The Russian Bombshell That Bombed: Behold the Master Conspirator
By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., The Wall Street Journal
It was the bombshell that bombed. The Washington Post reported last week that a Trump campaign adviser, in the middle of last year’s election campaign, had indeed been singled out by the FBI for surveillance as a potential Russian agent.
Unfortunately for the conspiracy theorists, it was Carter Page, the Walter Mitty of Trump world.
Far be it from me to suggest the FBI was just looking for an easy way to fob off Obama administration pressure to validate its Trump-Russia talking points. Mr. Page had been the target four years earlier of a sad little recruitment effort by Russian spies in New York, who eventually were prosecuted and whose monitored communications referred to Mr. Page as an “idiot.”
He later gave an incoherent speech in Moscow in the middle of the campaign decrying U.S. sanctions. Most of all, he was singularly devoid of influence with either Donald Trump or the Russians, though perhaps not the least likely contender to say something foolish on a “wiretap.”
Most media accounts take for granted his self-description as a player in Russian energy deals, but a lengthy Politico investigation as far back as September found that “nobody in Russia seems to have heard of him.”
So this is the man the FBI selected as the most likely spy in the Trump midst. Which explains a lot—like the deafening silence last week of media organs that so recently had been wetting themselves over tenuous Trump-Russia theories.
Silent was the New York Times columnist who a couple weeks ago jabbered about a “smell of treason.”
Silent was House Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Adam Schiff, who not long earlier had noisily detected “circumstantial evidence” and “more than circumstantial evidence” of a Trump-Kremlin conspiracy.
But then a lot of pundits and others have lately demonstrated their inability to reason about evidence or even understand what is truly a “coincidence” in the sense of an unlikely confluence of events. The only really interesting evidence has now been debunked by Byron York of the Washington Examiner, who shows that the claim that the Trump forces had weakened a GOP platform critique of Russian actions in Ukraine was simply misinformed.