The roots of Trump’s victory lie in middle America – not Moscow – and dectractors who fail to recognise this are unwittingly ensuring him a second term.
A confession: I’ve no secret sources at the CIA, know nobody at the NSA to treat for coffee, and have yet to receive an encrypted file from anyone at one of the 15 or so other US intelligence agencies.
Some people do, though. And it’s their stories that have dominated the media in recent weeks – a steady drip of anecdote and innuendo, with some supporting facts and an attendant caveat, suggesting the 45th US president may be an agent of Moscow; the so-called “Siberian Candidate”.
For millions, such stories are a welcome balm. However disturbing and treasonous a proposition they represent, to supporters of Hillary Clinton, they assuage the still sharp pain of defeat.
It enables them to explain the seemingly inexplicable; how did perhaps the most prepared presidential candidate in US political history lose to the host of The Apprentice?
There are two problems with this. Firstly, to date, there remains no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the election.
Yes the Russians may have wanted to sway its outcome, just as the US and the UK have for decades – and with greater impact – interfered with elections around the world. Yet there is no evidence they succeeded.
Yes Trump said very early on that he wanted to reset the strategic relationship with Russia, a relationship he believed had been hampered by a Cold War mind-set. He said it would be better for everyone if he got along with Vladimir Putin.
And yes members of his team may have have met Russian officials in the run up to the election, something diplomats say is common for all prospective administrations. And indeed, some of those officials may have failed to come clean about those meetings or conversations, an error or miscalculation that cost General Michael Flynn his job as National Security Adviser.