Bob Woodward’s book Fear has been a sensation in many respects. But one aspect has barely been mentioned. After two years of exhaustive research for his book, Woodward says that he has found no evidence of collusion between Putin’s government and Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016. Zilch, nada, zero. And Woodward strained very hard looking for it.
This largely ignored blockbuster admission came in a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt reported by Real Clear Politics here, where a recording of the full interview can also be found. Real Clear Politics reports the text of the exchange thus:
"In an interview with Hugh Hewitt on Friday, Bob Woodward said that in his two years of investigating for his new book, Fear, he found no evidence of collusion or espionage between Trump and Russia. Woodward said he looked for it ‘hard’ and yet turned up nothing.
"’Did you, Bob Woodward, hear anything in your research in your interviews that sounded like espionage or collusion?’ Hugh Hewitt asked Woodward.
“’I did not, and of course, I looked for it, looked for it hard,’ Woodward answered. ‘And so you know, there we are. …..’ (Emphasis, jw)
“’But you’ve seen no collusion?’ Hewitt asked again to confirm.
“’I have not,’ Woodward affirmed.
"Hewitt would once again ask Woodward about collusion at the conclusion of the interview.
“’Very last question, Bob Woodward, I just want to confirm, at the end of two years of writing this book, this intensive effort, you saw no effort, you, personally, had no evidence of collusion or espionage by the president presented to you?’ Hewitt asked.
“’That is correct,’ Woodward said."
The attitude in the mass media with respect to the work that Woodward has done on Fury borders on a sort of deification. He is considered careful, exhaustive and reliable. He is considered to have sources throughout the government that provide the best information possible. So it is said, over and over. Thus, his word on this issue should be worth its weight in gold. Unfortunately, this failure to uncover collusion barely gets covered.
The issue of collusion hangs over the head of the Presidency, unresolved after two years. Why is this of great importance? It should not need to be said, but the issue of collusion involves the two nuclear superpowers, each of which has 1550 nuclear weapons on hair trigger alert ready to go at a moment’s notice and capable of reaching one another within minutes. It is an issue that can affect our very survival.
As Daniel Ellsberg informs us in his book, The Doomsday Machine, this situation is fraught with the chance of miscalculation or accident, which would immediately engulf us in nuclear holocaust leading to the death of billions and possibly of all humanity. This issue of collusion and its embodiment in the Mueller investigation in a dispute often called Russiagate has prevented the Presidents of Russia and the US from meeting sufficiently long to deal with this nuclear danger. And as Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian History at Princeton University, has often pointed out, this prevents our President from making concessions on some issues to get movement on others. Anything less than a tough guy approach, the approach of an Über-hawk, is treated by an hysterical press with suspicion and denunciation.
Take the recent and very brief Summit between Trump and Putin in Helsinki as an example. Condemnation was everywhere in the media and the follow-up Summit has been postponed until next year, probably out of concern for how the press would treat it leading up to the midterms. This has happened even though it does not quite make sense. Polling showed that a majority of the American people approved of the Helsinki Summit and also of the planned follow-up. Over 60% desire improved relationship with Russia, sometimes called Détente 2.0. And yet there was virtually no support voiced for this Summit from the US Peace Community, CodePink being a prominent exception.
So let us take note. Woodward has added his voice to those who have been unable to find any evidence of collusion with Russia. After two years of finding nothing and given the danger that the crippling of US-Russia relation poses to our survival, is it not time to say "Enough"?
Woodward has now added his voice to many, many others. They have worked hard for years and have found no evidence for collusion. Enough of Partisanship and hysteria. For the sake of our survival, Enough.
John V. Walsh, formerly a Professor of Physiology and Cellular Neuroscience at an East Coast Medical School, writes on issues of health care and those of war and peace and was twice a candidate for US Congress. He can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com. He thanks Jean Bricmont, author of Humanitarian Imperialism for calling the Hewitt-Woodward interview to his attention.