While the overwhelming majority of us knew it all along, last month Robert Mueller’s special counsel colluded without a single indictment related to collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Some liberals are still holding out hope that Robert Barr’s summary of the Mueller report is dishonest, though I’m certain that Barr has the foresight to know that people will read the actual Mueller report when it is released and thus wouldn’t lie.
So on that note, I had to chuckle when one of the Russia collusion hoax’s chief propagators challenged people to find any errors in his reporting. Alongside Michael Isikoff (who has had information leaked to him from dossier author Christopher Steele), David Corn published a book titled “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump.” After its release, Joe Biden said of Corn’s book last year “if this is true, it’s treason.” Mueller certainly couldn’t find any evidence it was true.
Corn’s challenge began with a twitter spat with Matt Schlapp, with Corn alleging that Schlapp has made more incorrect statements related to Russian collusion than he. That’s completely irrelevant considering that Corn got the conclusion wrong regardless, but his challenge is an easy one.
The Papadopoulos Myth
One of the more obvious myths that Corn pushes (that even he must know is false) is that George Papadopoulos sparked the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign after he allegedly claimed to know that the Russians possessed Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails (which, if they do possess, we’ve seen no evidence of).
As I’ve argued elsewhere, the timeline on the FBI’s investigation does not support this.
- The most relevant detail is that the FBI didn’t even bother to interview Papadopoulos until January 2017 – after he allegedly spilled the beans over Russian collusion in May 2016. If they were so concerned that he possessed information that would have proven collusion, why wait? Papadopoulos would eventually be charged with making false statements to the FBI during an interview on January 27, 2017—a minor charge that has led to no indictment relating to collusion.
- The evidence for that is undeniable that Steele and the dossier he was working on sparked the investigation: Nellie Ohr worked for the company that created the dossier (Fusion GPS) and met with her husband Bruce Ohr from DOJ, and dossier author Christopher Steele on July 30, 2016 Bruce Ohr then met with the FBI on the same day, July 30, 2016 and the FBI case is opened the next day, July 31, 2016.
Don Jr. and Putin Collusion
In July 2017, Corn argued that Donald Trump Jr. was evidence of collusion with Russia, citing the now infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer Nataliya Veselnitskaya.
Corn also argued that “The Trump Jr. emails [he released following the meeting being publisized] also provide partial support for some information within the Steele dossier.”
Ironically, Veselnitskaya has more in common with the dossier than with Putin, and the meeting looks like a setup.
Veselnitskaya was working with Fusion GPS at the time of her meeting with Trump Jr. In other words, Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer, was working with the firm trying to “prove” Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, right as she set up a meeting with Donald Trump’s son. Veselnitskaya met with Fusion’s co-founder Glenn Simpson the day of, and the day after the Trump Tower meeting. What do you think they discussed, if not how to further solidify the optics of the collusion narrative?
Among the men who accompanied Veselnitskaya to the meeting included translator Rinat Akhmetshion, a former Russian spy who also worked for the Clinton State Department. If Trump Jr. did “bite” and say anything incriminating, he was there to make sure nothing was lost in translation. Luckily, Trump Jr. didn’t say anything incriminating, because there wasn’t any collusion, or desire to collude.
Regardless of whether or not I’m right about Veselnitskaya’s role, no “proof of collusion” arose from that meeting.
Doubling Down on the Dossier
As we learned from FBI general counsel James Baker, Corn was eager to share some parts of the dossier with the FBI.
And even as late as December 2018, Corn was still defending the contents of the dossier.
Corn’s co-author Michael Isikoff is at least intellectually honest enough to admit that the jig is up on the dossier and that it’s completely bogus. If Corn disagrees, he’s free to point out what in the dossier has been substantiated.
As I already argued, even if Corn were right on the particular facts in making his case, his conclusion of collusion was still dead wrong, which is the only relevant detail here.
I’m not sure what terms Corn was proposing for his bet with Schlapp – but I hope this means I win something!