The Anatomy of Desperation

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Follow along, if you care, because this is all they’ve got.

It began with Ken Vogel and David Stern’s Politico story, “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire,” 11 January 2017, which found its way to Erik Wemple’s Washington Post story, “Hannity: The ‘media mob’ is corrupt. Also, look at this great Politico story!” which found its way to Rudy Giuliani’s raving to George Stephanopoulos on “This Week,” 29 September 2019, which → found its way to Sen. Ron Johnson’s pretzeling and filibustering on Chuck Todd’s “Meet the Press,” 6 October 2019, which → then found its way, most recently (10/8), to Glenn Kessler’s Washington Post story,”The GOP theory that Ukraine ‘set up’ Trump.”

The ur-story — Politico’s 2017 reporting — contained these sexy, investigative basics:

* “Donald Trump wasn’t the only presidential candidate whose campaign was boosted by officials of a former Soviet bloc country.”

* “Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office.”

* “They helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.”

* “A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia.”

Boom! There you have it. International intrigue involving Hillary, the DNC, a DNC Ukrainian-American “researcher” (which she wasn’t) and corrupt Ukrainian officials, all leading to → a brazen conspiracy that relieves Russia of its central role in 2016 electoral interference.

There’s a problem, however, which I’ll permit WaPo’s Glenn Kessler to relate as swiftly and bloodlessly as possible:

“The story of [‘researcher’ Alexandra] Chalupa’s work at the DNC has not advanced since 2017, and it’s pretty thin beer, especially when compared with state-ordered hacking by Russia. She may or may not have worked with embassy officials, and the DNC did not use her research. The impact, if any, seems minimal.”

None of this has stopped Trumpian ranters such as Giuliani and Johnson (et al., et al.) from hauling out the 2017 Politico story on national television and proceeding to exploit its overblown, mistaken, mostly debunked wastepaper.

You can watch Mr. Giuliani’s feces-flecking here, and if you’ve another nine minutes to spare, you can watch Sen. Johnson make an orangutan ass of himself below.

It’s just about all they’ve got.

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