Liberal Delaware Sen. Chris Coons caused a stir last week when he indicated during a televised interview that yet-undisclosed transcripts of recorded phone conversations conclusively prove that elements of the Trump campaign explicitly colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election. Yet widely-circulated "bombshell" reports from the New York Times and CNN in recent weeks quoted sources who had no choice but to underline that there is no evidence of such coordination, and that the alleged contacts between Trump allies and Russian officials were not even necessarily unusual in nature. Therefore, it's understandable why this statement from Coons -- a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- touched off a fresh, feverish round of breathless speculation and rumors. Here's the clip, via MSNBC:
COONS: I think it’s important that the outcome of that counter-intelligence investigation be fully shared with the intelligence committees, both in the House and the Senate. There are transcripts that provide very helpful, very critical insights into whether or not Russian intelligence and senior Russian political leaders, including Vladimir Putin, were cooperating, were colluding with the Trump campaign at the highest levels to influence the outcome of our election. And if that information is stonewalled or hidden away and if we are not able to get that on the Senate intelligence committee, House intelligence committee then I think that has real consequences for our democracy.
MITCHELL: Do such transcripts exist? Is that what you’re saying?
COONS: I have not seen them. I believe they exist.
As the internet is so fond of saying, "whoa, if true." Alas, here is Coons' walk-back under questioning from Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace. It turns out that reckless and sloppy pronouncements from powerful politicians isn't a partisan phenomenon (skip ahead to the 1:50 mark):
What I was trying to make clear, Chris, and I appreciate a chance to restate this, is that I don't have -- and I don't know of -- any conclusive proof, one way or the other.
Well, he most certainly did not make that point clear. On Russia, the Left keeps overreaching and making themselves look foolish and hysterical when it's revealed that they can't back up their conspiratorial bravado. Speaking of conspiracies, read this Erick Erickson post piecing together a timeline of media reports on the Russia story, and how they've corresponded with major moments in Donald Trump's campaign and presidency. Is this the stuff of tin foil hats, or might there be something to it? Erickson isn't the only conservative (nor the only Trump-skeptical conservative, I should also note) who is raising red flags about this suspicious timing. As you contemplate that question, please recall this reporting about Obama loyalists allegedly helping to choreograph the dissemination of information that led to the resignation of a prominent Iran Deal critic within the Trump administration. And before you go, watch former White House spokesman Josh Earnest duck a question about whether Obama forces might be behind some of the national security leaks that have consumed much of Trump's early term.