The Russia Denial
A key part of conspiracy theory is that, in order to defend it, you must have "something to hang your hat on." This means that the c-theorist needs any fact, any crack in the official story, which their opposition can't explain. After that, for the conspiratorialist, the entire conspiracy becomes true. When Trump provides those facts, he increases the conspiracy-mindset of his followers and drags America further and further into the rabbit hole of paranoia, logical deficency, and moral absence.
But for Trump-supporters it's all part of a bigger conspiracy. Or maybe we deserved it for doing the same thing? Or maybe it's really Obama's fault for not doing something stronger?
This, of course avoids the big question: With the chief beneficiary of the meddling being in the White House, and not just refusing to take a strong stance against it--but doing the opposite--engaging in a conspiracy-theory lie that the Russians didn't do anything--why wouldn't they keep going after us?
To say this is a deriliction of duty is an understatement.
How / Why The Russia Denial Works
The denial of Russian meddling is very important to Trump-Supporters because it provides a possibility that Trump's win was illigitimate. If you can prove that, for example, Russia got voter targeting data from the Trump campaign and used their propaganda as a surgical strike in swing states (note: there is no clear evidence of this and some that it's going in the other direction) then you could attribute Trump's super-narrow margin of victory (by around 100k votes across 3 states) to a hostile power.
The Omnivore doesn't think that'll come out--but the fact remains that Trump-Supporters are very upset by the idea of it. If Russia illegally funded campaign efforts through the NRA, if Russia operated specifically to release Clinton dirt at the most damaging times (even without coordination with the Trump campaign)--whatever the case--then the worst nightmare could be true: Trump might not have won without Russia.
Whether or not this is the case, the idea of there even being any directional evidence towards that is unthinkable.
So they don't think it.
Instead, what happens is you get the shape-shifting conspiracy theory that turns into whatever you need it to. What's that? Well, consider:
- Phase 1: There was no meddling but Team Hillary made it up after her loss to explain it (refuted by the Republicans themselves)
- Phase 2: Russia may have done something--but the real problem was that Obama and his traitorous DoJ illegally spied on Trump, wiretapping his tower (that didn't pan out)
- Phase 3: Okay, they didn't illegally wiretap Trump's tower but they illegally unmasked all kinds of Trump people because Obama is a super-partisan evil guy (Nope: turns out the unmasking was okay and done within routine parameters)
- Alright, maybe it was technically legal surveilance but this was still based on a completely forged FISA document designed to fool a judge (Nope: Nunes, the most partisan guy in the room, says the investigation started before Page--and then was forced to admit that they did disclose the general source of the information--just not, apparently, using the term 'Crooked Hillary Clinton.' They also did this after Carter Page left the campaign).
- Really, FISA warrants are too powerful--too easy to get--and this one was probably misused because THERE ARE QUESTIONS (why isn't Carter Page being charged?? Huh?? Huh??). Of course they just renewed the power without any additional controls so if the admin really did have it in for FISA that would be odd.
People on Team Trump believe one of these depending on how closely they follow the news or when they punch out of the information cycle. This goes hand in hand with things like believing that "The Nunes memo totally clears Trump and invalidates Mueller"--which Trump basically said and a lot of his followers believe.
Once you believe that, it must follow that huge portions of the entire US government are corrupt and anti-Trump (blatantly disregarding the law). If you think that . . . what do you think of America herself?
Does This Mean Nothing Wrong Was Done?
Of course The Omnivore calling bullshit on the polymorphic conspiracy theory doesn't mean that some new informaiton might come out that, indeed, proves that the Obama admin or the Hillary campaign behaved badly or misued a FISA warrant or something. That's certainly not impossible--but remember that right now, this theory allows all kinds of other conspiracies to flourish such as:
- Since the Russians, maybe, didn't do much / anything, it's clearly Hillary who had Seth Rich assassinated (see trusted Fox personality Sean Hannity for help that along).
- The Don Jr. meeting was a set-up sting operation by Fusion GPS (who was also hired by Republicans for oppo-research)--this renders his wish for Russian dirt something-something-something-something.
- The FBI is run by traitors. So too, the CIA. Probably the NSA. Basically everyone but Jeff Sessions and we're not too sure about him.
These theories, swimming around out there, being helped along by Fox & Friends (wiretapping Trump Tower) and Sean Hannity (Seth Rich) and the myraid of others is like an acid eating away at our cohesion as a country.
Russia is preparing to dump more acid on us--and Team Trump, with Trump's muddying of the waters, is really all for more of that.