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Thoughts on the unvaccinated

October 26, 2021

Many people are risking their careers by refusing to obey COVID vaccine mandates. For this, they’re being mocked, shunned and vilified (the Prime Minister of New Zealand is even bragging about how she’s used vaccine documents to create a two-tiered society that relegates the unvaccinated to second-class citizen status.)

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2021/10/25/new-zealand-pm-n2597952

So why are so many people saying no? Are they really all just ignorant, anti-science rubes, as some in the media or the Administration depict them? If so, how does that square with the fact that people with Ph.D.’s are among the most vaccine hesitant, or with all the health care workers who are refusing the jab (PR tip: if you want people to take something, don’t call it “the JAB.”)

The Epoch Times did something that few if any media outlets have done: they actually asked health care professionals why they are risking their careers to defy vaccine mandates.The full article is for paid subscribers only, but here’s the gist of what they said:

https://www.theepochtimes.com/mkt_morningbrief/health-care-workers-speak-out-on-why-they-would-rather-lose-their-jobs-than-take-a-covid-19-vaccine_4065164.html

Some are pro-life and have religious objections to the use of fetal cells in developing the vaccines. Others said they’ve personally seen many serious negative reactions and don’t believe they’re being honestly reported. One registered nurse in Oncology/Hematology says they’re seeing an increase in hospitalizations and referrals for clotting and bleeding disorders. Some say they don’t want to risk vaccine side effects to avoid a disease with a 99% survival rate for those not in high risk categories, and for which we now have safe alternative treatments.

Some said the vaccines are “leaky” and that the majority of COVID patients they’re seeing are vaccinated. They don’t believe the vaccines are working and think they’re fueling the creation of new variants. One said this vaccine technology has never been deployed successfully and there’s no data on the longterm effects. They say the vaccines are still undergoing their first year of study, and their safety and effectiveness aren’t yet proven. They’re in touch with other health care workers and say they aren’t seeing the “surges” that the public is being told are happening. Some health care workers say they already have natural immunity from COVID exposure.

And finally, as the aforementioned registered nurse put it, “This is America! I have every right to make an educated decision regarding my health care. No matter what you are told, what I do has no direct effect on you.”

There’s more at the link for subscribers, but that’s the reasoning, from the mouths of health care workers. Please note that I’m vaccinated myself, and I’m not endorsing their views. You can disagree with them, say their concerns are unfounded or overblown, or argue that the risks of the disease outweigh those of the vaccines. But please stop saying that everyone who resists vaccine mandates is ignorant of science and medicine, because this shows that a lot of highly-trained health care professionals obviously beg to differ.

Reading Mollie Hemingway’s new book RIGGED, about the 2020 election and the factors that tweaked the outcome, one might start to wonder what the Hillary/DNC attorney and activist Marc Elias is doing these days –- besides dodging subpoenas, of course. But if a process server from the special counsel’s office is having difficulty finding him, I know where he is, and his army of attorneys.

They’re in Virginia, for the razor-close gubernatorial race! The Elias Law Group, the new firm he started to elect “progressive” Democrats after leaving Perkins Coie, filed suit on Friday on behalf of the state Democrat Party against the U.S. Postal Service, citing delays in processing and delivering election-related materials. Over the pasts few months, the Virginia General Assembly has also repealed voter ID, allowed 45 days of “no-excuse” absentee voting, and set up automatic voter registration as part of getting a driver’s license.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/oct/25/virginia-democrats-file-lawsuit-against-us-postal-/

The election will be over in a week –- not necessarily the counting, though. An Emerson College poll taken a few days ago shows candidates Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat and huge Clinton crony, and Glenn Youngkin, the Republican and businessman, tied at 48 percent among very likely voters. (Accuracy plus-or-minus 3.2 percent.)

Youngkin held a big rally in Suffolk on Monday evening that was attended by Republicans, independents and even apparently some Democrats who, according to FOX NEWS’ Sara Carter, are "here as a referendum of what they say is a dangerous leftist agenda that is not only growing here in Virginia, but across America.”

McAuliffe let a little too much of that agenda slip recently when he said parents shouldn’t be telling teachers what they should teach their kids. Oops. He could still win, though, even now; the clueless Democrat faithful do support their jackasses.

