The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald appeared on a “fake news” panel in Moscow recently, peddling the same talking points President Donald Trump is known to spout as he insisted the special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling is nothing but a “hoax” perpetrated by Democrats.
Why? Greenwald agrees with the president that Democrats have manufactured an excuse for losing an election everyone thought they would win.
In Greenwald’s telling, the notion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election came about as a desperate way for media elites to explain why their preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton, did not prevail.
“The American political system needed an explanation about why something like that could happen, and why they got it so wrong,” began Greenwald. “One of the explanations about why it happened was the favorite tactic of governments, which was to say, it wasn’t anything wrong with our country, it was this other foreign country over there that was to blame. And that’s a major reason why fingers continue to be pointed at the Russian government.”
“Excuses were needed, villains were required, people needed to point fingers at someone other than themselves for this very shocking event, and that’s why there became this obsession with the Russian government.”
The problems with Greenwald’s theory – and indeed, the president’s as well – are many, but primarily it ignores that Russian election interference was under investigation months prior to Clinton’s surprise loss.
The FBI began investigating Trump in the middle of 2016. Obviously, that couldn’t have resulted from the shock of Trump’s surprise victory because Trump’s surprise victory had not occurred yet. Indeed, FBI director James Comey kept the investigation of Trump and Russia secret, while publicizing the investigation of Clinton, because he was (infamously) certain Clinton was going to win. The notion that Russia became the subject of blame because she lost is absurd on its face.
Greenwald also claimed that hysteria over alleged Russian meddling has crossed the ocean to the U.K., where it is now believed Russia might have interfered in the Brexit vote.
Russia could not legally finance the Brexit campaign. Brexit was instead supported by British national Arron Banks, who, acting out of apparent generosity, donated the largest political expenditure in U.K. history to support the yes vote.
As much as Greenwald would like to believe this is yet another fabricated story aimed at wrecking Russia’s credibility on the world stage, Banks provides myriad reasons to question whether Russia was involved and to what degree:
Banks initially conceded he had met with Russian officials, but only one time. When The Guardian discovered documents establishing more meetings, and the fact that Russia had dangled a lucrative mining deal before him, Banks conceded he had actually met with the Russians two or three times, but had not taken the deal. The New York Timesdiscovered another meeting, at which point Banks admitted he had actually met with the Russians four times. Most recently, TheGuardian has found that Banks held 11 known meetings with the Russians, and both publications found that Banks’s business partner took up the Russians on their offer.
To Greenwald, the story is simply more evidence that everybody is getting hysterical about Russia. “It really has become an obsession in the United States to think about all problems emanating from Moscow – and not just in the United States, but also now in the U.K. as well.” See, even the British are making crazy accusations against Russia!