Special counsel Robert Mueller concluded there was no conspiracy with Russia to hijack the 2016 election, but the investigation did have an impact on another election.
It was the 2018 election, in which Democrats regained control of the House amid the belief by many voters that the opposition party needed to hold accountable a treasonous Republican president, points out reporter investigative John Solomon in an opinion column for The Hill,
With more than 530,000 stories published online about the probe, the “earned media impact of that negative coverage likely would have cost billions of dollars if a Democratic candidate had tried to buy such coverage,” Solomon writes.
Amid the “Impeach Trump” machine fueled by Democrats and the media, more than three dozen Republican incumbents in Congress announced they were retiring in 2018, “leaving the GOP with a gaping hole in the House that Democrats exploited.”
Solomon notes that polls showed the Russia coverage impacted voters, with more than half believing Trump or his aides had colluded with Russia.
“It is the most compelling proof in a long time that false information repeated long enough becomes truth for many people.”
The real Russia conspiracy
Solomon’s reporting has helped uncover what Republican leaders all along have been calling the real Russia conspiracy: the Democrats’ funding of an unverified, anti-Trump “dossier” based on Russian propaganda that was used to obtain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign.
The author of the dossier, former British spy Christopher Steele, took his information to the FBI and senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, Solomon writes, “to interject it into law enforcement circles and make it a criminal matter.”
To augment the dossier, the Clinton campaign commissioned a Democratic operative to work with Ukraine’s embassy in Washington to research Trump’s Russia ties. In addition, a Ukrainian lawmaker fed information to Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm hired by Democrats to create the dossier.
Solomon points out that “if the FBI probe ran with the secrecy of a normal counterintelligence operation, Americans never would have heard all of this, especially when the core allegations — in the Steele dossier — turned out to be bogus.”
“But the FBI, Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson, Steele, U.S. intelligence officials and lawmakers briefed in Congress all leaked various details to the news media, creating a furor unseen since Watergate,” he writes.
“The only difference is, Watergate involved proven crimes by a president and the Russia-collusion narrative ultimately did not.”