Why then does the RussiaGate discourse have so much traction? Who benefits?
RussiaGate serves the interest of a (No. 1) corrupted Democratic Party, whose biased and arguably incompetent campaign management lost it the 2016 election, in alliance (No. 2) with powerful factions of the U.S. industrial-military-surveillance establishment that for the past 19 years, through NATO and other malleable international agencies, has sought to undermine Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leadership, dismember Russia and the Russian Federation (undoubtedly for the benefit of Western capital) and, more latterly, further contain China in a perpetual and titanic struggle for the heart of EurAsia.
In so far as Trump had indicated (for whatever reasons) in the course of his campaign that he disagreed with at least some aspects of this long-term strategy, he came to be viewed as unreliable by the U.S. security state.
A further beneficiary (No.3) is the sum of all those interests that favor a narrowing of public expression to a framework supportive of neoliberal imperialism. Paradoxically exploiting the moral panic associated with both Trump’s plaintive wailing about “fake news” whenever mainstream media coverage is critical of him, and social media embarrassment over exposure of their big-data sales to powerful corporate customers, these interests have called for more regulation of, as well as self-censorship by, social media.
Social media responses increasingly involve more restrictive algorithms and what are often partisan “fact-checkers” (illustrated by Facebook financial support for and dependence on the pro-NATO “think tank,” the Atlantic Council). The net impact has been devastating for many information organizations in the arena of social media whose only “sin” is analysis and opinion that runs counter to elite neoliberal propaganda.
The standard justification of such attacks on free expression is to insinuate ties to Russia and/or to terrorism. Given these heavy handed and censorious responses by powerful actors, it would appear perhaps that the RussiaGate narrative is increasingly implausible to many and the only hope now for its proponents is to stifle questioning. These are dark days indeed for democracy.