An attempted “paper coup” to remove President Donald Trump from the White House was made by “Russiagate” conspirators, explained Lee Smith, author of The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History, in a Wednesday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.
Smith drew on a chapter entitled “The Paper Coup” from The Plot Against the President, describing attempts to entrap Trump in an action that could be framed as obstruction of justice by the architects of the “Russia hoax.”
“My argument is that this was a real coup,” said Smith. “Imagine the top officials at the Pentagon dropped into the Department of Justice and the FBI, what they would use is not artillery, not tanks, not helicopters, not aircraft. What they would use is paper, and that’s what they did. They surrounded the White House with memos, with news reports, with various documents, with a falsified report — the Steele dossier — and then the political document known as the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment.”
Smith continued, “That’s what they were doing, surrounding the White House with paper. … At a certain point, they understood quite well, there was no such thing as Russian collusion. They were trying to topple the president. … They were trying to set up obstruction traps, trying to get him to obstruct or get him to do something that they could call obstruction of justice. That was the plan, and it started with James Comey, with his March 20, 2017, testimony in front of the House Intelligence Community, and this is an important chapter in the book, chapter 14, ‘The Paper Coup.’”
Smith went on, “That’s how it first starts. [Comey] announces an investigation, and then at that point, whatever Trump does will set him up for a possible obstruction of justice charge, that he is interfering with an ongoing investigation. Once Comey actually is fired, it’s then passed on to special counsel and Comey’s predecessor at the FBI, Robert Mueller, and this is a nearly two-year-long setup, trying to find Trump in some sort of trap, a way to ensnare him in an obstruction trap. That was the nature of the post-election coup.”
The narrative framing Trump as “in cahoots” with Russia began during the 2015 presidential election campaign season, noted Smith.
“The pre-election anti-Trump campaign was about two things,” Smith remarked. “It was about defending against a possible October surprise and providing a possible October surprise. They wanted to make Trump look like he was compromised by the Russians and [that] he and [Vladimir Putin] were working together, so if damning emails — the emails that Hillary Clinton had ostensible deleted from her server — had resurfaced, there would be an explanation for them.”
Mansour invited Smith’s “elevator pitch” summary of his findings for political observers.
“Russiagate is an elite conspiracy theory,” replied Smith. “A conspiracy theory constructed by the American elite. It was not constructed in the fever swamps of the Internet. It’s not from the dark web. It’s not from the things that people say we’re supposed to be scared of on the Internet. It comes from places like the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC-NBC.”
Smith continued, “It’s a very scary thing, and I understand why, with all these prestige news organizations [coming] out with this story why it convinced a lot of people it must be true. Nonetheless, the response to this book shows that people around the country — people with good, common sense — recognize it was nonsense from the beginning.”
Exposure of “Russiagate” amounted to an “extinction level event” for the reputations of “prestige media” and assorted “experts” and “think tanks,” estimated Smith.
“I think one of the huge problems here, is that — I see it as a problem, and maybe it’s not, maybe other people see it as a huge upside — for the elite, for the press, for the expert community, for the think tank community, this is an extinction level event,” determined Smith. “How is it possible to believe them on anything ever again?”
Smith added, “I write it about this in the book; I say only a mad person would entrust their fate or the fates of their families, of their homes, their wealth, [or] their investments to what the press says. I mean, after going through this? It’s madness.”
“We have press, we have you guys, what you’re doing at Breitbart,” stated Smith. “One of the positive things that I see is on the Internet [is that] there aren’t just people who are wanting information, but there are regular folks who are not professional journalists but are also providing information [and] doing research. … They know how to read documents, legal documents, and they provide them. This is one of the things that makes me optimistic.”
“Russiagate” exacerbated political visions across America, assessed Smith.
“But what Russiagate has done, it has split the American public in a very dangerous way,” determined Smith. “Insofar as you’re asking how we can talk to people who still believe this thing, I think, right now, we can’t. I think that’s why it’s so insanely destructive what Hillary Clinton’s campaign and what rogue law enforcement authorities and the press have done. They have helped split the country. It’s a terrible thing.”
Smith concluded, “I didn’t come up with the title for the book, but I believe it. This is something that really happened. There was an attempted coup. They tried to undo an election, right? Intelligence officials, the press, political operatives, this is a very bad thing. This is a very bad sign. This is a terrible thing.”
Breitbart News Tonight broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot channel 125 weeknights from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern or 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.