Robert Mueller | Flickr

For two years, we have heard that Donald Trump is a Russian stooge, an agent of the Kremlin, a traitor who will be thrown in prison, and a trea­sonous and ille­git­imate pres­ident — all false, on every count.

On Sunday night, Attorney General William Barr sent a four-page letter to Con­gress sum­ma­rizing the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s two-year inves­ti­gation into the Trump cam­paign. “The special counsel’s inves­ti­gation did not find that the Trump cam­paign or anyone asso­ciated with it con­spired or coor­di­nated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 election,” Barr wrote.

Just like that, two years of nonstop Trump-Russia con­spiracy the­ories peddled by the main­stream media fell flat.

“This was an illegal takedown that failed,” Trump told reporters. And he’s right.

To America’s ruling class, the 2016 election was ille­git­imate, but not because of corrupt processes or manip­u­lated votes. It was ille­git­imate because the wrong person won.

Con­sider the history of Trump-Russia hys­teria: Starting in October 2015, a variety of anti-Trump actors, ranging from neo­con­ser­v­a­tives asso­ciated with the Wash­ington Free Beacon to Demo­c­ratic oper­a­tives with the Hillary Clinton cam­paign, com­mis­sioned research firm Fusion GPS to look into Trump’s per­sonal and pro­fes­sional life. In June 2016, Fusion GPS hired British spy Christopher Steele to search for any con­nec­tions between Trump and the Rus­sians. Steele worked with Russian Intel­li­gence agents to pro­duced the infamous Steele dossier, a report full of poten­tially cam­paign-ending charges, most notably alle­ga­tions of col­lusion between the Russian gov­ernment and the Trump cam­paign.

This report was passed on to the press, which for the most part it declined to publish because the claims were so out­landish and unsup­ported by any evi­dence. But this wasn’t too flimsy for the late Sen. John McCain (R‑Ariz.). Always a fan of regime change — only this time at home — McCain (along with others) gave the dossier to the FBI in hopes of sinking Trump once and for all.

Pres­ident Obama’s FBI sub­mitted this “sala­cious and unver­ified” evi­dence, in the words of former FBI Director James Comey, in an appli­cation for a FISA warrant to spy on Carter Page, a former foreign policy advisor for the Trump cam­paign. The charge, of course, was foreign col­lusion. Realize the irony: a foreign col­lusion inves­ti­gation sparked by a fake dossier, created by a Brit in con­junction with Russian intel­li­gence agencies, then used by the Obama admin­is­tration as a pre­tense to open an FBI inves­ti­gation into members of the opposing party’s cam­paign. After this fiasco and pro­lific criminal leaks, Trump fired Comey and the Mueller inves­ti­gation began shortly there­after in May 2017.

For the last two years, Amer­icans have been force-fed a con­spiracy theory more wide­spread, more dam­aging, and more desta­bi­lizing to our demo­c­ratic norms than any­thing any YouTube crackpot has ever said. And all of it inten­tional. This nar­rative had real con­se­quences for our national unity. The inves­ti­gation bit­terly divided our nation and plunged us into a cold civil war. How are Democrats sup­posed to view the half of the country that elected a man who con­spired with a malev­olent foreign gov­ernment to steal the election? And how should Repub­licans think of the rest of their coun­trymen when they see a per­manent, entrenched deep state launching an effort to expel the duly-elected pres­ident from office?

America’s media and ruling class con­cocted this hoax to pick a new winner in the 2016 election, because in their view, the American people got it wrong. Somehow, some way, Trump must be removed from office. The FBI harassed and impeded the Trump admin­is­tration over the last two years using every tool at their dis­posal: 19 lawyers, 40 FBI agents, 2,800 sub­poenas, 500 wit­nesses, 500 search war­rants, 230 com­mu­ni­ca­tions records, 50 phone taps, and 13 foreign gov­ernment intel­li­gence requests. Who, exactly, is the threat to our democracy again?

“I knew they would stop at nothing to try to stop me,” Trump told his sup­porters during the cam­paign. “Nev­er­theless, I take all of these slings and arrows gladly for you. I take them for our movement so that we can have our country back.”

Trump appears to have sur­vived these slings and arrows — for now. But rest assured, more are coming. Acrimony and insta­bility serve only to dele­git­imize the pres­ident — and that’s the goal. Unlike rogue Twitter users, the false prophets of “Rus­si­agate” won’t lose their plat­forms. No one will pay a price for being wrong. Those wholly unse­rious people who fell for this hoax, a claim ludi­crous on its face, don’t have any interest in account­ability, nor do they care for any answers as to why this was allowed to happen.

As for getting our country back, it’s clear to everyone now that America’s ruling class will deploy every weapon they have to hijack the 2016 election until the very end.

Gar­rison Grisedale is a George Wash­ington Fellow and a senior studying Pol­itics.