The Trump-Russia conspiracy was one of the worst shaggy dog stories in American history

Vindication for the president

President Trump and others.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Sara Winter / Alamy Stock Photo, NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images, ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images, MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images, Mark Wilson/Getty Images, Alex Wong/Getty Images)

For two years I have been arguing in this space that there was no conspiracy between Donald Trump and the Russian government or other, more vaguely defined entities — individuals said to have "Russia ties" or "Kremlin links." Despite having endured an almost endless amount of scorn for saying so — perhaps even more than I was subjected to for arguing that Trump would be elected president in the first place — I derive no pleasure from the news that the summary of Robert Mueller's interminable special counsel investigation sent to the House and Senate judiciary committees by Attorney General William Barr confirms my views.

I say this not least because even the word of Mueller himself, whom liberal activists have spent the last two years turning into a kind of cartoon hero, complete with merchandise, is not enough to convince those who dislike Trump and would like to undermine his administration to change their minds. It was always resentment in search of a conspiracy, which anti-Trump enthusiasts attempted to will into existence by games of connect-the-dots, exercises that could just as easily have been brought to bear upon any prominent politician or businessman in the post-Soviet era. "Maybe he missed the boat here,” MSNBC's Chris Matthews said of Mueller on Saturday. "Because we know about the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, we know about the meeting at the cigar bar with Kilimnik [Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian political consultant]. My God, we know about all of those meetings with Kislyak [Sergey Kislyak, a Russian diplomat] at the Republican convention in Cleveland. All these dots we're now to believe don't connect."

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Matthew Walther

Matthew Walther is a national correspondent at The Week. His work has also appeared in First Things, The Spectator of London, The Catholic Herald, National Review, and other publications. He is currently writing a biography of the Rev. Montague Summers. He is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellow.