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    U.S. President Donald Trump (from L), joined by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Communications Director Sean Spicer and senior advisor Steve Bannon, speaks by phone with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017

    Journalist: Russiagate Investigation is ‘Petering Out’ in ‘Great Confusion’

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    Iconoclastic former Breitbart chief editor and former White House senior adviser Steve Bannon refused to answer questions before the House Intelligence Committee and has been subpoenaed to testify before Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury. Bannon has opted to be interviewed by Mueller instead.

    Brian Becker and John Kiriakou of Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear spoke to Daniel Lazare, a freelance progressive journalist and author about Bannon and about Mueller's investigation.

    To Lazare, the Russiagate investigation "is petering out. It's changing shape, going off in different directions. It's really hard to figure out what's happening. Bannon apparently is cooperating with the White House, they're consulting on legal strategy, but I have no idea what it means. I assume that Bannon doesn't know much, but I'm very skeptical of Russiagate from the start."

    Kiriakou pointed out that Mueller's investigation of Bannon may be rooted in the controversial comments he made to journalist Michael Wolff, who logged them in his explosive book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House." "That makes sense to me," said Lazare. "It certainly seems plausible, but I don't know anything more than that. I just know this whole thing is veering off in strange directions. No one knows where in the world it will wind up."

    Becker and Kiriakou discussed how the investigation has essentially given Mueller carte blanche to do whatever he likes. It has also led to supreme cognitive dissonance for the mainstream left, as they are forced to defend Mueller and the FBI, an organization that they have traditionally aligned themselves against.

    But Lazare was less amused by the strangeness of the situation and more cynical. "This has been going on for 15 months now, ever since the election, and it'll keep on going on. There's a great big confusion and liberals are playing a fool's game," because as they focus on the dead end that is Russiagate, Trump's approval ratings continue to tick up. Trump's approval has increased from the mid-30's in the summer to about 40 percent, according to aggregator FiveThirtyEight.

    "Meanwhile Ben Cardin, a Democratic senator from Maryland, has issued a white hot anti-Russia report which reads like something out of the HUAC [House Un-American Activities Committee, which zealously investigated alleged communist infiltration of American society] from the 1950's," said Lazare. "As bad as Trump is, the Democrats are giving him a run for his money. They are actually out outflanking him on the right, which is no small achievement, but they're doing it."

    Without the Democrats to effectively oppose his agenda, Lazare opined, Trump will be free to impose a far-right, racist, sexist and xenophobic vision of America on the nation. "It's very bad for the mass of the American people, who are being dragged to the far right by both hands, by the Democrats and the Republicans. Where will American society wind up in this whole process? Democrats should ask themselves where are they going with all this."


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