Ultimately, I suspect, John Durham will break your heart. At least, he will if you think, as I once hoped, that he was going to get to the bottom of the soft coup that was the Russia Collusion Hoax.
I admit that I have been bucked up, somewhat, by Durham’s three indictments. Why only somewhat? First, I remember the many long months of silence. He didn’t call, didn’t write. I began to think he didn’t care. Then, in August of 2020, the radio crackled briefly to life. Amazing! John Durham, who had initially been presented as a sort of super Canadian Mounty, a prosecutor who always got his man, had come in from the cold with that scary facial hair and flashing spectacles with a real, honest-to-goodness indictment.
At first blush, anyway, it seemed like a choice one. He had entered a felony charge against Kevin Clinesmith, the FBI lawyer who altered an email and then lied about it in order to get a warrant to spy on Carter Page, an American citizen, and thereby open a back door to root around, secretly, in the interstices of the entire Trump campaign and, later, the Trump administration. (I inject the italics to highlight the severity of the tort: the CIA said Page was a CIA asset; Clinesmith altered it to say he was not a CIA asset. Do not try this at home.) Alas, basically nothing came of it. Clinesmith got…probation.
The second indictment was just a few months ago. This was against Michael Sussmann, a lawyer at Perkins Coie, who pretended to be an impartial, public-spirited citizen. He went to the FBI with fabricated evidence purporting to show that the Trump organization had an illicit link to the Alfa Bank in Russia. He explicitly denied any connection to the Hillary campaign.
The link between Trump and the Russian bank was fictional — there was no connection — and we know now that Sussman was a Hillary Clinton crony and worked at the law firm that covertly funneled money from her campaign and the DNC to Fusion GPS, which in turn paid Christopher Steele, he of the bogus dossier. Nothing much has happened to Sussmann yet, either, though perhaps it is early days.
The third indictment came just a week back and was filed against Igor Danchenko, the Russian-born analyst who fed the garbage about micturating whores, secret Kremlin deals, and 59 varieties of financial corruption to Steele. Durham’s indictment, by the way, said nothing about the substance of those allegations. It merely covered the fact that Danchenko — who, like so many actors in this little melodrama, works at the woke, Democrat-friendly Brookings Institution — lied his head off to the FBI about his sources and other matters.
Among other things, Danchenko implicated Sergei Millian, an immigrant from Belarus who had set up a Russian-American commerce company. The FBI was On the Case. The notoriety ruined Millian’s business, and the sad thing is, Danchenko never actually had a call with him. He just made up the whole thing. No matter, as as an excellent piece at Real Clear Investigations shows, the FBI continued to use Danchenko’s supposed source’s claims of a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between Russia and Trump in order
to convince a secret federal court to allow investigators to electronically monitor at least one Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, whom the FBI accused of masterminding the conspiracy based on Danchenko’s dubious claims. Agents swore in court documents…that Danchenko was “truthful and cooperative,” even after discovering he misled them regarding his allegedly well-placed source.
“He misled them.” That’s bureaucratese for “he lied.” I have often used the image of an onion to describe the whole Russia Collusion delusion. It is one paper-thin layer after the next, each peeled back to reveal another false bottom: Bruce or Nellie Ohr, Stefan Halper, Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, George Papadopoulos, Glenn Simpson; it’s down the rabbit hole with a shadowy cast of dupes, liars, spies, and cronies.
But what happens now that we’ve been deposited at the bottom of the tunnel? Can we rely on Special Counsel John Durham to expose the real fraud: the collusion between the Hillary campaign and the FBI and our so-called intelligence sources, the assiduous circulation of lies, the withholding of exculpatory evidence in order to gain access to the inner workings of the Trump administration? I doubt it. As Andy McCarthy noted in a sobering piece, those harboring this expectation “are going to be sorely disappointed.”
Granted, “the Obama administration put the government’s law-enforcement and intelligence apparatus in the service of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and, later, Trump’s Democratic party opposition. In that endeavor, several highly irregular investigative activities took place.” But abuse of political power (if, anyway, you are a Democrat) is “not necessarily a violation of the criminal law.”
In this game, we can be confident, bordering on certain, that the Clinton Machine knows, as Gertrude Stein put it in another context, exactly “how far to go without going too far.” They don’t care about “the appearance of impropriety” any more than they care about impropriety itself. They’re happy to wipe their homebrew email servers with an industrial-strength data protection utility and then joke about doing it “with a cloth” when taxed with the tort, just so long as they stay one step ahead of the law. It all depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is, don’t you know, and what difference at this point does it make?
So far, anyway (and this brings me to the heartbreaking part of the narrative) all of Durham’s three indictments suggest that, as McCarthy puts it, “the FBI was duped, not that the bureau intentionally lied to the court.” That’s not what I want to hear, nor is it what I think is true. That is, I think that the FBI is an institution that is out of control. I believe it has become thoroughly politicized and is in effect a tool of the Democratic establishment. The fact that the Biden administration just turned it loose on Project Veritas because the group may have had Ashley’s Biden diary is only the latest example of its weaponization as a sort of geheime Staastpolizei. Why is the FBI involved in recovering a private document of no national security import? In my view, the FBI does not need to be reformed. It needs to be dismantled and replaced.
But that’s as may be. It saddens me to acknowledge it, but I suspect Andy McCarthy is right: “If Durham were building toward an overarching indictment alleging a corrupt conspiracy between the Clinton campaign and the FBI to deceive the court, he would not be charging people with lying to the FBI.”
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