But the election is seen by many conservatives as the start of a “red wave” of parents fighting for kids, a national referendum on Critical Race Theory, the teaching of which has, sadly, put Loudoun and Fairfax Counties on the map in recent weeks. One dad interviewed by Carter on the HANNITY TV show said, “It’s everywhere right now. But Virginia is somewhere where we can do something about it, right now. People are charged up; all eyes are on us...We don’t want it in Suffolk, we don’t want it in Virginia, nobody else wants it in the rest of the country. We want our country back, our state, and our city.”

Carter heard one refrain over and over: We want the government out of our kids’ education! We want to be in charge. We don’t want to be called “domestic terrorists.” We’re tired of mandates. Let us talk to our school boards. We want a voice!

Former President Obama is campaigning with McAuliffe, and he might be making it worse for the candidate. He brought up that old saw, voter suppression, saying Republicans are trying to keep some people from having their voices heard. The only ones whose voices we don’t want heard are the fraudsters. We conservatives are tired of having our own voices silenced.

And who else would be on the podium with McAuliffe but Stacey Abrams, who never conceded her failed run for governor of Georgia and still maintains that voter suppression kept her from winning that race. As if voter ID and signature verification kept anyone from voting who wanted to. It’s fraud that suppresses the vote of honest people, and that’s the message that needs to be communicated far and wide.

When McAuliffe brought Abrams to the stage, he said, “She would be the governor of Georgia today had the governor of Georgia not disenfranchised 1.4 million Georgia voters before the election. That’s what happened to Stacey Abrams. They took the votes away.”

Which brings us back to Marc Elias and the discussion of just whose votes get taken away. The great Margot Cleveland has a new piece in THE FEDERALIST in which she accuses Democrats in Virginia of “working to make elections sloppy again” as we go into 2022.

In this election that’s essentially neck-and-neck, Cleveland says “the more important trend for Americans to consider...lies not in the tight election, nor even in the party affiliation of the eventual victor, but on efforts by local election officials to violate state law to profit their preferred candidate.”

https://thefederalist.com/2021/10/25/how-virginia-democrats-are-working-to-make-elections-sloppy-again/

There’s a lawsuit in Fairfax County right now, filed by a REAL voter integrity group called the Virginia Institute for Public Policy (VIPP) against the country registrar and three members of the local elections board, over allowing unauthenticated mail-in ballots in violation of state law. A provision is supposed to be in place requiring the last four digits of a voter’s Social Security number, but apparently it’s not being followed.

According to the state constitution, officials aren’t supposed to just suspend a law they don’t like. The Anti-Suspension Clause provides that “all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, by any authority, without consent of the representatives of the people, is injurious to their rights, and ought not be exercised.” If the state legislature requires the last four digits of one’s Social Security number to verify a ballot, then so be it.

As of October 14, this suspension of law had affected at least 339 ballots, according to the filing. Now, 339 ballots might not sound like a lot, but when you’ve got two candidates in a dead heat, it can mean everything. And unauthenticated mail-in ballots should not be deciding this or any other race.

The VIPP has already prevailed in one similar lawsuit, stopping the Virginia State Board of Elections from counting ballots that arrived without a legible postmark as many as three days after the polls closed on Election Day. But even though they won, Cleveland says, the fact that they have to file suits like this at all tells us something very important:

DEMOCRATS ARE WILLING TO BREAK THE LAW TO WIN.

Virginia, she says, is a perfect case study. But I would add that in 2020, Maricopa County was another one, as we saw how Elias and his vast army of lawyers, marching into Arizona in a way that would make Kim Jong-Un swell with pride, got rules changed to make it easier to cheat. No matter what lip service they give to election integrity, counting “every vote,” stopping voter suppression and protecting “our democracy,” they could not actually care less about any of that, as long as they win. Their actions tell it: They’d suppress your vote in a heartbeat if it meant more leftists in office. The top Democrat attorneys like Marc Elias are showing them how it’s done.

In the movie THE RIGHT STUFF, as the U.S. is competing with Russia to be first in space, our lead scientist (who is German) quips, “Our Germans are better than their Germans.” We have to think similarly in fighting the left. Our lawyers have to be better than their lawyers.

