ThinkProgress: You're All Guilty Of Russia Collusion (Or Something)

If you thought the die-hard progressives were going to be satisfied with the Mueller report, find some relief in the fact the white House doesn’t appear to be bowing to the Kremlin, and move on to other things they can complain about, you were very wrong. In fact, ThinkProgress, one of the grandaddies of the progressive movement in America, is insisting the Mueller report may have exonerated the Trump campaign, but there are many more Americans who are culpable in colluding with the Russians — whether they know it or not.


And they’ve made a helpful list.

The writer of this piece names three specific groups they say Attorney General William Barr left out of his “bottom-line” accounting of the Mueller report, although they’re pretty large and varied enough to suggest that grouping all individuals together who may share some commonalities in the Venn diagram of this writer’s mind is a gigantic stretch. For example:

Special counsel Robert Mueller may not have found the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, but plenty of Americans — wittingly or otherwise — have helped Moscow’s election meddling efforts in recent years. Secessionists, Jill Stein and her campaign, and members of groups organized around gun rights and far-right Christian movements have spent the past few years cultivating ties with those close to the Kremlin and using their platforms to promote Russia-friendly ideas.

Of particular note are what this writer calls “the separatists,” or “groups who look back fondly on the days of the Confederacy or advocate for states separating from the U.S. to form their own country.”


Is this…a thing? I’m sure there are people that seek division in the union, but it’s difficult to believe a) that they’re more than a smattering of fringe players; b) that they’re a cohesive enough group to have en masse colluded with a foreign government to affect any real damage;  and c) that they’ve engaged in the behavior this writer suggests because he provides no supporting evidence or documentation beyond his own assertion of fact.

Multiple conferences held in Moscow in 2015 and 2016 brought separatists from places like Hawaii and Puerto Rico to Russia, gathering supporters with other secessionists from Italy and Spain. They were hosted and feted by Alexander Ionov, the head of an organization called the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia (AGMR).

Yeah…I’m gonna a need a link with that…

Also on this writer’s list — and just as dubiously — are “the gunslingers” and “the fundamentalists,” which likely need no explanation. And Jill Stein, Green Party candidate, is called out by name for being at an event with both Mike Flynn and Vladimir Putin in 2015.

Here’s the point: contact with Russia is not necessarily collusion with Russia. Russia targeting fringe groups to seed propaganda is also not active collusion, although it is evidence they wanted to sow discord. And Russia attempting to capitalize on already existing divisions in American culture, such as the progressive disdain for 2nd Amendment advocates and devout Christians, does not implicate the disdained in traitorous behavior. If one is going to make claims this extreme, they need to support them beyond just the wish of the writer that they be true. If the Mueller report has a lasting lesson, it’s that.



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