Russiagate: In Memoriam

Friday evening, Robert Mueller — patron saint of Indictments — handed his final report over to Attorney General William Barr, bringing an end to more than two years of McCarthyite hysteria, baseless speculations, and unhinged jingoism. Kidding. We’ll probably be in the cold ground before Rachel Maddow pipes down about Russia.

What really did end was the investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government. And it ended with a whimper. No clear signs of collusion. All the terrifying Mueller memes in the world didn’t result in indictments for Trump, not even for Trump Jr or Jared Kushner. Mueller himself recommended no further indictments, dealing a devastating blow to the hopes liberals hung on the investigation ending with vindication that Hillary Clinton lost to Trump due to an extraordinarily coordinated operation between Trump and the Kremlin.

Many on the left who exercised healthy skepticism have been labeled bots, traitors, pro-Kremlin while the ones who fell for it have since Friday been engaging in varying degrees of goalpost-moving, denialism, doubling down, blatant revisionism, and in rare cases genuine acceptance. The focus of this In Memoriam won’t be pointed at any of them. We’ve all at some point or other been taken in by similarly comforting escapism. This In Memoriam focuses instead on the takers. The shameless game theorists, lawyers, college professors, etc who saw an opening and pounced on it. Presented below are the grifters and the peddlers in their own words, upon realization that the jig might suddenly be up. For Louise Mensch, Seth Abramson and company… a swan song.

Eric Garland

Eric Garland arguably struck gold first with his now infamous call for some “game theory.” I can’t ignore how many well-respected blue checkmarks boosted his adderall-addled ramblings and have since rid themselves of any memory of ever taking part in it. What’s Eric been up to since Friday’s news? Denialism with hints of doubling down as seen here where he invites followers to join something called GameTheoryToday.

Seth Abramson

Fun fact about Seth Abramson that doesn’t get mentioned enough is his involvement with Shia LaBeouf’s weird plagiarism-as-art venture he got press for sometime around 2012. From there, he went on to craft poetry out of a mass shooter’s manifesto, showcasing even back then his knack for doing things in good taste. Somewhere in between those ventures, he’s worked as a writing professor, a lawyer, and a blogger. If you thought Friday’s news would slow him down, you obviously don’t know the extent of Thread Abramson’s resilience in the face of adversity.

Louise Mensch

Louise Mensch, a former Tory MP, fried her brain from doing too much drugs, decided to brand herself a journalist, and stitched together unfounded pronouncements about the investigation that got published in the New York Times, launching a grift that others could only aspire to. Her tweet confirming the death penalty for Steve Bannon goes down in history as one of the most powerful tweets of the Russiagate era. So far, she’s spent the weekend hanging on to House Rep Adam Schiff’s use of the word ‘probable’ as if hanging on to a cliff overlooking a school of hungry sharks.


Scott Dworkin

BREAKING: Scott Dworkin’s scam involves getting people to donate to his Dem Coalition which he claims is one of the biggest grassroots Resistance organizations except he has nothing to show for it. You wouldn’t know this just going by how often he got invited on MSNBC, parading himself as an expert consultant. Reading through his most recent twitter missives, it appears he’s been engaging in tepid denialism barely worth inclusion here but this particular tweet stands out for the amount of desperation contained in it. It kinda looks like Scott’s hinting that Mueller might scale the white house fence and perp-walk Trump himself.

Malcolm Nance

Malcolm Nance read a few Wikipedia entries on Russia and just like that, he became a trusted analyst on the subject, invited with alarming frequency on MSNBC where his often outlandish pronouncements went completely unchecked by hosts and other guests. In fairness to Nance, he has more credentials than the previously listed scammers, having served as a cryptology specialist in the Navy sometime during the 90s. It’s his decision, with enabling from MSM outlets desperate for ratings, to get rich passing himself off as an expert on Russia that earns him the grifter label. Here he is still insisting the Russiagate skeptics are Kremlin agents.

Claude Taylor

A while ago, Claude Taylor, or TrueFactsStated, gave up every pretense he isn’t just in the Russiagate hustle to sell his terrible MADDOG PAC apparel. Best way to resist after being let down by the Mueller Report? Shop Now!

