When a snarky, middle-brow establishmentarian website like FiveThirtyEight categorizes the Trump-Russia story as more smoke than fire, seconding the assessment of former acting CIA chief Mike Morrell, you know there is really no there there.
This from "How Much Of The Trump-Russia Story Is Smoke And How Much Is Fire?," a discussion between FiveThirtyEight writers and editors posted this morning:
this story from October — the headline on that said “no clear link.” So what people took away was, “no link!”: Thing on the Russia story is how much it’s been back and forth. Take
: Which is a reasonable reading. It’s very confusing.
: And then a couple of months later, we find ourselves here, with a new spin on that story — still no clear link, but as Perry said, people have been acting awfully suspicious.
: I think that Oct. 31 story from the The New York Times that Clare linked to really does not hold up well in light of their subsequent reporting.
Nate Silver hedges throughout the conversation. The other participants you get the feeling have some sort of allegiance to the Democratic Party. And that's the "donkey" in the room throughout the chat: No where is the Democratic Party's role in manning the smoke machine mentioned. : And I’d add the confusion of churn. So, weirdly, we didn’t actually learn anything new on Russia on Monday, yet there’s a new spate of stories. So the smoke-to-fire ratio gets bigger.
Towards the end of the piece there is this:
: Last question: This investigation will probably last many months — if not years. How does it affect Trump’s ability to pursue his agenda if it’s sort of a constant low hum in the background?
: That depends on America’s continuing reaction to the Trump era. There are a lot of things we don’t know, like how Trumpism will age. Are people, Republican constituents particularly, going to have the same patience or tolerance for this stuff in, say, a year? Maybe. Maybe not.
: If Democrats ever take over one or both branches of Congress, the investigations could obviously cripple Trump’s agenda.
joint session speech. Van Jones praised him. Then, the Sessions-Russia story eliminated that news cycle.: I think it’s huge. Remember a few weeks ago Trump gave that
: Hmmm …
: You can certainly make an argument that Trump is mishandling health care.Nothing about the deep state, about Politico's story of Ukrainians trying to get Hillary elected, about working with Russia in Syria. All very superficial. But interesting that even from a mainstream perspective Democrats are getting tired of the smoke in their eyes.