From Russia with crud

Whatever happened to the story of Russia’s collusion with the Trump campaign? It shouldn’t be able to survive the reality of Trump’s first 100 days in office. While the investigations continue in Congress and at the FBI, I want to draw attention to a few recent columns I have found of interest.

Consistent with Michael Doran’s prediction (via Twitter below), the alleged Trump collusion with Putin looks more farcical every day. Whatever happened to Adam Schiff? Seeking to win the lottery ticket that would move him up from his perch in the House of Representatives, the fantastical Rep. Schiff has apparently been sent to rewrite.

Carter Page seems to be at the heart of the collusion story. Both the Washington Post (here) and the New York Times (here) devoted three of their star reporters to this week’s update on the story. The alleged collusion is looking as thin as Page, the man Julia Ioffe found nobody in Russia to have heard of when she asked around for Politico this past September:

Enter Carter Page, a 44-year-old Ph.D., and business school graduate who claims an expertise in Russia and energy, yet who, I quickly discovered, was known by neither Russia experts nor energy experts nor Russian energy experts. (“I can poll any number of people involved in energy in Russia about Carter Page and they’ll say, ‘Carter who? You mean Jimmy Carter?’” says one veteran Western investor in Russian energy.) Page also, as I would be surprised to discover, appears largely unknown to Trump’s own campaign.

Where did the smoke around Carter Page come from? Mollie Ziegler Hemingway asks whether the FBI used garbage opposition research to spy on Page. Hemingway’s column does a little “unmasking” of the respectable journalistic kind.

Doran has a companion prediction. He also predicts that the surveillance story will grow. John Hinderaker flagged the contribution of Britain’s Guardian to the surveillance story. George Neumayr elaborates on the Guardian story in “Confirmed: John Brennan colluded with foreign spies to defeat Trump” Neumayr adds a footnote here.

I agree with Doran’s take on these stories. Given the interests involved, however, I am afraid he may be overoptimistic that reality will control the development of the stories or that we will ever arrive at the truth, but here’s hoping.