From Russiagate to Maipilo Guy, Let’s Stop Electoral Conspiracy Theories – Reason.com

A federal grand jury has accused attorney and cybersecurity consultant Michael Susman of lying to the FBI when he presented to the agency that Donald Trump was involved with the Kremlin. The main problem? When Susman told the Fed in 2001 that Trump’s organization had a “secret communication channel” with the Russian-owned Alpha Bank, he claimed he was not working for any particular client. In fact, the allegations allege he was working for Hillary Clinton’s presidential election.

Like many other attempts to bind the Queens-born businessman to Russian interests, Susman’s information turned out to be rubbish. The allegations were made by Special Counsel John Durham, whose office has already convicted the former FBI agent of “forging a document in an internal email to survey Carter Page, Trump’s foreign policy adviser.”

The case is a clear reminder that attempts to represent the outcome of the American election rarely began with the Mypilo people’s insane claims of massive voter fraud or the Trump team’s spectacularly unsuccessful serial lawsuit that Joe Biden stole from the 2020 contest. Long before Trump tried to weaken Amtrak Joe, Hillary Clinton, the establishment of democracy and many in the media. New York Times, The Washington PostMSNBC, and elsewhere, was committed to becoming known as “Russiagate”: an active agent of Trump’s Kremlin, a series of related, overlapping, and ultimately unsupported theories, run by oligarchs financing his global empire. Vladimir Putin’s secret service was blackmailing.

The most entertaining of these conspiracy theories was no doubt the “urine tape”, an alleged recording of Trump in 2013, saw two prostitutes urinate in a bed used by Barack Obama in the Moscow Ritz-Carlton. Sadly, the story of the urine tape is no more evidence than that of J. Edgar Hoover who kept John Dillinger’s dissected sex in his office. Yet Susman’s claims about Trump and Alpha Bank helped genuine journalists like Franklin Four write suspicious stories before and after the 2016 election that Trump was fatally compromised by a foreign power. Just as the John Birch Society was once frustrated enough to condemn Dwight Eisenhower as a “conscious, dedicated agent of the communist conspiracy,” Trump’s critics, such as Hillary Clinton, dismissed him as Putin’s “puppet.”

More importantly, Susman’s claims to federal agents and the so-called “The Still Dossier” (origin of the urine tape story) helped the FBI launch an investigation based on defective documents and stigmatized by biased hostility. At various points identified as precise, credible documents, the Steel Dossier was in fact poorly verified by anti-Clinton campaigns funded by the Clinton campaign. (For a fantastic analysis of Fusion GPS, read the document that the private intelligence team created, Barry Meyers Fear: The secret rise of private spies.)

Donald Trump must be the owner of his crazy imagination that the 2020 election has been stolen from him. But his conspiracy theories were only part of a series of talk-stealing-election stories (out of the last six presidential races, only two – 2008 and 2012, were not made up). And the disrespectful Russiagate narrative – which involves a politically inspired investigation of a current president and is relentlessly pushed by democratic institutions and a good part of the media to this day – is a deeply disturbing reminder that bullshit is a fundamental feature of liberals and conservatives.

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