The Corner

Books

Kudos, Andy, for Ball of Collusion

Andrew C. McCarthy testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on the Mueller Report (C-SPAN)

Today is the official publication date for Andy McCarthy’s long-anticipated, meaty, wise must-have: Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency. We offer kudos to our colleague. What an undertaking. The product of Andy’s relentless toil is a detailed, dot-connecting, intricacies-explaining, unvarnished analysis of a dark chapter in American history. Order your copy from Encounter Books (the publisher) at the link just provided, or get in the car and drive over to your local bookstore, where starting today you can grab a copy. 

Need your whistle whetted? Here’s how the book’s introduction commences:

This is a story about hubris. Sure, there’s plenty of collusion. But hubris is the more fitting word. This is a story about what happens when those we trust to be the guardians of our system anoint themselves the masters of our system. For our own good, of course. 

As for collusion, that word we’ve heard so incessantly from pundits and leaky government officials, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has rendered his judgment that there was none—at least, not the collusion he was hunting for. There really was a collusion plot, though. And it really did target our election system. It absolutely sought to usurp our capacity for self-determination. It was just not the collusion you’ve been told about. It was not “Donald Trump’s collusion with Russia.” 

Here is the real collusion scheme: in 2016, the incumbent Democratic administration of President Barack Obama put the awesome powers of the United States government’s law-enforcement and intelligence apparatus in the service of the Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign, the Democratic party, and the progressive Beltway establishment. This scheme had two parts: Plan A, the objective; and Plan B, a fail-safe strategy in case Plan A imploded—which all the smartest people were supremely confident would never, ever happen . . . which is why you could bet the ranch that it would. 

Plan A was to get Mrs. Clinton elected president of the United States. This required exonerating her, at least ostensibly, from well-founded allegations that were both felonious and politically disqualifying. 

Plan B was the insurance policy: An investigation that Donald Trump, in the highly unlikely event he were elected, would be powerless to shut down. An investigation that would simultaneously monitor and taint him. An investigation that internalized Clinton campaign– generated opposition research, limning Trump and his campaign as complicit in Russian espionage. An investigation that would hunt for a crime under the guise of counterintelligence, build an impeachment case under the guise of hunting for a crime, and seek to make Trump un-re-electable under the guise of building an impeachment case.

And here’s another slice of McCarthy wisdom, reporting, and informed analysis from the introduction: 

This book contends that the Obama administration, abetted by Washington’s politically progressive order, exploited its control of law-enforcement and intelligence agencies to help Clinton and undermine Trump. This was a scandalous abuse of power. That’s bad enough. There is no need to hyperbolize what happened into a deep state coup, or to trivialize what life in an authoritarian society with a real deep state is like. Let’s not forget: Trump is president. The officials who politicized their law-enforcement and intelligence duties have been removed, whether by dismissal or in the ordinary transition of power from one administration to the next. Trump’s political opponents would be delighted to remove him from office, but as a practical matter, that is a pipe dream. They will have to content themselves with a democratic election, and the result will stand regardless of how the political establishment feels about it. 

Now that the special prosecutor has delivered his report, can we say the collusion narrative was a “hoax”? Many do, as does the president. There is a lot to be said for this assessment, particularly insofar as it relates to the essential allegation: a Trump–Russia cyberespionage conspiracy to “steal the election.” There has never been any real evidence of this, just the sometimes lurid, sometimes laughable innuendo known as the “Steele dossier,” a slapdash collection of “intelligence” reporting, crafted by a former British spy and his former journalist partners, the anti-Trump partisans Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson, whose work was commissioned by the Clinton campaign. 

The standard dictionary definition of hoax is “something accepted or established by fraud or fabrication.” A traitorous calumny largely based on fabricated intelligence fits that bill. Nevertheless, the word “hoax” is carrying a lot of freight in Trump World—a clean bill of health in which any hint that conduct was objectionable, that Russia ties were unsavory, is ridiculed as a #NeverTrump hallucination. I think one should be able to see the president as exonerated on a libelous allegation that smacked of treason without sticking one’s head in the sand about his strange ingratiation of Putin; about the seamy dots connecting Kremlin cronies to Trump campaign officials and business partners; and about the fact that the Putin regime did offer, and the Trump campaign did eagerly hope to receive, campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton. The latter “collusion” did not rise to the level of a criminal agreement. But the facts that it was not consummated, and that Putin may very well have been playing Trump, do not erase the collaboration. That is why collusion is a weasel word that should not be confounded, or used interchangeably, with conspiracy

Here’s what matters in our democratic republic: Trump’s blandishments toward Russia were not hidden from voters. Ties between the Trump and Putin orbits were not merely covered by the media; they were given a criminally corrupt spin, one that the evidence has not borne out. The problem for Clinton was that Russia was simply not a salient issue in the campaign. That is not easy for us to remember after two years of Democrat-media Russo-mania. In the event, however, Russia barely registered, not just because other issues were weightier but because raising it would have been counterproductive for Democrats.

The book’s Amazon link is here. Get it. After all America has just been through, you really can’t not have it. 

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