The Cotton proviso

Appearing on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace this morning, Senator Tom Cotton splashed cold water on the report that the Obama administration was granted a FISA court warrant this past October giving counterintelligence permission to examine the activities of “U.S. persons” in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia. This after a June 2016 request for a FISA warrant was supposedly denied. He hasn’t seen any evidence supporting the report, he said. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen, he added, it means that he hasn’t seen evidence of it yet. He declined to support President Trump’s allegations on the point via Twitter yesterday (video below).

I take the carefully scripted denials of spokesmen for Obama and Obama aides themselves as evidence supporting the report. Moreover, the flood of leaks apparently deriving directly or indirectly from law enforcement/intelligence sources also seems to me to lend credence to the report. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, however, Senator Cotton is also in a position to know the facts. His caution on the point must be taken into account.

In a sane world, the proposition that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians and the underlying theme that the Russian government preferred Hillary Clinton would have to contend with events that belie it. President Obama couldn’t wait to accommodate Putin and actually adopted policies that aligned with Russia’s in the Middle East. Russia can thank Obama for its new prominence in the Middle East. It was Obama himself who asked Russian President Dmitri Medevedev to deliver the message to Putin that he would have “more flexibility” to accommodate Putin after the 2012 election. Hillary Clinton served as Obama’s fool in the Russian “reset” and related matters.

Senator Cotton captures the point in a quotable quote: “If you want to know what a pro-Russia policy would look like, Chris, here are some elements of it. You’d slash defense spending. You’d slow down our nuclear modernization. You’d roll back missile defense systems. You would enter a one-sided nuclear control arms agreement. And you’d try to do everything you could to stop oil and gas production. That was Barack Obama’s policy for eight years. That’s not Donald Trump’s policy.”

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