Vernuccio’s View: “Russian Collusion” Allegations Dismantled

President Trump’s attack on the airbase of Moscow’s ally Syria, as well as the deployment of U.S. troops to nations bordering Russia, further diminishes allegations that Trump is friendly with Putin. The Russians had warned the White House against the moves, which were in sharp contrast to the Obama Administration’s reluctance to offend Putin.

The “Russian Collusion” allegations against the Trump Administration need to be seen for what they truly are.

Even by the usual harsh standards of politics, the slash and burn tactics practiced by the losing side of the 2016 election have been excessive. The situation is deeply worsened by the complicity of a media that remains embarrassed that its open advocacy of Hillary Clinton was not only unethical but also unsuccessful. Combined with an academic establishment that seeks to censor non-leftist student speech, and the financing by rogue billionaires of street protests, its adds up to a (mostly) nonviolent attempt to discredit the results of the 2016 election.

The reason for these actions are clear. The normal governmental avenues are increasingly unavailable to the hard left. Voters have taken note of Progressives’ failed policies at home and abroad.  Republicans now dominate the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives, as well as most governorships and state legislatures.  Rather than engage in soul-searching in preparation for the next campaign, as the GOP did in the aftermath of losing dramatically in the 2008 election, the extremists who have taken  over the Democrat Party are seeking to delegitimize the election results.

Since the Trump Administration was too new to actually have a record to criticize, allegations were made about improper actions before the election, specifically, contacts with the Russian government.

No convincing evidence been presented, either of illegal contact, (despite the newly released information that the Obama Administration was indeed engaging in surveillance of the Trump campaign) or of any resulting impact in the campaign—that much is clear.  But a larger question looms. Why would the Russian Government favor a Trump victory, when the Obama-Clinton team was so accommodating towards Moscow?

Consider these Obama-Clinton policies which Putin benefited from:

  • Slashing spending on U.S. armed forces;
  • Selling 20% of U.S. uranium (the basic ingredient of nuclear weapons) to Moscow;
  • signing the New START treaty which, for the first time in history, gave Russia the lead in atomic weapons;
  • Doing virtually nothing other than impose weak sanctions in the wake of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine;
  • Roadblocking U.S. energy production from federal lands, thereby giving Russia’s chief export greater value; and
  • Withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq, which allowed Russia to become a key influence in the region.

In contrast, during the campaign, Trump pushed concepts that were virtual daggers pointed at the heart of Moscow.  The first was to undo the dramatic and dangerous cuts to the U.S. defense budget. The second was a promise to reinvigorate the U.S. energy sector, which could cause significant harm to the Russian economy.  The third was a reversal of Obama’s intentional reduction of U.S. leadership across the globe.

Much was made of Trump’s criticism of NATO, his attempt to get member countries to spend more. Some claimed that pleased Moscow because it opened up a wedge between Europe and the U.S.  The assertion doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, in large part because several European nations now express a willingness to beef up their armed forces. Having a greater defense against Russia’s increasingly powerful military is not exactly a result Putin would want.

There also another problem:  it has recently been discovered that the Obama Administration had specific knowledge that the Russian government was attempting to influence the American election. It refused to take any action in response to that information until December, well after the election was over. There has been no valid reason given for the delay.

 

Frank V. Vernuccio, Jr., J.D.

Frank V. Vernuccio, Jr., J.D.

Frank V. Vernuccio, Jr. serves as Editor-in-Chief of the New York Analysis of Policy & Government.

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