In an interview with Mediaite published today, Yahoo! News investigative reporter Michael Isikoff made it clear that he was likely wrong about Donald Trump colluding with Russia to sway the 2016 presidential election in his favor.
Isikoff is the co-author of Russian Roulette, and now “leans, rather clearly, against the idea that Robert Mueller is likely to claim criminal “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia.”
“All the signs to me are, Mueller is reaching his end game, and we may see less than what many people want him to find.”
Isikoff explained his reasoning to Mediaite by listing four basic reasons behind his coming to a conclusion that directly contradicts his book.
According to Isikoff, the plea deal for Russian spy Maria Butina is rather “underwhelming,” given that the media is reporting that Butina funded the Trump campaign through the National Rifle Association (NRA). As the Guardian reported, Butina has been accused of attempting to infiltrate the NRA in an effort to influence the gun lobby on behalf of Russia. But according to Isikoff, this would probably be the largest campaign finance violations in U.S. history, so Butina getting a plea deal does not fit the collusion puzzle.
Furthermore, the infamous Steele Dossier — already deemed fake by Forbes in 2017 — which alleges that the Russians have kompromat (compromising material) on Trump is, according to Yahoo‘s investigative reporter, likely a product of an urban legend. The dossier also alleges that Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to help coordinate the “collusion,” but there is no indication that the trip took place.
According to Isikoff, for the Russiagate theory to hold water, General Michael Flynn has to be sentenced, so the Special Counsel’s recommendation that he gets no jail time does not make sense.
Still, Mediaite notes, the journalist “stands by the foundation” of his book and the concept that Donald Trump and his team “did many highly questionable things, some of which appear to have been criminal,” but they did not collude with Russia.
Mediaite even suggested that Trump may have reason to feel vindicated in the end.
“It’s just that now, contrary to what most of the media wants to see, there now seems to be a preponderance of evidence leading to the conclusion that Trump may eventually be able to plausibly claim some semblance of ‘vindication’ on the ‘collusion’ front.”
Although probably the first prominent journalist to walk back his collusion claims, Isikoff is not the first media figure to claim that there has been no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. For instance, in April 2017, the Intercept‘s Aaron Maté mocked MSNBC host Rachel Maddow’s habit to “see a Russia collusion lurking around every corner.”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, world-renowned linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky opined in a July interview that the concept of Russia collusion is considered “almost a joke” in the rest of the world, pointing out that countries like Israel have meddled in U.S. elections “openly, brazenly and with enormous support.”