For over two years, the investigation into Trump-Russia collusion has dominated the 24-hour news cycle, and transfixed millions of Americans. The Democrats have been eager to focus on this investigation as a way to distract from their own political bankruptcy and total subordination to corporate interests. Now, the investigation has concluded without finding any evidence of collusion.
For the past two years, the Democratic Party has engaged in a major political spectacle as it aggressively pushed the narrative that the Russian government interfered in the U.S. “democracy” by secretly colluding with Donald Trump to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. The corporate media has helped the Democratic Party promote this narrative, and many liberals have eagerly accepted it as fact. During this time, anti-Russia paranoia flared as President Vladimir Putin has been framed by U.S. liberals as a scapegoat for all the problems in the country, including the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election. Meanwhile elements of the U.S. state apparatus, including the reactionary FBI, Special Counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller, and others have been hailed as heroic “defenders of democracy,” the only ones capable of getting Trump impeached and removed from office to satisfy liberals’ desire to return to a pre-Trump status-quo.
However in March of this year the long and drawn out process of the two year investigation finally concluded when Mueller presented his findings to Attorney General William Barr. According to the report presented, the investigation, which employed “19 lawyers who were assisted by a team of approximately 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff” found no actual evidence that the Russian state colluded with the Trump Campaign to undermine American so-called democracy and install Donald Trump into the office of the U.S. presidency.
However, the report claimed that “The Special Counsel’s investigation determined that there were two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election” involving supposed “disinformation” tactics designed to promote “political propaganda” and “computer hacking operations designed to gather and disseminate information to influence the election.” The evidence supporting these claims is shaky at best, and the media coverage of them has amounted to little more than scaremongering designed to maintain and expand anti-Russia paranoia and push for a future war between these rival imperialist powers. The drive towards war reflects the competition between the corrupt billionaires, oligarchs, and enemies of the people that comprise the ruling classes of both Russia and the U.S. These wealthy elites are our true enemies, not the Russian people, and in a war between the U.S. and Russia, the people of both countries will inevitably lose even if one country does beat the other.
In the wake of the publication of the report Trump himself was all too eager to trumpet his “innocence” of having colluded with the Russian state; however, during the investigation, actual wrongdoing on the part of select ruling elites was indeed exposed. The report presented to Barr and released shortly thereafter still accused the U.S. president of “obstruction of justice” for moving to slow down the investigation that threatened the Trump government’s legitimacy, with the report itself stating that it “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Furthermore, at least 37 people were indicted, including Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort and lawyer Michael Cohen for financial fraud—charges that are not related to Russian collusion but are emblematic of the corruption inherent in the ruling class. Indeed, at the time of writing several further investigations of various Trump cronies are ongoing.
With coverage of the Mueller investigation taking the form of a reality-tv show, Trump seems to imagine himself as the hero of a fantasy epic.
Much of this drama initially began when in 2016, several emails stolen by at least one anonymous hacker from the Democratic National Committee were published by WikiLeaks. The emails described the Democratic Party’s internal efforts to sabotage the Bernie Sanders campaign and advance Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Nominee in a power grab. The ruling elite of this country saw the relatively minor social democratic reforms that Sanders promoted as a major threat to their bottom line, and colluded to stop him from winning the nomination. When these emails were leaked, Clinton herself and many other Democratic Party members were quick to claim that some of the emails published were false and that the hackers were Russian military operatives seeking to aid Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. This was an obvious and successful effort to distract liberal voters from the content of the emails themselves and get them to focus their attention onto a supposed attack on American “democracy,” which paved the way for more potential anti-Russian hysteria.
Meanwhile, counterintelligence work by the U.S. state was well underway even before the 2016 U.S. presidential election had ended. The investigation into Trump-Russia collusion began as one such operation and the United States Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed a special counsel to take it over. That investigation determined that a Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, had claimed in a meeting with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer that “Russian officials” had possessed “damaging information” pertaining to then candidate Hillary Clinton.
Papadopoulos would later allege that he was setup by the FBI and Clinton supporters. While this claim is somewhat suspect, it does seem that the man who initially told him about the “Russian dirt on Clinton,” was Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, who is a member of the Clinton Foundation.1 The FBI did also have a spy working on the Trump campaign, Stefan Halper.2 Regardless of whether or not Papadopoulos was set up, it is clear that the Democrats wanted to promote the idea of Russian interference in the election to distract from the dirty-tricks they pulled to ensure that Hillary won the Primaries.
