A stunning report from the New York Times has revealed that John Durham, the person charged by former Attorney General William Barr with investigating the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, not only wound up finding no evidence to support the claims made by Trump and Barr, but was forced to investigate Trump himself after a credible tip from Italian authorities indicated that Trump may have committed serious financial malfeasance.
On top of that, the Times report alleges, Durham’s team of lawyers had severe ethical disagreements, especially as it became clearer and clearer that Durham was intent on developing a narrative that Hillary Clinton, along with the FBI and CIA, had illegally targeted the Trump campaign in 2016, even though essentially zero evidence for such a conspiracy existed.
This narrative was supported by Barr, who met with Durham regularly, flagrantly ignoring standards of independence when it came to his special counsel, instead pushing to have Durham make announcements or bring indictments based on political considerations. Barr even pressured the NSA to cooperate with Durham in order to produce the desired result.
In the end, Durham could only manage to negotiate one guilty plea deal (with an FBI lawyer who had misleadingly altered an email, as already exposed by the report of the inspector general, Michael Horowitz).
Two other cases brought by Durham – one against Michael Sussmann, a lawyer who worked for the Clinton campaign, and one against Igor Danchenko, an analyst Durham accused of lying to the FBI – not only ended in acquittals, but were practically laughed out of court, as some on Durham’s team had warned would happen.
When the inspector general’s report was ready, and Barr and Durham realized that it found no evidence of a Clinton-FBI-CIA conspiracy, they put the pressure on Mr. Horowitz not to issue his findings.
Durham also asked Horowitz to bury his conclusion that the FBI had been justified in opening its investigation after a tip from an Australian diplomat that George Papadopoulos had told him about what Russia would do with the emails it had hacked from key DNC figures before it was public knowledge. Horowitz ignored these requests.
As for the CIA, the agency had been advised by British intelligence that they were seeing concerning traffic between Trump campaign officials and Russia.
Despite being completely aware that Durham’s investigation had produced nothing to justify Donald Trump’s claims that he had been unlawfully targeted, Barr continued to make media appearances wherein he claimed that the investigation had been invented out of whole cloth.
Nor did Barr correct the misimpression that Durham’s inquiry had turned into a criminal probe against Democrats or government officials when the Times and others reported the shift in late 2019.
The truth was that the criminal probe was directed at Trump, following the tip from the Italians.
Rather than appoint a new, non-biased investigator, Barr let Durham handle it, despite the fact that he had shown nothing but bias in Trump’s favor.
And the two said nothing to the public. Even now, we do not know the nature of these allegations.
Unsurprisingly, Durham did not seek to bring criminal charges.
The Justice Department received a tip from Italian officials regarding suspicious financial dealings related to then-President Trump.
Barr didn’t say anything about this to the public, assigning the matter to John Durham, who brought no charges. https://t.co/w5TFgSu76N
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) January 26, 2023
Yet Durham could be unusually aggressive against liberal targets.
Even though a federal judge, Beryl A Howard, told the special counsel that she saw no reason to grant his request to obtain the emails of Leonard Benardo, VP of the Open Society, an organization supported by billionaire – and frequent scapegoat of antisemites – George Soros, Durham continued to pursue the matter.
Apparently, the special counsel had some wild notion that Benardo had communicated with Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) about suppressing the Clinton email investigation.
Beryl demurred, citing a complete lack of evidence.
But when Durham threatened Benardo and his organization with a grand jury subpoena, they decided not to fight it and gave Durham what he wanted.
It produced bupkis, only showing that the information Durham had relied on for his information – memos thought to be Russian disinformation by many – was completely suspect.
Bill Barr pressured John Durham to discredit the investigation into Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.
John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani conspired with Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 election.
So much for law and order in the Republican Party.
— Ritchie Torres (@RitchieTorres) January 27, 2023
With their efforts continually failing to produce a bombshell before the 2020 Election, the Trump lackies evidently turned to the director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, who tried to help out by making public almost a thousand pages of classified info, despite the objections of CIA head Gina Haspel.
This too failed to produce anything of substance.
And so the Durham investigation has now wrapped up.
And the only parties who appear to have done anything wrong are William Barr, John Durham, and Donald Trump.
Click on @RossRosenfeld for regular news about the corruption of Trump and the GOP.