It's been amazing to watch Trump supporter convince themselves that Robert Mueller's months-long investigation has been actually been about Hillary Clinton colluding with Russia all along. It's propaganda at its most effective and a sign of just how easy to manipulate the Republican base has become.
Once we understood that not only had Russia attacked us and that the Trump campaign had colluded with them but that they had been extremely sloppy about covering it up, we knew it was just a matter of time until the indictments started coming down. The right has dealt with this in a couple of ways. First, the right wing media has done everything possible to avoid talking about it. When they do, they make it seem like a silly conspiracy theory made up by the Democrats to explain why they lost the 2016 election. Keeping Republican voters as ignorant as possible is official policy for Fox News, AM Hate Radio and right wing websites so that's business as usual.
This, however, has become less effective over time as the damning information linking Trump and his campaign/administration to Russia mounts. It also doesn't help that Trump himself won't shut up about the investigation and continues to sound and act like an incredibly guilty man.
Add Trump's weekend meltdown to the even more epic meltdowns of some of his closest people and you have what looks like a case of contagious panic. This is not how innocent people act.
Second, the online trolls have been hard at work throwing every lie they can at Mueller to see what sticks. This has been an exercise in frustration for them because Mueller is not a publicity hound in the slightest, making it impossible to take his comments out of context (a perennial favorite tactic of the right). His career is also unmarked by scandal or partisanship making character assassination difficult. They've been reduced to screaming for Trump to fire him because something something he's a meanie.
Not exactly a convincing argument.
Third, and so far the most successful, has been the coordinated resurrection of the Uranium One "scandal" by the House GOP and Fox News. Skip over the part where Fox is literally acting as state run propaganda and look at the effect it's had on Trump's supporters. They are now convinced that Hillary Clinton took a $141 million "bribe" when she wasn't Secretary of State from a man who didn't benefit from an action she took years later when she was.
Joy Ann Reid breaks down just how ridiculous the entire story is:
None of that matters, of course, because Fox, AM Hate Radio, right wing websites and Republicans have been lying about it nonstop for over a week now, just in time for Mueller's first set of indictments to come through. Clearly, that's just a coincidence. Just kidding, this is an incredibly cynical and transparent ploy from the right to create a "both sides" narrative for the country and the press to swallow hook, line, and sinker.
But there's a few problems with it.
The trouble with conspiracies is that the larger they are, they exponentially more difficult they become to conceal. This is why I can smugly dismiss the Uranium One conspiracy with so much confidence. They were so many people involved across so many government agencies and Hillary has so many enemies that it is literally inconceivable that no one would have Wikileaked all the damning evidence already. And if she were so smart and so ruthless that she could cover it all up, she wouldn't have lost to a clown like Trump in the first place.
On the other hand, with a conspiracy as large and with as many moving parts as Trump-Russia, you would expect to find dozens, if not hundreds, of little threads to pull that will unravel the entire thing. Unsurprisingly, that's exactly what's happening which is why the right is going to such lengths to manufacture an opposing "scandal". There's not just massive clouds of thick smoke coming from Trump-Russia, the embers are landing on the roof and you can see the glow of the fire just over the hill.
Another problem is that the Uranium One story just isn't that interesting. Sure, when Fox screams "Treason! Hillary sold uranium to the Russians!" it sounds sexy, but even the most basic details are boring as hell. It was crappy low grade uranium, useless for weapons. The uranium is being mined in the United States, if anyone bothers mining it (low-grade, remember?), and it can't be exported out of the country. So Hillary sold crappy uranium to Russia that has to stay here? Clearly, we have to lock her up for this egregious betrayal of America! Execution is definitely in the cards!
"If this had happened in the 1950s, there would be people up on treason charges right now. The Rosenbergs, okay? This is equivalent to what the Rosenbergs did, and those people got the chair. Think about it. Giving away nuclear capability to our enemies, that's what we're talking about," Gorka told Fox News's Sean Hannity.
I guarantee that if an intern had whispered in his ear that the uranium was not allowed to leave the country, he would have said exactly the same thing. Why? Because this entire story is a distraction now that Mueller is having people arrested and they're going to need it.
Whenever Trump feels threatened, he attacks and resorts to legally dubious maneuvers to solve his problem. His next move is to have Mueller fired, the exact kind of abuse of power that ended Nixon's presidency. It will put Republicans in the impossible position of explaining why it was necessary to force Nixon out but not Trump.
With the Uranium One "scandal" on hand, the theory goes, Republicans can whip up enough confusion and outrage on the right to ride out the controversy. It's not clear that a half-baked scandal based on Clinton Derangement Syndrome will be enough smoke and mirrors to protect Trump but it's all they've got now. Going by the simplemindedness of Trump and his followers, it just might be:
The right is so muddled and detached from anything resembling reality, they can't even decide if Mueller is secretly investigating Hillary or if he should be fired for investigating Trump.
One thing is very clear, though, Republicans are playing a very dangerous game here. If Mueller's investigation does end up taking down Trump or forcing Republicans to oust him, the right is going to react with extreme violence to what they perceive as an illegitimate coup after being sold a pack of lies about how it was all nonsense until it blew up in their faces.
Then again, once they're voted out of power next year, that may be exactly what they're hoping for.
There are 7 days left to the the 2017 elections.
There are 372 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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