Other Democratic lawmakers made accusations of Russian interference and cyberwarfare directed by the Russian State as the election drew nearer. Chief among them were Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Adam B. Schiff who made declarations “based on briefings [they] received” from U.S. intelligence agencies. These agencies repeated similar claims themselves days later. This created increased paranoia about “election security” and assured liberals that if Trump were to be elected it would not be from failings in the political framework of U.S. democracy, but through nefarious foreign influence by a hostile power. This is a stark irony considering how often the U.S. has influenced politics in other countries through election “consultants” and much more direct interference through military coups to oust democratically elected leaders and install brutal puppet dictators to advance American imperialist agendas all across the globe.3
After a campaign in which he appealed to white supremacy, blatant sexism, and jingoism Donald Trump was indeed elected to the presidency. Many of his initially attempted policies such as a racist travel ban on Muslims from certain countries, as well as his entire inauguration, faced widespread opposition and mobilization from liberals and leftists alike. The Democratic and Republican ruling elite no doubt noticed these mass mobilizations. Then-U.S. senator Jeff Sessions, who had been appointed by Trump to the position of Attorney General, was pressured to recuse himself from the still ongoing investigation shortly after his ascension to his position.
On May 9th of 2017, then FBI director James Comey was dismissed by Trump. The many reasons given for Comey’s firing were contradictory and confusing. The mouthpieces of the administration tried to tell one story—such as the president being given recommendations to fire Comey—only for Trump himself to come out and state that he made the decision of his own accord. Contradictions such as this between the president and his various spokespeople served to confuse the populace and throw the government into chaos and confusion. Regardless, the ostensible intent was very clear; to relieve the pressure on the government from the investigation into Trump’s supposed “Russian collusion” and secure this administration’s legitimacy into the eyes of the masses.
Over the past two years, liberals have rushed to defend the FBI against Trump, under the delusional belief that the security agency is a friend of the people, and not a brutal tool of the ruling elite.
The exact opposite happened; on May 17th Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel on the counterintelligence investigation after further pressure, particularly from Democrat lawmakers, who were concerned with what Comey’s dismissal meant for their own “Anti-Trump” electoral agendas. As part of this, Mueller called a Grand Jury on August 3rd of 2017. This Grand Jury got to work subpoenaing documents and compelling witnesses for the next two years as they gathered more information for the Mueller investigation. What’s more, there were multiple legal teams of attorneys assembled under Mueller’s supervision. All this no doubt serves to expand the reach of the FBI and its ability to conduct surveillance in the future. The media frenzy around the investigation also helped to “rebrand” the FBI as part of “The Resistance” to Trump, while ignoring that this intelligence agency has a long and brutal history of surveilling, framing, and even murdering union organizers, civil rights activists, and revolutionaries.
What followed was a long two year investigation, with news media following each step of the investigation in a way that helped to channel the early mobilization against the Trump government into what was essentially a drawn out, televised political spectacle. Meanwhile, with liberals’ eyes glued to the reality tv-esque drama of the Mueller investigation, Trump was able to push harder for his racist border wall, and greatly expanded ICE’s ability and capacity to detain those who are suspected of being undocumented, including hundreds of children who were ripped from their families. The protests against these draconian policies were tiny compared to initial protests and mobilizations against his inauguration and Muslim ban.
A major component of the mass hysteria surrounding the alleged Russian subversion of the U.S. state was the role that various social media sites and tech companies played in “allowing” alleged Russian agents to conduct operations such as buying political advertisements and operating fake accounts to exploit existing divisions within American society and to polarize the political climate with active disinformation. As part of the general finger pointing, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter were quickly implicated.
Through COINTELPRO, the FBI played a key role in the downfall of the Black Panther Party.
Liberal politicians and news outlets alleged that a Russian firm called the Internet Research Agency bought thousands of advertisements on social media and insinuated that had sites like Facebook and Reddit been more vigilant in policing their content, Hillary Clinton might have won the election.
