America stands in the midst of an epidemic, a plague equally horrific in both its crippling cognitive damage and rate of transmission. This weaponized virus, known as Trumpkinism, lingers wherever willful ignorance flourishes, ravaging the brains of otherwise ordinary individuals until they are rendered completely detached from reality. While symptoms vary in severity according to the illness’s progression, all victims exhibit an insatiable desire to bask in Donald Trump’s radioactive orange glow. Fortunately, all is not lost. Despite the fact that many of these poor souls are beyond hope of recovery, there is ample reason to believe that truth itself can serve as a vaccination. This, of course, requires every uninfected American to stand up and call out bullshit upon exposure. In light of this, let’s take the time to analyze a Trumpkin meme that went viral after James Comey’s Senate Testimony. While the passage of time has made many of these claims laughable, they still serve as a testament to the extreme manner in which this virus attacks its victims. You’ll find it below:
Claim #1: Trump Was Never Under Investigation
Alternative facts never tend to age well, and this certainly applies to the first claim in the above orgy of misinformation. Within a week after the hearing, it was abundantly clear to all that Trump was the centerpiece of an active investigation. Yet, it should have surprised no one, as James Comey himself clearly implied that Mueller would be looking into obstruction of justice. Nonetheless, let’s temporarily disregard this knowledge and address the claim at face value.
When investigating any large organization, law enforcement doesn’t immediately shoot for the head (no matter how revolting that head may be). Instead, they start with the weakest links (most provably guilty) and squeeze like a vice-grip until loyalty gives way to self-preservation. This, in turn, arms them with the ammunition required to tackle bigger players. Indeed, it’s as if right wingers are incapable of realizing that Trump was, in fact, part of the Trump campaign. This blatantly obvious caveat even caused a lead investigator to voice his concern over informing Trump that he wasn’t currently under investigation, as transcribed from Comey’s testimony below (horrible sentence structure left in its original form):
Comey: One of the members of the leadership team had a view that although it was technically true we did not have a counter-intelligence file case open on then President-elect Trump. His concern was because we’re looking at the potential, again, that’s the subject of the investigation, coordination between the campaign and Russia, because it was President Trump, President-elect Trump’s campaign, this person’s view was inevitably his behavior, his conduct will fall within the scope of that work. And so he was reluctant to make the statement. I disagreed. I thought it was fair to say what was literally true.
Then, going on to add:
With the FBI leadership team? Sure. And the leader had that view that didn’t change. His view was still that it was probably although literally true, his concern was it could be misleading, because the nature of the investigation was such that it might well touch, obviously it would touch, the campaign, and the person that headed the campaign would be the candidate, and so that was his view throughout.
You’ll notice Comey explicitly invoked the word “technically” and “literally” when referring to Trump not being personally under investigation for collusion. Indeed, the tenuous nature of this “technical” status served as the main motivation for him refusing to announce it publicly. After all, answering the question of Trump’s involvement is the investigation’s ultimate goal, leaving such premature “vindication” utterly meaningless. Of course, within just a few weeks after the hearing, Mike Flynn is believed to be singing like a bird and even Trump’s lawyers are getting lawyers.
Claim #2: Trump Did Not Obstruct Justice
While those on the Right try to explain away Comey’s testimony by playing games with semantics, they unfortunately fail to realize that Trump’s dealings with the fired FBI director are only one piece of an intricate puzzle. Obstruction rarely, if ever, boils down to conduct with just one individual. Now that the FBI officially has a case file open on the matter, a parade of top officials and eye witnesses will be carefully scrutinized. Already, there is a strong indication that the floodgates are beginning to break. Just in the last week alone, the current heads of the CIA and NSA have agreed to be interviewed by Mueller. The same is true for Rogers’ former aid, who carefully made a memo of Trump begging his boss to help make the investigation into Mike Flynn go away. Now that we know Flynn is cooperating with the FBI, the precise reason for Trump being so triggered over his investigation is bound to be revealed. One thing is for certain: an intelligence community that has found itself repeatedly under assault by Trump’s Twitter fingers aren’t likely to be inclined to cut him any breaks.
Claim #3: Trump Did Not Collude with Russia
Soon as the Comey hearing concluded, Trump took to Twitter for a celebratory circle jerk, with his tiny little fingers proudly proclaiming vindication. Unsurprisingly, all of the RNC’s little fascist ferrets quickly echoed this victory song. However, utilizing even a remote amount of critical thinking reveals this “vindication” to be about as authentic as Melania’s deep and abiding love for her husband. Nonetheless, those suffering from Trumpkinism are fundamentally hardwired to selectively pick out pieces of information that support their delusions. Frankly, such a complete disconnect from reality is the only explanation for mistaking the following dialogue as somehow translating into “Yeehah! No collusion libtards!”
Cotton: Do you think Donald Trump colluded with Russia?
Comey: That’s a question I don’t think I should answer in an opening setting. As I said, when I left, we did not have an investigation focused on President Trump. But that’s a question that will be answered by the investigation, I think.
From violations of campaign finance law to outright quid-pro-quo, collusion in a legal sense is a rather broad, ambiguous concept. As a result, Mueller and his team have a tremendous amount of freedom in deciding what avenues to pursue. Likewise, this lack of a concrete legal definition makes it easy for Trumpkin propagandists to perpetually move the goal post as new evidence emerges. Even so, to assert that there is “no evidence of collusion” requires an almost supernatural act of mental gymnastics.