Former President Barack Obama has an irritating tendency to appear aloof and disdainful of anyone who holds different views from his, as if they are, of course, wrong, and it’s painful for him to have to tolerate their wrongness. But seldom has his timing in expressing that disdain been worse than during his recent campaign appearance for Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s flailing campaign for Governor in Virginia.

Saturday, Obama backed McAuliffe’s criticism of parents upset at leftist school boards by suggesting their anger is unjustified and not “serious problems that affect serious people.” He sniffed, “We don’t have time to be wasted on these phony trumped-up culture wars, this fake outrage, the right-wing media peddles to juice their ratings.”

https://redstate.com/nick-arama/2021/10/25/obama-gets-fact-checked-hard-over-fake-outrage-claim-about-parents-in-virginia-n463456

That “fake outrage” to which he referred wasn’t just parents' outrage over Critical Race Theory, porn, trans propaganda and socialism being forced onto their kids. It was also about news that the Loudoun County School Board knew about and covered up two brutal rapes of young teenage girls in girls’ bathrooms by a “biological male” in a skirt (or as that used to be known, “a male.”) School officials reportedly moved him to another school after the first rape, where he raped another girl. Other sexual assaults in school also went unreported. Yet the school officials allowed the father of the first victim to be smeared as a “domestic terrorist” for getting justifiably furious at a school board meeting.

Barely had Obama’s haughty and dismissive comments hit the news than word came on Monday that the “biological male” had been found guilty on two rape counts against the first victim. The judge delayed sentencing until after the second case is adjudicated.

https://www.westernjournal.com/bombshell-judge-makes-swift-ruling-controversial-loudoun-county-school-bathroom-sexual-assault-case/

As you might imagine, the blowback against Obama’s highhanded comments was swift and fierce. One Loudoun County father called it “the most tone-deaf statement I have ever heard.” The director of education reform at BEST (Building Education for Students Together) said Obama was either being clueless or misleading the crowd, and that forcing politics down kids’ throats isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue, it’s a parents’ issue.

I’ll toss in my two cents by doing what leftists hate the most: applying their own standards and tactics to themselves. How DARE Obama deny those parents’ truth by seeking to invalidate the genuineness of their outrage? He needs to check his privilege as a rich and famous person whose daughters never set foot in a public school and who have armed Secret Service protection (but if other women carry guns for personal protection from “biological males” invading their private spaces, he wants to take their guns away.) He must apologize immediately and then be canceled anyway!

What’s especially galling about this is that as the de facto leader of the Democratic Party (technically, it’s Joe Biden, but come on, man), Obama heads up an organization built entirely on a mountain of fake outrage. Think about it: what successful policies do the Democrats have to run on? Their brilliant handling of the border, Afghanistan, the economy, COVID, crime, China, energy, etc. etc. etc.? No, putting them in charge for only nine months has already proven that everything they touch becomes a dumpster fire. The only thing they have left to run on is, “You can’t vote for those other guys! Sure, they actually know how to run things, but they’re racist/sexist/trans-homo-whateverphobic!”

It’s a big load of organic manure, but it works with some people. There’s a certain segment of the populace that will overlook all the existential threats brought about by Democratic rule if you scare them enough with stories about how the bad orange man and his followers want to call them by their unpreferred pronouns or make them use the bathroom that actually matches their own plumbing. But as the ugly reality of Democratic “governance” becomes more and more intolerable, more people are seeing through that phony scare tactic and the audience for it is shrinking.

For instance, Biden just hit a new low of 43% approval in Five Thirty Eight’s average of all polls.

https://nypost.com/2021/10/25/bidens-approval-rating-falls-to-new-low-of-43-percent/

And a poll of likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire, the first primary voting state, found that only 37% say they’d vote for Biden if the 2024 primary were held today.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/2024-watch-biden-support-among-democrats-in-first-presidential-primary-state-drops

For once, the outrage is real, it’s justified, and it’s aimed at the Democrats, where it belongs.

Reeder: Too many obituaries

October 26, 2021

I’m sad to have to report the deaths of four popular show business figures over the past week. We extend our condolences to all their families.

