Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday and reaffirmed what was already coming into focus: That there is absolutely no evidence that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to alter the 2016 election.
“Let me state this clearly: I have never met with or had any conversations with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election,” Sessions said under oath. “Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign. I was your colleague in this body for 20 years, and the suggestion that I participated in any collusion or that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country, which I have served with honor for over 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie.”
What’s more, even Democrats seem to understand that the investigation they once thought of as a juicy political steak that they could bite into with gusto is just a big nothingburger. In his questioning of Sessions, Sen. Tom Cotton pointed out that Democrats’ hopes of scandal were running on fumes.
“A very simple question that should be asked is did Donald Trump or any of his associates in the campaign collude with Russia in hacking those emails and releasing them to the public?” Cotton asked. “That’s where we started six months ago. We have now heard from six of the eight Democrats on this committee, and to my knowledge, I don’t think a single one of them asked that question. They’ve gone down lots of other rabbit trails, but not that question.”
“Maybe that is because when Jim Comey said last week, as he said to Donald Trump that three times— that on three times—he assured him he was not under investigation,” Cotton continued. “Maybe it’s because multiple Democrats on this committee have stated that they have seen no evidence, thus far, after six months of our investigation and ten — or eleven months — of the FBI investigation of any such collusion.”
Not just that but Comey testified that President Trump agreed with the notion that it would “be great if we could have an investigation, all the facts came out, and we found nothing.” Indeed, Comey testified that the president “went further than that,” pushing the FBI to find out “if some of my satellites did something wrong.”
That’s not the picture of a president who is concerned about being caught red-handed, it’s the sign of a president who wants to get things cleared up as quickly as possible so he can get to work on his agenda without a cloud of suspicion following him everywhere.
And don’t forget last month’s testimony from former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, who when asked whether it was true that there was no evidence of “collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians,” he responded “it is.”
“We did not include any evidence in our report, and I say, ‘our,’ that’s NSA, FBI and CIA, with my office, the Director of National Intelligence, that had anything, that had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians,” Clapper later told NBC News’ Chuck Todd. “There was no evidence of that included in our report.”
So what exactly are we doing here?
Neither the sitting Attorney General, nor the fired FBI Director (who had every incentive to throw Trump under the bus), nor the former director of national intelligence (not exactly a Trump loyalist) has presented any shred of evidence to suggest a conspiracy between President Trump and the Russian government. In fact, they’ve actively denied that any evidence exists and argued that President Trump has demonstrated a desire to get to the bottom of the ordeal.
Democrats, on the other hand, appear to be reveling in the cloud of uncertainty and innuendo that is surrounding the president and preventing any movement of his agenda. As David French writes in National Review, this should be about the search for truth, not some attempt to discredit a president or delay his policies.
“Truth is truth, and it’s important for responsible people to not just understand and respond to actual evidence – no matter where it leads – but also acknowledge its absence. And so far the absence of evidence points to Trump’s innocence of some of the worst allegations ever leveled against an American president or his senior team.”
Unfortunately, truth isn’t the goal here. Answers in general aren’t even the goal. The Democrats appear happy to just ask questions.