Jen Kirkman

Jen Kirkman blocked my account sometime last year. She’s pretty much blocked everyone on the left after accusing them of being bots. In the slew of celebrity Russiagate peddlers, Kirkman is probably the most confounding. Everything from dismissing fans who politely disagree with her deranged theories as trolls to accusing AOC of being a Russian spy. Her standup seems pretty decent and gives no indication of what she spends her off hours doing. She supposedly has normal people around her that should be able to stage some sort of intervention and probably have already. Yet, the last two years have seen her sink farther and farther into the deep end. There’s a small chance of it being Joaquin Phoenix styled performance art being filmed as part of a pseudo-documentary. How else would you explain galaxy-brained takes like this?

The Krassensteins

The Krassensteins need no introduction. Reply-guy legends. Twins. Absolutely shredded. Florida-based. Weird as hell. Have scammed before Russiagate. Will scam again. What’s always set these two apart is the earnestness on display even when they’re engaging their many detractors. The standard-issue Russiagate peddler would block you, then accuse you of being a Putin-bot behind the block. Not the Krassensteins, to my knowledge at least. It’s shitlib brainworms mixed with extremely Chad energy and it makes for magical moments like tweeting pictures of themselves shirtless while their kids look on to flex on people dunking on them for their “Mueller as a chippendale” fan art.

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the Krassenteins are tweeting through it. Floating theories more at home in an airport potboiler than in reality:

Interesting hybrid here of acceptance/goalpost-moving (or the takeaway here is that Ed believes Hillary actually did get away with Benghazi and Emailgate *shrug emoji*):


Moving on to peddlers who have managed to maintain the followership of more discerning observers:

David Frum

David Frum of the taking part in the justification for the Iraq War David Frum. One of the “nevertrumpers” accepted into the Resistance. Senior Editor at The Atlantic. Occasionally puts forward outwardly fascist positions democrats could adopt between lazy liberal claptrap that’s slowly becoming his stock and trade. Put David somewhere in the acceptance camp but don’t think for a second it might put a stop to his grift.

Neera Tanden

Neera Tanden got her start in the Bill Clinton administration, then moved on to helm John Podesta’s Center for American Progress where she’s since proven herself to the world as a true Clinton acolyte. The leaked DNC emails from 2016 exposed the sham of her position in CAP as a progressive policy advocate, revealing her naked opportunism in emails where she blurred lines between her role as acting head of CAP and Clinton adviser. Tanden is unique in the sense that she’s given every impression that she gets paid to be online at all hours, hanging out with the absolute worst NeverBernie critters like Ragnarok Lobster and Hoarse Whisperer, hounding progressives for the unforgivable act of reporting facts about terrible candidates the establishment continues to throw their weight behind. Perhaps no one else on this list had more vested interest in seeing the Mueller investigation result in findings of collusion so what’s Tanden been up to since Friday’s news? Looking at her feed, mostly slim pickings minus a few retweets asking that the report be made public. Could be a sign she’s distancing herself from it all in the smartest way possible. I don’t know. Filing this one under acceptance and eagerness to hop on the next train that might get her as close to the white house as possible.

Rachel Maddow

Last but certainly not least… Rachel Maddow. Folks, if you’re like me, you vaguely remember a time when Rachel Maddow wasn’t fucking insane. Stephen Colbert was still “Stephen Colbert,” Kanye West hadn’t begun teasing The Life of Pablo or his transition from problematic fave to performatively canceled, and no one knew or cared to know whether or not Mercury was in retrograde (I checked!). Catching an episode of Maddow anytime in the last year or two however left you with a feeling of whiplash. Who is this person? What happened to the ostensible progressive who got her start on Air America? One word. 2016. 2016 happened. Of all the big-name liberals who absolutely lost their minds in 2016, Maddow is perhaps rivaled only by Jen Kirkman. A thorough audit of the Russiagate hysteria wouldn’t be complete without her famously anti-climatic broadcast of the first two pages from Trump’s 2005 tax returns that did little to justify the suspense she shamelessly clouded it in for ratings. She would move on to other deranged antics like claiming just recently that Russia could easily avail itself of the U.S. power grid during the polar vortex. Maddow’s grift rewarded her in the form of ratings and in that avenue, she’s been mostly unrivaled. Friday’s news brought her to literal tears on her show as the realization slowly dawned on her that she might finally have to cover actual news stories again.

I’m not owned, she continues to insist.

Looking at all these reactions, I’m starting to sense that this In Memoriam might’ve been a bit premature. As long as there’s still refusal among top democrats and their media talking heads to come face to face with how terrible a candidate Hillary was, the Russiagate hustle may never die. In the end, the collusion may have just been the friends we made along the way.