Actor James Michael Tyler, best known as Central Perk coffee shop owner Gunther on “Friends,” died Sunday in Los Angeles at 59 of prostate cancer that spread to his bones.

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/friends-actor-james-michael-tyler-dies-at-59

He was working as an actual barista when he was hired as an extra on “Friends” because he knew how to work an espresso machine. It took two years and 33 episodes before he got a name and his first line. The show’s creators liked him so much, they gave him his own story line about his unrequited love for Rachel and remembered him as “a genuinely kind, sweet man.”

He appeared on the “Friends” reunion in May, but only by Zoom because he didn’t want to “bring a downer” on the show. He devoted his last days to promoting prostate cancer exams. He said his goals were to reach his 59th birthday, which he did, and to at least save one life.

Comic actor Peter Scolari has died at 66 after a two-year battle with leukemia.

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/peter-scolari-bosom-buddies-newhart-actor-dead

Scolari first came to fame on the short-lived ABC sitcom “Bosom Buddies,” where he and Tom Hanks played two guys who had to dress as women to keep their apartment, back when we were still allowed to laugh at that. It was originally conceived as a male “Laverne & Shirley,” but not literally. The creators made the mistake of comparing it to a Billy Wilder comedy during the pitch to ABC. Asked to name one of those, they said “Some Like It Hot.” So ABC bought it only on condition that it be retooled to include men in drag. In the second season, they moved away from that and got back to the original premise.

The sitcom allowed for lots of ad-libbing by Scolari and Hanks, who had great comic chemistry. But while Hanks went on to become a superstar, Scolari remained a working actor, constantly appearing in various TV and stage shows. He was nominated for an Emmy three times for “Newhart” and won for a guest role on “Girls.” He and Hanks remained lifelong friends. They reunited on Broadway in 2013 in the play “Lucky Guy,” and Scolari appeared in the Hanks-directed movie, “That Thing You Do.”

Composer/lyricist/playwright Leslie Bricusse died last week at 90. He wrote or co-wrote a number of hit songs that have become standards, many with his partner, singer/actor Anthony Newley, back in the days when Broadway scores birthed pop hits.

Some of his songs include “Gonna Build a Mountain,” “Once in a Lifetime” and “What Kind of Fool Am I?” (the 1963 Grammy-winning Song of the Year) from the Broadway show, “Stop the World, I Want To Get Off;” “Who Can I Turn To,” “On a Wonderful Day Like Today” and “Feeling Good” (recently made ubiquitous by the “American Idol” crowd) from “Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd;” “My Kind of Girl;” “Can You Read My Mind” from “Superman;” “Pure Imagination” and “The Candy Man” from “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory;” “When I Look In Your Eyes” and Best Song Oscar winner “Talk to the Animals” from “Dr. Doolittle;” “If I Ruled the World” from the musical “Pickwick;” and “Le Jazz Hot” from “Victor/Victoria.” And in the era when people actually looked forward to the next James Bond movie, he co-wrote with John Barry the themes from “You Only Live Twice” and “Goldfinger.”

If you’d like to learn more, Mark Steyn’s latest “Song of the Week” podcast is about “Goldfinger.”

https://www.steynonline.com/11807/goldfinger

And finally (I hope, for a long time), Jay Black, lead singer of Jay & The Americans, has died at 82 of complications from pneumonia. The group opened for the Beatles on their first US tour and scored 21 chart hits in the '60s, including “Come A Little Bit Closer,” “Only In America,” “Cara Mia” and hit covers of the Drifters’ “This Magic Moment” and the Ronettes’ “Walkin’ In The Rain.” Trivia: Black’s real name was David Blatt, but he changed it to Jay Black when he took over from the band’s original lead singer, Jay Traynor.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/music-news/jay-black-lead-singer-jay-the-americans-dies-at-82-1235035946/

Tragedy and comedy

October 26, 2021

I’m confused. I need someone from the Democratic Party to explain to me whether questioning the results of an election is treasonous or heroic. Because they can’t seem to make up their minds.

We’ve all heard the caterwauling over anyone who even wants to take a look at the ballots from 2020. They’re crazy conspiracy theorists peddling a “Big Lie!” There’s no such thing as election fraud! Questioning election results is an assault on democracy and an attempt to overthrow the government by insurrection!

