The Russia investigation: Each to His Own
What better to counter accusations of a conspiracy than a conspiracy theory?
“It should be clear to everyone that Russia brazenly interfered in our 2016 presidential election process.”
So declared John Brennan, former director of the CIA, at a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on May 23rd, adding that he had seen intelligence of “contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign,” leaving him with “unresolved questions” about whether Russian spooks successfully recruited American helpers.
He remembered a warning telephone call he made in August 2016 to the head of Russia's spy service, the FSB, urging his opposite number to remember that, regardless of their political affiliation, “American voters would be outraged by any Russian attempt to interfere in the election.”
It is rare to hear a spy chief sound insufficiently cynical about the world, but Mr Brennan managed it.
Both his premises turn out to be wrong.
To hear a shifting cast of Republicans in Congress, conservative media stars and Trump allies tell it, it is not remotely clear that Russia interfered in the election.
Polling shows most Republicans and Democrats hold irreconcilable views on something that the former head of the CIA asserts is a settled fact.