Liberals might finally be taking off their tinfoil hats. As Townhall’s Matt Vespa reports:
As Guy wrote last week, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) has retreated from his claim that there’s solid evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence agencies. Now, his colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee also concede that there may be zero evidence of such activity after a month into their investigation (via John Sexton/Buzzfeed) [emphasis mine:]
A month into its sweeping investigation into the Kremlin’s efforts to undermine the US election, the Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to answer all those questions — publicly, coherently, and fast. As the days tick by, they’re less and less sure they’ll be able to.
Even some Democrats on the Intelligence Committee now quietly admit, after several briefings and preliminary inquiries, they don’t expect to find evidence of active, informed collusion between the Trump campaign and known Russian intelligence operatives, though investigators have only just begun reviewing raw intelligence. Among the Intelligence Committee’s rank and file, there’s a tangible frustration over what one official called “wildly inflated” expectations surrounding the panel’s fledgling investigation.
Since the probe was first announced in December — days after the FBI and CIA told Congress they believed the Kremlin had worked to elect Trump — political infighting has fundamentally shifted its mandate. Instead of a surgically precise examination of the raw intelligence that led US agencies to conclude the Kremlin attempted to tilt the election, the Intelligence Committee investigation has quickly become the catch-all for any politician’s lingering questions related to Moscow. Now, several committee sources grudgingly say, it feels as though the investigation will be seen as a sham if the Senate doesn’t find a silver bullet connecting Trump and Russian intelligence operatives.
It took long enough. A week ago, former DNI James Clapper noted on Meet the Press:
“We did not include any evidence in our report,” Clapper replied. He continued: “I say, ‘our’, that’s NSA, FBI and CIA, with my office, the Director of National Intelligence, that had anything, that had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians”.
His interviewer persisted: “I understand that. But does it exist?”
“Not to my knowledge,” said Clapper, who conceded it was possible that evidence had emerged since he stood down in January.
So there you have it. The former director of national intelligence acknowledging that there has been an investigation and that the investigation found nothing. But apparently this is not good enough for Nancy Pelosi. Her statement, as reported by CNS:
“We think there’s plenty of evidence,” Pelosi said, contradicting Clapper, “that shows for sure that the Russians were disruptive of our election. Follow the facts to the personal, political, and financial connection to Russia.”
Confidential U.S. intelligence sources revealed to Circa.com that the FBI monitored a computer server at Trump Tower last October, but found no evidence of illegality, CNSNews.com reported on Thursday.
What’s this about? Playing politics with American national security to fundraise and attack the president. If there were evidence of American national security being compromised, it would be worth investigating. Writing at National Review, Jim Geraghty explains the most likely scenario:
Is it likely that the Russians wanted to muck around, mess with Hillary, expose embarrassing information from the DNC and John Podesta, and undermine faith in the American system of elections? Yes, it is. Is it likely that Russia saw Trump as a friendlier or more easily manipulated U.S. leader? Yes. But based on what we know so far, and barring some stunning new revelation, the Senate Intelligence Committee is going to find that two separate entities (Russia and the Trump campaign) worked separately towards the same goal (Hillary’s defeat). Surely the Trump campaign didn’t mind, and in fact gleefully touted the WikiLeaks revelations about the DNC and Podesta. But that isn’t the same as collusion, which is defined as “secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose.” We don’t know what the Senate Intelligence Committee’s final report will say; the investigation is still ongoing. But we know the intelligence community, with all of its resources and every incentive in the world, couldn’t find a smoking gun in the two-and-a-half months or so between Election Day and Inauguration Day.