Yet in just the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen Hillary Clinton claim that Stacey Abrams really won the 2018 Governor’s race in Georgia (spoiler alert: she did not.) Hillary, of course, also declared Trump an illegitimate President, and was so convinced that Russia helped him steal the 2016 election that her campaign spent a lot of money manufacturing fake evidence to prove it. Seen any Democrats denouncing Hillary for her multiple endorsements of insurrection? Or calling out Abrams for assaulting Democracy? Far from it: she’s considered a big star in leftist circles.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe campaigned with Abrams and repeated her “Big Lie” that she “would be the Governor of Georgia today had the governor of Georgia not disenfranchised 1.4 million Georgia voters before the election…They took the votes away.”

https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/ari-j-kaufman/2021/10/24/mcauliffe-abrams-peddle-conspiracies-to-virginians-at-rally-n1526589

This is horse apples. The voter rolls were purged of inactive voters, but all anyone had to do was show up at the polls and produce an ID and they could get a ballot. Abrams lost by about 55,000 votes. Even the liberal Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigated and found "no evidence…of systematic malfeasance – or of enough tainted votes to force a runoff election."

Listen to enough of this highly selective outrage and it becomes clear that to Democrats, “democracy” means “We win,” and questioning the honesty of an election is “insurrection” only if it’s an election Democrats won. It reminds me of Mel Brooks’ definitions of tragedy and comedy: “’Tragedy’ is if I get a paper cut on my finger. ‘Comedy’ is if you fall into a manhole and die.”

Following George Stephanopoulos’ laughable attempt last weekend to resuscitate Christopher Steele, multiple investigative reporters came out last week to further discredit Steele’s work and to analyze what Special Counsel John Durham revealed in his “speaking indictment” of Clinton attorney Michael Sussmann.

The Sephanopoulos/Steele interview aired by ABC "News" was actually part of an hour-long “documentary” produced for HULU called “OUT OF THE SHADOWS: The Man Behind the Steele Dossier.” I’ll just tell you right now, we have not been able to bring ourselves to watch. I know my slogan is, “We read the news so you don’t have to,” but neither I nor my staff can stand the idea of sitting through it. Life is too short, and there is too much real, serious investigation to keep up with.

So we should thank California Rep. Devin Nunes, who headed the House Intelligence Committee during their investigation of “Crossfire Hurricane,” for making himself watch the whole blasted thing, which he calls “entirely fiction.” For “ABC News to put out something like that is just bizarre,” he said, quipping that ABC should move their headquarters to Fantasyland at its parent company’s Walt Disney World.

https://justthenews.com/accountability/media/rep-devin-nunes-abc-news-hq-should-move-disneys-fantasyland-after-steele

Nunes suspects the media don’t really still believe what Steele said about Trump is true, but that “there’s something more nefarious going on.” He said he has “no idea, you know, what’s behind this –- the timing, the release of this. That anybody would be defending Steele or those dossiers...at this point is an absolute joke.”

He has confidence that Durham is doing “a real investigation,” but he’s concerned that it might not continue, “because we know DOJ is completely politicized.”

So, will Durham be able to continue looking into the FBI’s investigation (“investigation”) of the Clinton Foundation? During AG Merrick Garland’s cringeworthy testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last Thursday, he avoided saying. As part of his larger investigation of the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane,” Durham has been looking into whether donors to the Clinton Foundation got special treatment from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/oct/21/garland-wont-say-whether-special-counsel-durham-st/

Garland was asked specifically if Durham would continue free of political influence, but he skirted that question. He did say that because budgetary provisions are public, we “would know if he weren’t continuing his work.” Hey, thanks, Mr. Attorney General!

John Solomon at JUST THE NEWS followed up in detail after the ABC interview, saying that Steele’s main source and even his friends undercut his claims of “professionalism.” Steele’s work was anything but.

https://justthenews.com/accountability/russia-and-ukraine-scandals/steeles-defense-dossier-collides-avalanche-evidence

Of course, we already knew that the FBI had had to terminate him as a “confidential human source” because he had leaked to the media. Some professionalism.