While social media sites and the companies that operate them are not our friends—many of the owners of these sites have allowed reactionary and even outright fascist content to thrive on their platforms—the liberal fantasy that Hillary would have won if these sites had stricter censorship policies, ignores many basic political realities. It ignores many of the pre-existing divisions, such as the long legacy of white supremacy in the United States, and inherent contradictions of the state that the American right wing—not Russia—exploited and pushed to secure their hold on power. To blame Russian interference in social networks also ignores the inherent flaws and faults of neoliberal policies and empty faux-progressive politics pushed by the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton.
The Democratic Party used Russia-gate and the role of tech companies to distract from these basic facts. Unsurprisingly, many middle-class liberals who enthusiastically supported Hillary Clinton were quick to take the bait. To do otherwise would have meant coming to grips with the way in which the Democratic Party serves the U.S. elite in their corporate plunder of this country and the world. Under the guise of protecting the country and “democracy” from Russian interference, the elite of this country worked with tech companies to roll out a massive censorship campaign. These companies gleefully complied with the demands of Democratic politicians to clamp down on accounts and pages—many of them which belong to leftists, radicals, Black activists, and also revolutionaries—who were dismissed as “Russian propaganda bots” because they were critical of the U.S. Google likewise has begun censoring search results to hide information critical of the United State government and the corporate elite which it serves. To justify this campaign of massive censorship, Google published an internal document titled “The Good Censor.” This is yet another example of the close collaboration between private corporations and the state in their efforts to silence criticism and suppress dissent.
Russiagate has provided a justification for massive censorship of the internet and social media by tech companies and the government.
Much of the political theater of the Mueller investigation has been a back and forth between the Democratic and Republican parties as they transparently wrestle for political control of the U.S. imperialist machine, while also jockeying for power and influence within their own parties. This convoluted political intrigue has been conducted under the guise of “protecting democracy” and “#TheResistance” against Trump while the ruling elite of this country, from both parties, continue to deprive the working poor of the country and ignore their needs.
Liberals have been quick to praise the intelligence apparatus of the U.S. state as a beacon of resistance to Trump. They hope that these agencies will remove him from office and “restore” America to the Obama era status-quo. However, throughout their history these intelligence agencies have always been reactionary tools for the ruling elite, and today they eagerly surveil revolutionaries and activists, profile Muslims, and work to destroy Black communities. Even now, many U.S. liberals in the Democratic Party are in a state of denial regarding the outcome of the Mueller investigation, much as they are in denial about Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 presidential campaign and the fact that their supposedly progressive candidates are actually bought and sold by corporate interests.
The political theater is ongoing, with Democrats now scrambling to find some new narrative to explain why the content of the Mueller Report contradicts their conspiracy theories about Trump-Russia collusion. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration has been able to pass more laws and enact policies to harm millions of people, cutting social services, slashing the already meager environmental regulations, gutting education budgets, encouraging open racist violence in the streets, and locking migrant children up at the border while the middle-class liberals, fixated on the reality television courtroom drama of the Mueller Investigation, are unwilling and unable to join in serious and effective resistance to these reactionary policies.
The elite of both Russia and the U.S. are enemies of the people of their countries, and the people of the world.
Instead they place their hopes in the intelligence agencies and the 2020 election. While the investigation has indeed exposed some of the actual excesses and outrageous corruption inherent in the ruling elite of both the United States and Russia, it should be perfectly clear by now that the Democratic Party is not trustworthy or in any way progressive.
Liberal politicians have once again proven themselves unwilling and unable to affect any meaningful, lasting social change. The Democratic Party has not mounted any semblance of meaningful “Resistance” to the Trump Regime beyond empty talk—in fact they have used Trump’s election as a pretext to silence many voices that are actually pushing for progress.
True resistance and lasting social change can only come from the mass struggle. It can only occur when the people finally decide to band together and engage in serious and sustained open revolt against the ruling elite, both Democrat and Republican, and stand with and for the oppressed working peoples both within the United States and all across the world. With the varying apparatuses and political factions of the U.S. turning on each other in a Machiavellian bid for power, the division within the American ruling class is growing and the U.S. state is mired in contradictions, providing revolutionary organizers with significant opportunities to build momentum and smash imperialism—U.S. and Russian—once and for all.