Reporting February 14 that Trump campaign officials had contacts with Russia in the year before the Nov. 8 election, the New York Times pushes the conspiracy theory of Hillary Campaign Chairman John Podesta that the Trump campaign conspired with Russian President Vladimir Putin to win the election. Without any proof, including recorded phone conversations, the New York Times insists that intercepted calls show unidentified Trump campaign officials had contacts with Russia intelligence officials, though it’s not uncommon for Russian intelligence to monitor phone calls. Without offering any proof, the New Times expands Podesta’s call to the Electoral College that electors deserve a full accounting from the intel community about Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. Putting two-and-two together doesn’t mean the Trump campaign conspired with Russia.

Whether or not anyone connected with the Trump campaign talked with anyone in Russia doesn’t mean they were engaged in a coordinated effort with Russia to defeat former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Podesta floated the Russia conspiracy theory, hoping electors would demand an intel report before meeting Dec. 19, 2016 to certify the Electoral College. Before raising the Russian conspiracy theory, Podesta blamed FBI Director James Comey for opening up a new FBI probe into Hillary two weeks before Election Day. When that went flat and Hillary continued tolose steam, Podesta raised the Russian conspiracy theory. Now the New York Times blows more smoke talking about intercepted calls from Trump campaign officials. Though pointing out they have no proof any Trump officials colluded with Russia, the report fans more conspiracy theory.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of Trump’s former campaign rivals and biggest critics on Capitol Hill, called the New York Times report today a “game changer,” even though there’s no proof of any wrongdoing. Graham’s comments whip up the liberal press to continue reporting on something so specious, so wrought with speculation and innuendo, so conspiratorial to validate Podesta’s campaign narrative of why Hillary lost the election. Podesta’s Russia conspiracy theory hoped de-legitimize Trump’s 306 Electoral College victory. If only the Hillary campaign with its friends at the New York Times could invalidate the Nov. 8 election, proving Trump conspired with Putin to win the 2016 election. Only one small problem: Hillary won the popular vote by nearly 3 million, proving, that whatever Russia did or didn’t do, it certainly didn’t affect the outcome.

Podesta’s Russian conspiracy theory would have you believe that disgruntled voters in the Rust Belt, including Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, were manipulated by Vladimir Putin. Somehow, Putin’s brainwashing didn’t work on the East or West coasts. Publishing their Valentine’s Day surprise, the New York Times sets the content for CNN and other anti-Trump news shows. Holding a press conference today, Trump raised the issue of the dishonest, biased media. In a new exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta, Trump responded to Acosta’s question about whether the president’s criticism of the press hurts the First Amendment. Trump tried to say that the biggest threat to the First Amendment were liberal news groups running amok with “fake news.” Trump shared with Acosta the anti-Trump vitriol pouring out of daily programming at CNN. Acosta couldn’t deny it.

Watching Trump fire his National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn Feb. 14 for allegedly giving Vice President Mike Pence incomplete information about his contacts with Russian Amb. Sergey Vislyak only added to the Russia conspiracy theory. Flynn told Pence he talked to Vislyak about scheduling issues on Dec. 28, 2016, the day former President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats, slapping the Kremlin with more sanctions for alleged meddling in the 2016 campaign. Turns out, Flynn talked with Vislak about Obama’s outrageous sanctions, hoping Vlislak would show patience until Trump’s inauguration Jan. 20. With Russian hysteria sweeping Capitol Hill and the American press, Flynn’s phone calls feed the conspiracy theory that Trump’s in cahoots with the Russians. Whatever contacts anyone from the Trump campaign had with Russia, it had nothing to do with Nov. 8.

Admitting in the New York Times report that “contacts” included members of the Russian government outside the intel services or that “contacts” were Trump associates not connected with the campaign shows how easily the report was misinterpreted by the liberal press and broadcast media. CNN, MSNBC and other left-leaning media outlets jumped all over the Times report as proof of Podestia’s Russian conspiracy theory. Whatever dealings Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort had with Russia or the Ukraine doesn’t mean he conspired with Russia’s FSB [formerly KGB] to sabotage Hillary’s campaign. Winning 3 million more popular votes than Trump proves Russia didn’t have much impact in the 2016 race. Beating a dead horse about Hillary’s loss, the New York Times and other liberal media outlets continue to push Podesta’s discredited conspiracy theory about why Hillary lost.