When it comes to the Russian-Trump collusion "smoke" we keep hearing about, one thing has become crystal clear: there isn't any smoke, there isn't any fire, and this nothingburger isn't even worth lighting a match for.
This "scandal" has been the major topic of press attention since Election Day last year.
Yet, no one has provided one scintilla of evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians in hacking or otherwise interfering in the U.S. election.
No evidence. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
Consider that we've had Obama's own Director of National Intelligence James Clapper tell "Meet the Press" there is "no evidence" of collusion.
With two congressional inquiries and an FBI probe underway over the last 6 months — not to mention dozens of voracious media organizations like The New York Times and Washington Post frequently reporting leaks of convenience — nobody has unearthed any evidence that Russians at any level worked with the Trump campaign.
When President Trump responds to this madness, he's declared "crazy," "paranoid," and even "obsessed."
With so many false reports and innuendo being placed in the public sphere, let's review key points the fair-minded person should consider:
1. To repeat, no one has provided any evidence the Trump campaign worked with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton.
The closest they come is that the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak showed up at the Republican convention last year in Cleveland and rubbed shoulders with party big-wigs.
The media reports conveniently forget to mention the Obama State Dept. organized the effort to have diplomats like Kislyak attend the convention.
2. There is no question the Russians tried to interfere in the U.S. election.
3. This interference took place during Obama's watch.
Obama did little to stop it. Putin took these actions with impunity because he viewed the Obama administration as weak. Putin saw this weakness first hand when he invaded Crimea and Obama slapped him on the wrist.
It was only after Trump was elected did the Obama administration raise the temperature against the Russians over the interference.
4. The Obama administration took the unusual step of "unmasking" the identities of Americans, including people close to Trump, discovered in classified NSA and intelligence intercepts.
Still, this highly questionable action found no evidence of collusion.
5. There is no evidence the Russian interference changed the election outcome or helped Trump.
In fact, Russia's involvement may have actually hurt Trump.
Any review of the election results shows Hillary not only won the popular vote, she actually outperformed Obama's 2012 result in many states, including Blue States like California (she won by over 4 million votes, Obama beat Romney by just 2 million) and Red States like Texas (Hillary cut Obama's loss of 16 points almost in half to 9).
6. Trump won the election fairly and squarely.
He studied the rules, grasped the critical importance of the Electoral College and out-campaigned Hillary in key states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Remember, Hillary did not even campaign in Wisconsin during the general election.
7. Trump faced a brutal campaign onslaught.
Liberal media savaged him with billions of free, earned media for Hillary's campaign.
Additionally, Hillary and her allies raised $1.2 billion and outspent Trump by over $600 million. (Trump only raised $258 million through Joint Fundraising from the RNC, less than half of what the DNC raised for Hillary.)
8. Trump's election last November was greeted by immediate protests denying his legitimacy, and some Democrats even called for his impeachment before he took the oath of office.
9. A federal investigation that began simply as a "counter-intelligence" probe has morphed into a sprawling inquiry of Trump's advisers.
Unable to find evidence of collusion, this probe is reportedly looking at the advisers' activities completely unrelated to the "collusion" claim and largely for activities after the election.
For example, Gen. Michael Flynn is said to have received payments from Turkey that he did not disclose.
And Trump's son-in-law had several business contacts with Russians after the election, which by itself is not improper. The FBI is said to be looking at Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort for his dealings in the Ukraine well before Trump ran for office.
So what is this all about?
10. There has never been any evidence that President Trump or the White House sought to obstruct justice or close down any Congressional or federal investigation.
By virtue of the investigations continuing, the president is actually cooperating with these probes.
11. Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, which was his prerogative.
Comey never complained during his tenure that Trump was seeking to obstruct justice. After being fired, Comey declined to tell Congress Trump had obstructed justice.
12. The FBI Director did admit that rather than bring his concerns to the attention of the Attorney General or Congress, he wrote memos-to-file of his private conversations with the president.
Comey admitted to Congress he leaked at least one of these memos to The New York Times, a serious breach of presidential executive privilege and ethics.
These are just some of the matters that can help guide the perplexed about the so-called Russian-Trump collusion story.
Meanwhile, the president has been the target of leaks by government insiders of his highly-classified conversations with world leaders.
The Justice Dept. appears to be taking a lackadaisical approach to finding the perpetrators.
Then there's Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's probe which grows by the day, as new heavyweight prosecutors join his team.
In fact, just this week Mueller added Elizabeth Prelogar, a Harvard law grad who clerked for Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan and is fluent in Russian.
The president is right to be worried about an investigation that was created with no evidence of a crime. Apparently finding no evidence, it is careening into other areas as it seeks to justify its own existence.
Christopher Ruddy is CEO of Newsmax Media, Inc., one of the country's leading conservative news outlets. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.
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