It’s been eerily quiet on the Trump-Russia collusion front. Has anybody checked to see if Charles Blow still has a pulse?
On a near-daily basis for the past five months, the national media published “bombshell” after “bombshell,” incrementally building a narrative that President Trump’s 2016 campaign coordinated with the Russian government and that when the feds were onto him, Trump tried to throw them off by removing James Comey as director of the FBI.
But following Comey’s anti-climactic testimony earlier this month, and the testimonies of other intelligence officials, the subject is very suddenly not so juicy.
Writing in the Washington Post on Tuesday, Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the far-left Nation magazine, accused the media of harboring a “myopic obsession with all things Russia” that amounts to “malpractice” in journalism.
When weeks and weeks worth of multiple investigations go by — the FBI and both houses of Congress are all investigating the same thing — with nothing to show for them, reporters might look into a mirror and wonder, “What have I been doing with my life?” (Unless you’re Chris Hayes of MSNBC, in which case you look and wonder, “Why do I have the same haircut as Rachel Maddow?”)
Even Charles Blow, a liberal columnist for the New York Times who beat the impeachment drum for months, has given up.
“There was no knockout blow,” he wrote of Comey’s testimony. “It wasn’t the penultimate moment that guaranteed impeachment, but rather just another moment in what will likely be a plodding inquiry … There is so much emotional investment in Trump’s removal that I fear that it blinds people to the fact that it is a long shot and, in any case, a long way off.”
It’s like the moment a child finds out Santa isn’t real.
David Brooks, another columnist for the Times who spends his days Googling mental disorders to diagnose Trump with, admitted this week that it’s “striking how little evidence there is that any underlying crime occurred — that there was any actual collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and the Russians.”
Axios journalist Mike Allen writes a daily newsletter widely read in Washington and on Friday he wrote that “No evidence of collusion has emerged,” which several leading Democrats have also publicly stated.
Comey said in his hearing before Congress that he had assured Trump at least three times that he was not under personal investigation and flatly said he was never asked by the president to end his probe into Russia’s election interference.
Further, Comey, though admitting he leaked some personal memos about his interactions with Trump to the media, cast doubt on every news report related to Russia and the intelligence community, almost all of which are based on anonymous sources.
“The challenge … about writing on classified information is the people talking about it often don’t really know what’s going on,” he said in his testimony. “And those of us that know what’s going on aren’t talking about it.”
That comment came after Comey said that an entire New York Times report alleging “repeated contacts” between Trump and his associates with “senior Russian intelligence officials” was false.
“In the main, it was not true,” Comey said of the Times report.
Before Comey’s testimony, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Director of National Security Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats all said the same thing: They hadn’t been asked to do anything inappropriate by the president in regard to the Russia investigation.
Liberal MSNBC host Chris Matthews said the theory held by Trump’s opponents that his campaign colluded with Russia “came apart” with Comey’s testimony.
The investigation into Russia’s election meddling continues with the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller and the story isn’t over.
But that it’s creeped onto the sidelines with a nudge from the most liberal voices in media counts for everything.
Eddie Scarry is a media reporter for the Washington Examiner.