Credit: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/flickr

In a nutshell, here is what Trump and his enablers want you to believe about the Mueller investigation. It all started when the DNC and the Clinton campaign paid Fusion GPS millions of dollars to dig up dirt on Trump (perhaps on a tip from the Obama administration). They hired former M16 agent Christopher Steele, who documented lies the Russians fed to him about the same candidate that all of their other efforts were designed to support.

Rather than release this information to the public, Steele turned it over to the FBI, who used it to spy on the Trump campaign. Because of the anti-Trump bias in the “deep state,” a whole story was made up about the need to investigate whether or not the campaign conspired with the Russians to influence the election. None of that was public knowledge until after the election when the president fired his FBI director, who leaked lies to the press, which launched the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate the whole matter.

Central to the hoax Trump wants us to believe is FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was involved in this case from the beginning. We know he hated Trump because his texts with Lisa Page, an FBI agent he was having an affair with, have been made public. In them, he said that he was depressed after the 2016 election. So in the end, this whole witch hunt was dreamed up by the Democrats in collusion with biased FBI agents to justify Clinton’s loss.

Of course, that whole explanation is chock full of lies that are easily debunked, even by the president’s own behavior this week at the NATO meeting. But perhaps the biggest blow will be delivered today when Strzok testifies publicly before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees. In his prepared remarks, he plans to say this:

“Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took,” Strzok is expected to say, according to a copy of his draft statement obtained by CNN. “(T)he fact is, after months of investigations, there is simply no evidence of bias in my professional actions.”…

“In the summer of 2016, I was one of a handful of people who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with members of the Trump campaign,” Strzok plans to say. “This information had the potential to derail, and quite possibly, defeat Mr. Trump. But the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind.”…

“This investigation is not politically motivated, it is not a witch hunt, it is not a hoax.”

Strzok will also take direct aim at Trump’s congressional Republican enablers.

“(T)he honest truth is that Russian interference in our elections constitutes a grave attack on our democracy. Most disturbingly, it has been wildly successful — sowing discord in our nation and shaking faith in our institutions,” reads his draft statement. “I have the utmost respect for Congress’s oversight role, but I truly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”

All of Trump’s claims fizzle when you remember that a few people like Strzok had this information in the summer of 2016, when it very likely would have derailed Trump’s campaign. And yet, other than the fact that the Russians interfered in the election, none of it was made public until the president fired his FBI director, setting off alarm bells about possible obstruction of justice. That is when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to take over the investigation.

Trump’s enablers and supporters want to believe that this investigation is a witch hunt and a hoax. But it boggles the mind to imagine how it is possible to believe the twisted tales Trump is trying to sell when his own behavior is the most damning evidence of all. The only way to understand it all is that tribalism is an elixir that is more powerful than many of us can imagine.

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