To those inflicted with Trumpkinism, the fact that Paul Manafort went from turning tricks for Putin to running Trump’s campaign is perfectly innocent, as is Jared Kushner begging the Russians to explore his back-channel. Of course, the same holds true for Mike Flynn and the repeated secret communications with his Russian sugar daddies during the campaign. As for Trump’s consistent refusal to even offer minor criticism of Russia, we are supposed to believe this is merely the manifestation of some pacifistic diplomatic strategy, all from a guy who makes a sport out of alienating America’s closest allies. It’s as if the Trump campaign were caught holding an ax soaked in the blood of a missing person, yet confidently proclaims innocence anyways because the cops have not located a body.
Claim #4: Russia Did Not Alter the Outcome of the Election
Despite Putin himself admitting that “patriotic” Russian hackers actively involved themselves in the U.S. election, Trump and his zombified legions of white trash walkers just can’t seem to spit it out of their vile little mouths. In fact, it’s hard to imagine how anyone that actually watched Comey’s testimony could conclude “Russia did not impact the election” is a realistic takeaway. Granted, in fairness, the tinfoil panty crowd are no strangers to sacrificing all aspects of reality that offend their delicate sensibilities. Regardless, let’s humor this assertion and listen to Comey’s actual words:
Whether it’s maliciously attacking the DNC or unleashing hordes of bots to manipulate overwhelmingly gullible citizens of swing states, there is absolutely no doubt that Russia made it a mission to get Donald Trump elected President. While the exact impact of this psychological Pearl Harbor (as Dan Rather so brilliantly describes it) is hard to precisely quantify, to claim that it wasn’t a factor at all requires more denial than an evangelical preacher snorting meth off a male hooker. Let’s also not overlook the fact that the 2016 election results haven’t even been audited, leaving claims that Russia didn’t touch votes nothing more than hopeful speculation.
Claim #5: Comey Leaked His Own Memo
Imagine, if you will, going through your spouse’s phone and finding a darling little video of them committing adultery with animalistic passion. Now, upon confrontation, imagine that spouse looking you directly in the eyes and defiantly saying “The real issue here is that you have no respect for my privacy. I am deeply outraged by your mistrust. How do you even live with yourself?” This, in essence, describes the alt-right’s fascination with leaks. In their world, so long as they are the ones getting caught, the act of revealing a crime is far more dastardly than the crime itself. More importantly, when it comes to Comey, this logic requires a gross misunderstanding of what actually qualifies as a “leak”. For starters, a leak must transmit classified information, which Comey’s memo quite clearly does not. As for claims of executive privilege, it cannot be overlooked that Donald Trump had the chance and clearly chose not to invoke it. Yet, even if it were invoked, Donald Trump has publicly called the contents of Comey’s memo an outright lie. Newsflash: executive privilege does not apply to fictional information.
Claim #6: Loretta Lynch Pressured Comey to Cover for Hillary
While many may view it as a partisan move, Loretta Lynch instructing Comey to use the word “matter” perfectly aligns with the FBI’s written policy of not confirming on-going investigations. With this in mind, to imply that she somehow violated the law has zero basis in reality. Never did she attempt to impede or shutdown the investigation. Let’s not forget, of course, that violation of this same policy is the justification Trump used to fire Comey (only later to be refuted by the President himself). It’s absurd to argue that Comey was fired for not adhering to a protocol and then, in the same breath, shout that Lynch obstructed justice for actually trying to enforce it.
Claim #7: There Was Ample Evidence to Put Hillary in Jail but Comey Chose Not to Pursue It
Again, anyone who believes this is utterly delusional. Repeatedly, Comey has stated (and everyone involved in the investigation agreed) that there was no legal basis for bringing charges against Hillary Clinton. Nothing in the hearing provided any reason to believe otherwise. Of course, the individual that originally created this claim knew full well that the intended audience never allows reality to get in the way of Hillary bashing. To be perfectly honest, Trumpkins seem hopelessly lost without her. Bigly sad, really.
Claim #8: CNN and Other News Outlets Have Been Lying/Making Things Up the Whole Time
If there’s bipartisan agreement on anything, it’s that CNN is a joke. Nonetheless, in their defense, one cable news company occasionally getting screwed by a source hardly de-legitimatizes the entire free press. To their credit, they at least had the decency to admit the mistake. Which, quite obviously, is something Fox News is fundamentally incapable of. Granted, offering a correction for every piece of false information promoted by Fox would take more time than most of their audience has left to live. From Jeff Session’s recusal to Mike Flynn’s resignation, legitimate scandals have continuously been revealed by the press, only to be confirmed by the administration’s actions.
Claim #9: The Democratic Party No Longer Has the Ability to Scream “Russia” Every Time Trump Tries to Do Something
Once again, the above claim perfectly illustrates that Trumpkins are, in fact, allergic to reality itself. Although his agenda is failing miserably, it certainly has nothing to do with the Democrats talking about Russia. How easily Trumpkins forget that Republicans are fully capable of rubber-stamping Trump’s agenda regardless of Democratic objections. When it comes to health care, for instance, Russia had absolutely nothing to do with the conversation. Instead, the CBO revealed that over 20 million Americans would be robbed of coverage, thereby spawning tremendous backlash from constituents and overwhelmingly low public support. Other key Trump plans, such as the travel ban, have been foiled by both the Constitution and his own Twitter fingers.
Claim #10: The Russia Story is Dead
With multiple active investigations, tremendous public interest, and a steady drip-drip-drip of damning leaks, the Russia story isn’t going anywhere. Even if Trump manages to fire Mueller, the resulting cataclysmic outrage would ensure that obstructing the Russian investigation will be the ONLY thing his presidency is remembered for. Either way, make no mistake: Putin’s shadow will be cast over Trump long after his radioactive orange glow has been exorcised from the White House.