A full year after Donald Trump lost his quest for re-election, one of the dominant assumptions about his failed presidency is having to be reassessed. Let me put that rather more strongly: it is being turned on its head and exposed for the self-reinforcing collection of lies and misinformation that it always was. You could call it a conspiracy.
I am talking about the claims that together comprised what came to be known as “Russiagate”: where the central accusation, as you may recall, was that Trump had colluded with Russia (or Russia with him) – first to win the presidency, then to use the power of the White House in the interests of a hostile foreign state.
Put so baldly, that might sound absurd, and so it was, but this is the story that a large number of Americans and much international opinion willingly – even enthusiastically – embraced. And why wouldn’t they? The election of Trump was widely considered aberrant by civilised western opinion.
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