Is the Mueller Report a 'Big Lie'?

Screenshot: Rep. Mo Brooks/YouTube

Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks got up on the floor of the House today and quoted Hitler in service of comparing the supposed “Big Lie” of President Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia to a theory from Mein Kampf, according to AL.com.

“For more than two years, socialist Democrats and their fake news media alliesCNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, and countless othershave perpetrated the biggest political lie, con, scam and fraud in American history,” Brooks said.

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“Attorney General Barr’s executive summary of Mueller’s Report has publicly confirmed what many of us have known for a long time. The accusations of collusion between President Trump and Russia in the 2016 elections are nothing but a Big Lie!” he continued.

Of course, Barr’s summary is just that—a summary. We still have not seen the entire report. And even if the report says flat out “Trump didn’t do collusion,” that doesn’t mean that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, or media coverage of it, was a “lie.” The purpose of an investigation is to suss out the truth—soon, hopefully, we’ll have it. And several Trump associates are going to jail for very real crimes they did. That’s a fact.

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But Brooks continued on about the “Big Lie” theory, in which he’s apparently well versed.

“More likely, however, [Trump opponents] will double down and propagate even more Big Lies because doubling down is essential to ‘Big Lie’ theory,” Brooks said on the floor. “In that vein, I quote from another socialist who mastered ‘Big Lie’ propaganda to maximum, and deadly, effect.”

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(In case you’re wondering, no, Hitler was not a socialist, though he named his party the National Socialists.)

Brooks then quoted at length from a translation of Hitler’s book Mein Kampf:

“In the big lie, there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.”

“It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.”

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Brooks concluded with a warning. 

“America can either learn from history or be doomed to repeat it,” he said. “When it comes to ‘Big Lie’ political propaganda in America, as the Mueller report confirms, America’s socialists and their fake news media allies are experts and have no peers.”

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“Regardless, America must reject their ‘Big Lies” or succumb to the danger that lurks, and horrific damage that results,” he added.

There sure is a lot going on here!

Despite being authored by a historic mass murderer, there is something to be said for Hitler’s “Big Lie” theory, which essentially posits that it’s harder to disprove a big lie than a small lie, because people don’t want to believe that their trusted authorities would traffic in profound falsehoods. Look at Trump’s rhetoric on immigration, for example. How could a leader completely fabricate a “crisis” of the scale Trump says exists on our border? There must be something going on that warrants the level of panic instilled by the administration, right? Right?!

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American exceptionalism is another massive lie that it’s hard for many us, even Democrats, to let go. Many of us have spent our lives learning that if we work hard and try our best, our country will reward us with a stable and humane existence (if it doesn’t, that must be our own fault). We’ve been taught that America is a uniquely moral and just country that has, despite some minor slip ups, largely acted as an arbiter of morality and democracy around the world.

Both of these ideas are clearly false, but to reckon with that requires a momentous shift in how many of us understand the world. Better to believe that the Democrats are involved in a conspiracy to sexually abuse children, or that immigrants are sneaking through our borders to kill you, or that Trump is an unprecedented threat to our nation that came out of nowhere.

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Brooks isn’t entirely wrong about the media, either. Cable news, in particular, has played a role in exaggerating the expected results of the Mueller report, which are still unknown. There are arguments to be made that their focus on the investigation was out of proportion with the threats posed by alleged Russian collusion as opposed to the very real impacts of family separation at the border or the Muslim ban.

But this is merely a criticism of their focus. The media was, at least, reporting what they believed to be true. If anyone in our public is selling a Big Lie, it’s Trump—the biggest, best liar of them all.

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