What’s especially interesting about this latest news from Solomon is that it sheds light on how much information came to Durham from the lawsuit filed against Steele by Alfa Bank, the financial institution wrongly implicated in that story of computer servers "pinging" between their offices and Trump Tower. (Alfa Bank prevailed in that lawsuit.) Steele’s own legal team gave statements in a London courtroom stressing that the dossier was not verified, that much of its information was not corroborated and that he suffered from “strong anti-Trump biases.”

“It is raw intelligence,” they said last year. “It is the basis for further investigation by the recipients. So to put the bar too high in terms of establishing accuracy at that stage would be quite wrong in principle.”

“We can say,” they also stated, “the critical consideration is that his confidential human intelligence was not factual evidence to be used in a personal or public report or in court or anything like that...It was raw intelligence to be passed on as part of a much bigger intelligence picture.”

Someone should have told that to then-CIA Director John Brennan, back when he was insisting the dossier be included in the intelligence agencies’ assessment of Trump’s so-called “Russia” connections. One wonders why he treated such an easily discredited piece of fiction as if it were the Dead Sea Scrolls.

And as for the “much bigger intelligence picture,” we know that, despite what Brennan has tried to claim, the dossier was the cornerstone for “Crossfire Hurricane.” The FBI would not have gotten the warrant to spy on Carter Page without it; in fact, they had been turned down for a similar warrant before.

Solomon’s commentary includes links to the pdf’s of relevant testimony from the Alfa Bank case. He’s got footnotes from our own intelligence community discrediting the dossier (Brennan obviously wasn’t listening). He’s even got pdf’s of the FBI’s notes from their interview with Steele’s primary sub-source, who called it “bar talk and gossip.”

Judicial Watch unearthed still more documents that undercut Steele. JW President Tom Fitton told JUST THE NEWS he was dismayed that ABC News would be lending credibility to the dossier now. “I was disappointed that ABC...gave him, you know, more time to spread this disinformation,” Fitton said. “...He’s been, in my view, thoroughly debunked by official and unofficial investigations, documents you’ve uncovered, we’ve uncovered, the IG has uncovered.”

Bruce Ohr at the Justice Department –- wife of Nellie Ohr who did research for Fusion GPS –- warned that it was unverified raw intelligence and that Steele seemed “desperate” to defeat Trump.

Even former National Security Council expert Fiona Hill –- remember her from Trump’s impeachment? –- who is the person who introduced Steele to his sub-source (thanks, Fiona!), dismissed the dossier as a “rabbit hole,” likely Russian disinformation mixed in with other information that might or night not have been true.

Solomon links to a pdf of a recently declassified FBI re-interview with Steele himself, along with business partner Christopher Burrows, acknowledging his anti-Trump bias in the fall of 2017. The FBI had to know good and well what they were dealing with.

Solomon links to much more –- he characterizes this as an “avalanche” –- that shows Steele and his work for exactly what they were. And yet when Steele sat down with Stephanopoulos, he admitted only that the dossier was not “100 percent” and defended it. It’s shameful that ABC “News” did this horrid piece of “journalism.”

As for Michael Sussmann, he’s not looking too impressive, either. Durham has filed an opposition to his motion for a bill of particulars, arguing that his 27-page “speaking indictment” more than adequately informs him of the charges he faces.

https://technofog.substack.com/p/john-durham-gears-up-against-the

TechnoFog has deciphered Durham’s reply and thinks subpoenas will be going to the DNC, the Hillary Campaign/Hillary for America, Georgia Tech University and the team of cyber experts working on the Alfa Bank hoax, Fusion GPS, and “numerous companies” involved with “Tech Executive – 1,” identified as Rodney Jaffe.

This and much more leads him to think the perpetrators in the Alfa Bank hoax will be charged and that the investigation is much more expansive. He brings up CrowdStrike as well –- referencing, in fact, the article at REAL CLEAR INVESTIGATIONS by Aaron Mate that we brought you a few days ago. A close look at CrowdStrike would “strike” at the heart of what the DNC was up to with the Russia Hoax.

For more on this, here’s a colorful piece from John Solomon.

James Bond or Austin Powers? Inside the cloak and dagger caper to spread Russia collusion tale