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Conservative writer debunks pro-Trump FBI conspiracy theory in devastating rebuke of the Republican Party

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In their desperation to insulate President Donald Trump from the fallout of the Russia investigation, the Republican Party has woven an elaborate counternarrative in which the act of investigating Russia is the real scandal. And David French, writer for the arch-conservative National Review, is finally calling out this mentality on the Right.

“It’s time to put a conspiracy theory to rest,” writes French in a new column. “It’s time to debunk a hoax.”

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The GOP narrative goes that the investigation, first started by the FBI and taken up by special counsel Robert Mueller, is a “witch hunt” manufactured by Obama administration officials to bring down Trump; that the investigation of the campaign was illegal and the warrant to surveil it obtained using partisan material; that Trump officials are being prosecuted over “perjury traps” rather than anything of substance; and that Mueller’s team is saddled with conflicts of interest that will render any findings tainted. There is no evidence to support any of this. But not only is Trump and the Fox News punditry spreading this narrative, it has formed the basis for a series of frivolous investigations by House Republicans with time and resources that could have been spent to pursue Russia.

French lays bare how insane all of this is.

“The idea that the FBI used the Russia investigation to intervene in the election to hurt Trump and help Clinton has always strained credulity,” he writes. “After all, the Russia investigation remained secret during the election while the FBI not only public reopened the Hillary email investigation, it also confirmed the existence of an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation and exposed rifts with the Obama Department of Justice — casting the FBI as heroically resisting Obama-administration pressure to avoid any ‘overt steps’ in the Clinton Foundation investigation during the campaign.”

Furthermore, notes French, contrary to the idea that Mueller is using “perjury traps,” the investigation has already uncovered damning information — including Trump’s former attorney lying to Congress about Trump’s Russia contacts, Trump’s son having a meeting in Trump Tower with a lawyer linked to the Kremlin during the election, Trump’s campaign manager having ties to a known Russian asset, and two campaign advisers allegedly having backchannels to Russia via foreign sources. And all of this took place against the context of Trump saying, “I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.”

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“In less partisan times,” writes French, these contacts would “generate far more bipartisan concern. Even now, they should at the very least demolish the worst of the pro-Trump conspiracy theories.”

“As in all investigations, the FBI and every other relevant arm of the federal government should be held to account when it departs from law or policy,” French says. “If elements of the Trump investigation were tainted by partisan bias, we need to know. But, at this point, claims that the investigation itself is inherently illegitimate should be dismissed.”

“The Trump team has surrounded the truth of its dealings with Russia with a bodyguard of lies,” concludes French. “Not a single American should find that acceptable or excusable. Let’s find the truth and confront it fearlessly. No other approach will provide the justice and transparency America needs.”

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Texas Republicans are abandoning the state’s GOP Speaker: ‘We no longer support him’

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Some of the most powerful Texas House Republicans said Monday they no longer support GOP Speaker Dennis Bonnen, marking the biggest blow yet to his political future amid the fallout from a secret recording released last week by a hardline conservative activist.

Five Republicans considered senior members of the lower chamber issued a statement withdrawing support for him: State Reps. Four Price of Amarillo, Dan Huberty of Houston, Lyle Larson of San Antonio, Chris Paddie of Marshall and John Frullo of Lubbock.

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Donald Trump is making a mockery of Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is letting him

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Sen. Marco Rubio was once one of Donald Trump’s most formidable opponents; now, the Florida senator bends over backward to excuse the president’s corruption.

In 2016, Rubio and Trump sparred frequently on the Republican primary debate stage. Trump picked the uninspired nickname “Little Marco” for the senator, which didn’t seem to do much damage on its own, but Rubio never gained the momentum or strength that his backers hoped would prove to be strong enough to take down the reality TV candidate. As Rubio grew desperate, he launched one of his most memorable and pitiful attacks by stooping to his opponent’s level, implying that Trump had a small penis. It was more of an embarrassing moment for Rubio than anyone else, though Trump helped himself with a crude rejoinder.

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The faith of Fox News: How the network’s propaganda warps viewers’ sense of reality

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A longtime sticking point among Fox News employees is their insistent differentiation between its news division, where employees practice actual journalism, and its opinion division, where employees practice actual nativism, spew misinformation, and have been actively campaigning for Donald Trump’s re-election since 2016.  Inside the organization, they claim to believe that the news side is separate from the opinion side, and insist that the audience can tell the difference.

News anchor Shepard Smith once characterized comparing the two as “apples and teaspoons.”

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