But despite lots of searching, no evidence of that collusion has turned up.
Now Democratic officials are trying to tamp down expectations from the rank and file, many of whom are convinced that exposing the Russian connection will bring Trump down.
Even former intelligence officials from the Obama administration are admitting that there is nothing there. Democrats on the congressional committees investigating the possibility are also saying they have found nothing.
But they fear their base.
When Barack Obama took office, conspiracy theories abounded, conservative pundits kept everything at a fever pitch, and Tea Party activists vowed to hold Republican officeholders’ feet to the fire if they co-operated with the new president.
We are now experiencing the mirror image of those times, with liberals doing what conservatives once did.
Glenn Greenwald tells the tale after the jump.
UPDATE: Not that the issue is dead. FBI director James Comey has just told a congressional committee that the FBI is investigating the matter.
From Glenn Greenwald, Key Democratic Officials Now Warning Base Not to Expect Evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion, The Intercept:
FROM MSNBC POLITICS shows to town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues. This fixation has persisted even though it has no chance to sink the Trump presidency unless it is proven that high levels of the Trump campaign actively colluded with the Kremlin to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. election — a claim for which absolutely no evidence has thus far been presented.
The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies — just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected — that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed.
Key Democratic officials are clearly worried about the expectations that have been purposely stoked and are now trying to tamp them down. Many of them have tried to signal that the beliefs the base has been led to adopt have no basis in reason or evidence. . . .
Perhaps most revealing of all are the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee — charged with investigating these matters — who recently told BuzzFeed how petrified they are of what the Democratic base will do if they do not find evidence of collusion, as they now suspect will likely be the case. “There’s a tangible frustration over what one official called ‘wildly inflated’ expectations surrounding the panel’s fledgling investigation,” BuzzFeed’s Ali Watkins wrote.
Moreover, “several committee sources grudgingly say, it feels as though the investigation will be seen as a sham if the Senate doesn’t find a silver bullet connecting Trump and Russian intelligence operatives.” One member told Watkins: “I don’t think the conclusions are going to meet people’s expectations.”
Photo by torbakhopper, Flickr, Creative Commons License.