounter Books.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.