A Curious Absence of Curiosity

Why aren’t my Democrat friends and relatives even slightly curious about the origins and purpose of the Trump/Russia collusion hoax? Now that it should be clear to all that there never was any genuine evidence of traitorous wrongdoing by the Trump campaign, shouldn’t we all wonder whether prominent members of the Obama Administration cooked the whole thing up to cover their tracks? 

Admittedly, it’s still possible that there’s an innocent explanation for Comey’s FBI having tried to entrap George Papadopoulos and misled the FISA courts with the (actually Russian-sourced and Clinton bought-and-paid-for “Steele Dossier”) in order to get authorization to spy on the Trump campaign. 

Maybe they thought Trump was really, really icky. And, indeed, perhaps he was – and still is, in the minds of the bien pensant – icky, but wasn’t that judgment more properly left to the voters? After all, spying on US citizens, let alone a rival campaign, is only supposed to be allowed by a FISA court where there is proof that a crime has taken place. (And, FWIW, the same goes for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor – a predicate that was clearly not met in this instance). And when is intentional government entrapment of US citizens ok? 

Maybe there is an innocent explanation for the Trump/Russia hoax and the two year witch hunt that followed; I just can’t think what it might be. To me, it looks like an enterprise that was both wholly partisan and, in its inception, probably criminal. 

Now that Herr Mueller (a man worthy of being called that because of the Gestapo-like tactics he used to squeeze a guilty plea – for allegedly having lied to the FBI, which manifestly misled him – from the well-meaning but eminently bankruptable General Flynn, in the hopes of getting something, anything, he could pin on Trump) has admitted that his hunt was for a Great White Whale that didn’t exist, Democrats and the media have pivoted to the theory that the President might have obstructed justice by having fired Comey. This idea has always been ridiculous: it’s like positing that a man who has been accused of a murder that wasn’t committed obstructs justice by insisting that there was no murder. 

And besides, among Comey’s many charms he is liar, an admitted leaker and the guy who was actively misleading the President and the Congressional oversight committee about the investigation at the time when he was fired. Oh, yes, and he had improperly asserted authority that he did not have to intervene in and determine the outcome of the Clinton email investigation. Apart from all that, and his astounding sanctimoniousness, I’m sure he’s a swell guy, perfect for, say, a job as a commentator on CNN – just not for running the FBI.

Shouldn’t we all – Republicans and Democrats alike – be more than a little concerned about powerful, secretive agencies like the FBI, the CIA and the NSA going rogue? Senator Schumer gave the game away quite early in the new Administration when he said that Trump should be careful about irritating the “intelligence” community because it would have many ways to get back at him. Really? Do we want to live in a country where our President should fear the secret machinations of self-serving agencies within the Executive Branch? Apparently, Senator Schumer is comfortable with that idea – at least when a Republican is in office – but I am not. Nor should anybody be who is concerned about our civil liberties. 

Given the rabid partisanship on both sides in Washington right now, and the intense dislike of President Trump by Democrats and the media, I can sorta, kinda understand why so many were duped by the noise around the investigation. The media, the most partisan Democrats  and Tom Steyer quite simply wanted the story that we were being fed by leakers of false and defamatory stories in the “intelligence” community to be true. (Those leakers had their own motives, which we’ll learn by and by if justice is done). They would rather have learned that our duly elected President was a criminal and  – in Clapper’s words – a traitor, than live with the results of an election that didn’t go their way.

But what I can’t understand is why, now that the Trump/Russia narrative has blown up, the same people show no curiosity at all about how this whole horror show got started. The New York Times and The Washington Post cling to shards of evidence of possible Trump improprieties (now that crimes are off the table) and avert their eyes entirely from the alternative possibility: that the Trump Administration was the victim, rather than the perpetrator, of serious crimes. 

Do they simply not care that it’s at least possible (and, in my eyes, quite likely) that in their eagerness to curry favor with the Clinton II Administration that they all believed was coming, rabidly partisan Democrats within the Obama Administration ran roughshod over the laws that are supposed to keep our land from becoming a police state? Does misusing the government’s awesome powers only matter if it’s done against Democrats? If CNN and MSNBC, or The Times and The Post, are your only sources of information, the answer seems to be yes.

Which is a sad comment on respect for the rule of law in the highest reaches of America’s public culture. 

M.H. Johnston

11 comments to A Curious Absence of Curiosity

  • Anonymous  says:

    Great piece. So you are saying that if it has been definitively shown that there was no collusion – despite the Russian temptresses — than how did this whole thing get started in the first place? What was the genesis of the investigation? I am curious but perhaps your other readers and the pundits to whom you refer aren’t. Sad.

  • John Trafton  says:

    Etiology. The shingles on the roof of the house of “Collusion” were tacked into place while the foundation of the structure was subcontracted to a bunch of Lego twiddlers

  • Dennis Paine  says:

    Excellent analysis, Mark.
    Thank you.

