As early as August, 2016, Cohen was dismissing any notion of Paul Manafort "colluding" with Russia and very pointedly questioning the reliability of the Ukrainianian "anti-corruption" sources who provided the information about Manafort. We're seeing Cohen's questions coming to the fore, nearly three years later.
On May 10, 2017, a week before Mueller was appointed Special Counsel, Cohen wrote:
... on May 8 and 9 in Washington, today's Russia was being portrayed at Senate hearings as an existential threat, as having committed an "act of war against America" by "hijacking" the 2016 presidential election on behalf of President Trump." ...
After nearly a year, no actual facts have yet been presented to support the allegation. On the other hand, evidence has appeared that for more than a year elements of the US Intelligence Community--almost certainly the CIA and FBI--have been engaged in shadowy operations designed to link Trump to Putin's Kremlin. I've called this "Intelgate" and urged it be investigated first and foremost. Intel leaks and "reports," in evident "collusion" with the failed Clinton campaign, have driven the Russiagate narrative from the outset, amplified almost daily by a mainstream media that shows no interest at all in Intelgate.
That's about as clearsighted as anyone at the time could have claimed to be--far more so than most.
Since Bill Barr's DoJ is short on leaks, I decided that it might be worthwhile to present Cohen's essay from February 21, 2018. My title modifies his slightly. Cohen's perspective is always that of the all pervasive "Russia hysteria" the Dems and their media allies have plunged us into, so he prefers "Russiagate". Be that as it may, in his essay Cohen identifies "six ... barely concealed truths", "profoundly disturbing characteristics of people who play a very large role in governing our country." Admittedly, none of this should come as a surprise to anyone, but Cohen's six point indictment of America's elite is persuasively presented.
The First Truth is that those who have promoted the Russia Hoax "have little regard for the future of the American presidency." He points to the constant claims--based on no evidence whatsoever--that our President is "Putin's puppet" and that Trump is therefore engaged in "treason." He concludes with a typically forthright observation:
They have already deformed Trump's presidency, but no consideration is given to how they may affect the institution in the future.
The Second Truth is that the Russia Hoaxers "clearly ... have no regard for America's national security." Here, Cohen points to the over the top rhetoric employed by the hoaxers--claims of an "act of war," "treason," comparisons to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. These irresponsible and evidence free claims have threatened two serious consequences:
They threaten, to a disturbing extent, to tie Trump's hands in dealing with the other truly major nuclear power, and a significant player in some of the most troubled areas of the world. (Cohen, elsewhere in the book, does full credit to Trump for, nonetheless, seeking to advance his foreign policy agenda as promised. Nor does Cohen draw back from calling Trump "courageous" in this regard.)
They also threaten to provoke Trump to ill considered actions to demonstrate that he's not Putin's puppet." (Cohen doesn't consider whether Trump's status as a "stable genius" may, in effect, innoculate him from such pressures.)
The Third Truth is the contempt of the elites for the American people. Among other ways in which this contempt is revealed, says Cohen, is the absurd claim that Russia's supposed social media "attack on our democracy" somehow duped American voters. Cohen goes on to illustrate this contempt of the elite with examples from the MSM, reminding how truly over the top--and cynical--it all was (and remains):
Kathleen Parker in the WaPo: Russia's social-media intrusions "manipulated American thought ... The minds of social media users are likely becoming more, not less, malleable." Charles Blow adds to this that this was true of "black folks."
Scott Shane in the NYT: "Americans duped by the Russian trolls." Evan Osnos at the New Yorker: "large numbers of Americans are ill-equipped to assess the credibility of the things they read."
Dana MIlbank in the WaPo: "Putin has played Americans across the political spectrum for suckers," turning Trump voters into "the useful idiots of the 21st century."
The Fourth Truth concerns the extent to which the Russia Hoax has been enabled and promoted by a media in collusion with the Deep State:
Russiagate was initiated by political actors, but elite media gave it traction, inflated it, and promoted it to what it is today.
Cohen offers a striking example--one of many, of course, but striking nonetheless--of the way in which the "elite media" has sought to destroy anyone who has stood against the Russia Hoax:
... a brand name of liberal-progressive MSNBC, John Heilemann, suggested on air, referring to questions about Russiagate posed by Congressman Devin Nunes, "that we actually have a Russian agent running the House Intel Committee on the Republican side." The Democratic senator being interviewed, Chris Murphy, was less than categorical in brushing aside the "question."
Cohen finishes this point by noting the failure of the elite media to protest the creeping censorship in both public and private institutions.
The Fifth Truth calls out the Democrat party. Cohen notes that in the run up to the 2018 midterm elections the Dems appear less a vehicle for positive alternatives than a vehicle for promoting hysterical anti-Russian "conspiracy theories."
The Sixth Truth is directed at America's elites and the almost uniform lack of courage that they have displayed in the face of evidence free conspiracy and fear mongering:
American's elites are composed overwhelmingly not of "rugged individualists" but of conformists--whether due to ambition, fear, or ignorance hardly matters.