Give us the evidence

Published 9:16 am Monday, May 22, 2017


Contributing Columnist

Russian tampering with the U.S. presidential election has been under investigation for the past 10 months. Based on the technique employed, the national security organizations concluded the Russians probably hacked John Podesta’s email account. Authorities say there is no evidence they tampered with the voting. Beyond the Podesta hack, what specifically did they do?

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When Hillary Clinton lost the election, the investigation quickly morphed into a conspiracy investigation.  Supposedly, the Trump campaign and the Russians conspired to keep Hillary out of the Oval Office. It has been kept alive by an intense desire to delegitimize President Trump and a corresponding desire to avoid responsibility for Clinton losing the election.    

No evidence has been provided that any coordination between the Russians and Trump took place, nor has any plausible explanation been given for why the Russians would prefer a president Trump over a president Hillary Clinton. Due to the sale of U.S. uranium reserves to Russian interests, there is more concrete evidence that Hillary has a close relationship with the Russians. In addition, there is the infamous “reset button.”

Unlike the “Watergate scandal,” there is no original crime at the heart of the issue. Watergate began with a botched burglary at the DNC’s office. The burglars were caught in the act and they were found to have connections to the White House. The burglary was not what ruined Nixon; it was the coverup that he orchestrated. At this juncture, we have no evidence of a crime being committed.

By contrast, approximately 1,400 U.S. citizens were unmasked by the Obama administration during the election. These names were collected by electronic surveillance. If the names were collected coincidentally with a national security or criminal investigation, it is a felony to leak their names to anyone who does not have a legitimate national security reason to know the names.

We know this happened in multiple cases, since a colleague of Susan Rice distributed names to political appointees. In other words, there is a crime at the center of the unmasking scandal. If one party is using the national security apparatus to do illegal opposition research, this is an existential threat to our republic. Yet, we do not know if any unmasking investigation is under way.

The collusion investigation draws the oxygen out of our ability to investigate scandals.  It has become the Democrat’s primary tool for reversing the election – it is the hyped “resistance” to Republican governance. The investigation is kept afloat by opinion and unsubstantiated accusations.

Accusations and opinions are not facts, even when they are chanted by a revolutionary chorus in political theater.

If accusations and opinions were facts, lynching would be legal. This process is normalizing political lynching. It is the black soul of McCarthyism and to quote Edward R Murrow, “have we no shame?”              

Bob Martin is Emeritus Boles Professor of Economics at Centre College.

Says the climate-change-denying, Trump-loving Tea Partier