McCarthyism describes an event in American history where a Senator claimed to have in his briefcase evidence that high-ranking government officials were colluding with Russia. Lives were destroyed based solely on the accusation.
Finally, when people had had enough, the attorney representing the U.S. Army turned to the Senator and said, “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?” That ended it.
The present Russian investigation hit its “have you no sense of decency” moment last week when Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians for defrauding America. By all appearances, they are the sort of unsophisticated internet trolls who, with clunky English, implore social media users to do stupid things.
There is no evidence that they influenced anything. A significant portion of the objectionable activity, including the bulk of the Facebook ads and the attempt to organize a Trump rally, happened after the election.
The ubiquitous “Tasty – Pull Apart Garlic Rolls!” Facebook post has had more likes, shares and smiley faces than anything Russia did to affect the election. The indictment is killing a fly with a sledge hammer.
President Obama knew about the trolling in 2014 and that was his judgment, too. He told Putin to cut it out. It was not worth bothering international relations over. As Commander-in-Chief, he was permitted to assess Russian social media activity and roll his eyes. Because that’s how America works.
Except in the age of Trump. If you think it strange that President Trump controls all armies in the field, the diplomatic corps, the intelligence agencies, but an unelected Justice Department appointee is setting American foreign policy over Russian internet trolling, here’s how that happened.
In 2016, the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election. Attorney General Sessions recused himself because people told him he may be a spy and he said, sure, why not.
The second in command, Rod Rosenstein, advised the president to fire the FBI director. Then, when people got mad at him for that, he appointed a special counsel, Robert Mueller, to investigate the president because…