    • Anonymous  says:


      We all have waited two years for this Muller report to prove our case. Interesting that you spent not even even two minutes to read any of the report before you made comments and summations.

      I beg you and others who replied to your comments to read at least the first one hundred pages of the Muller
      Report then readdress the topic. It is a real shame that Mark Johnston a man that I once had such respect for regarding his political wisdom could make such extreme comments without ever reading the report. I only had time to read the first one hundred pages too bad you didn’t read anything before you made such comments

      Your democratic friend who is interested

      • M Johnston  says:

        It was, of course, an intentional insult to the Mueller Report – and his investigation generally – that I posted the above just before his magnum opus was published. I am not particularly interested in Mueller’s opinions about the President’s character or judgments; I have seen enough of them to make my own opinions. Mr. Mueller provided a public service by acknowledging that he had found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians; in my view that was his job if he had any proper job at all. That Mueller spent two years trying to pressure Trump associates to testify falsely that such collusion had taken place, and pursuing the absurd idea that Trump could be charged with obstructing “justice” on a crime that Trump knew had never taken place tells me all that I need to know about Mueller. He was on a mission to defend the FBI and his friend Comey – and to entrap Trump if he could. I have no respect for him or his methods, and his political opinions and character judgments carry no weight whatsoever with me.

        Did the Russians interfere in our elections? Of course. Was Trump to blame for that? No.

        End. Of. Story.

        Except insofar as bureaucrats in the “intelligence” services abused their authorities and broke the law to pursue partisan and personal advantage. We’ll be learning a great deal more about that in the coming months, I’ll wager.

        And finally, you may have lost respect for my political sagacity, but it turns out that (like many others) I was quite right in guessing that the Trump/Russia ploy was totally without foundation.

  • A devoted follower  says:

    The one thing the exposition of the Mueller Report has proved is that it will have virtually no effect on what either side in this drama thinks. The Sean Hannitys will continue to see white and the Rachel Maddows will continue to see black.

    • Anonymous  says:


      Would you please do me a personal favor and read the Muller report. To discredit Robert Muller and call the goverment report a hoax is like someone responding to any comments they don’t like as “Fake News”

      As a dear and respected friend for more than twenty years indulge me. Read it then comment.

      Richard M Schaps

      • M Johnston  says:

        I didn’t refer to the report as a hoax; I referred to the Trump/Russia collusion allegations as a hoax. I believe that characterization was fully justified given that a) the allegation never made any sense and b) two years of investigation uncovered zero evidence to back it up. I believe that the investigation was initiated by the just-fired Comey – who hoped that his predecessor and friend Mueller would be appointed as Special Prosecutor – both to hobble (and potentially end) the Trump presidency and to cover the fact that he (Comey) and his people had been improperly and possibly illegally spying on Trump. I believe all of that, but don’t know it, and expect the facts to emerge with time. Also – as I have repeatedly written – I think the obstruction allegation was ridiculous from the get-go. Accordingly, I think that the fact that Mueller dragged the investigation out for two years, and subjected the Administration to innumerable calumnies while bullying nobodies like Page and Papadopoulos is a travesty. Hence, I place little to no stock in Mueller’s attempt to justify his behavior.

        All of that having been written, out of respect to our friendship I will subject myself to reading the report, while fully believing that at this point Mueller’s opinions count for little.

  • Ronald Davenport  says:

    I’m not curious about the origins of the “hoax” because I don’t believe that it was a hoax. Frankly, it would be dereliction of duty for the FBI not to investigate any political campaign: with numerous contacts with a hostile foreign adversary; that changed a convention plank in support of this adversary for no apparent reason; that openly welcomed, encouraged and supported this adversary’s help in getting elected despite being warned about the adversary’s attempt to influence the campaign; that destroyed email conversations involving members of the campaign and this foreign adversary; and that lied about the existence of any contacts between members of the campaign and this foreign adversary. And while there may not have been any “collusion” with the “Russian government,” there certainly were discussions and coordination between “Russians” and the Trump campaign to help the Trump campaign. Sharing of polling data is collusion — period — even though it may not rise to the level of an explicit “conspiracy” between a foreign “government” and the Trump campaign that is provable beyond a reasonable doubt.
    While we can all agree that President Trump was duly elected and is our president, it is sad that we can’t agree that the motives and intent of anyone encouraging, benefiting from and lying about help from a foreign adversary to attain the presidency should not be questioned.

    • M Johnston  says:

      We’re going to have a lot to disagree agreeably about next time we have a chance to get together over a meal, a beer or both. It’ll be fun.

  • Ronald R Davenport  says:

    Yes, it will be a lot of fun — looking forward to it!

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