It’s been a rough year for Republican conspiracy theories. Donald Trump was all excited, for example, about Sen. Mark Warner’s (D-Va.) texts with D.C. lawyer Adam Waldman, before the allegations completely fell apart. Trump was similarly worked up about the idea that Barack Obama intervened in the FBI’s Hillary Clinton probe, before that too was completely discredited.
For a short while, Republicans even had high hopes for the “Nunes memo,” though the stunt clearly didn’t work out well.
And then there’s the Uranium One story, which has never made any sense, but which assorted GOP partisans have embraced as proof of … something. The Washington Post’s Paul Waldman yesterday highlighted a document released by congressional Democrats that “pretty much demolishes” the Republicans’ push.
To push along the Uranium One “scandal,” last fall Republicans said they had explosive new evidence from a confidential informant named William Douglas Campbell, a lobbyist who had worked with Russian companies and who was secretly working for the FBI, claiming that the Russians had funneled money to the Clintons to get the Uranium One deal approved. […]
The Democratic memo, however, makes clear that if Republicans think Campbell is going to blow the lid off this whole conspiracy, they’re sadly mistaken. The memo summarizes what happened when Campbell – and, separately, officials from the Justice Department – were interviewed by GOP and Democratic members of the three congressional committees. The upshot: Campbell appears to have no evidence of such a conspiracy to offer, and he’s also an unreliable witness.
Waldman fleshed this out in great detail, but long story short: the blockbuster GOP witness was a dud. Among other things, Campbell never even made “any allegation of corruption, illegality, or impropriety on Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, President Clinton, the Uranium One deal, or CFIUS.”
Remember, for quite a while, Republicans pointed to this guy as the basis for a new special counsel who would investigate the Clintons.
And yet, there was Donald Trump in the fall, arguing via Twitter, “Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn’t want to follow!”
Over the summer, the president declared, “When I make a statement, I like to be correct. I want the facts… Before I make a statement, I need the facts.” More recently, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Trump “believes in making sure that information is accurate before pushing it out as fact.”
As for the road ahead, the Washington Post reported in December, “Attorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns — including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia — and has directed senior federal prosecutors to explore at least some of the matters and report back to him and his top deputy.”
Will the attorney general be able to resist the pressure and acknowledge reality now that the GOP’s story has collapsed?