- Jul 23, 2003
$3.8M?? That's about 10% of the cost of the Mueller investigation, and there are far more indictments from Durham.
Durham vs. Horowitz: Tension Over Truth and Consequences Grips the FBI's Trump-Russia Reckoning
As he documents the role of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in generating false allegations of Trump-Russia collusion, Special Counsel John Durham has also previewed a challenge to the FBI’s claims about how and why its counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign began. At stake is the completeness of the official reckoning within the U.S. government over the Russiagate scandal – and whether there will be an accounting commensurate with the offense: the abuse of the nation's highest law enforcement and intelligence powers to damage an opposition presidential candidate turned president, at the behest of his opponent from the governing party he defeated.
The bureau's defenders point to Horowitz's report to argue that the FBI’s Trump-Russia conspiracy investigation, codenamed Crossfire Hurricane, is untainted despite its extensive use of the discredited Clinton-funded Steele dossier. Though highly critical of the bureau's use of Christopher Steele's reports, Horowitz concluded that they “played no role in the Crossfire Hurricane opening," which he said had met the department's “low threshold” for opening an investigation.
But Durham has made plain his dissent. In response to Horowitz's report, the special counsel announced that his office had "advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened." Durham stressed that, unlike Horowitz, his "investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department" and has instead obtained "information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S."
Durham’s office has not described the specific basis for its disagreement. But the Crossfire Hurricane advocates’ defense has a big problem: copious countervailing evidence in the public record – including in Horowitz's own report. A considerable paper trail points to Steele’s political opposition research playing a greater role in the probe than the FBI has acknowledged:
- Numerous officials received Steele's allegations – some meeting with the ex-British intelligence officer himself – and discussed sending them up the FBI chain weeks before July 31, 2016, the Horowitz-endorsed date when the bureau claims it opened the Russia-Trump “collusion” investigation. These encounters call into question the FBI’s claim that Steele played no role in triggering Crossfire Hurricane and that its team only received the dossier weeks after their colleagues, on Sept. 19.
- The FBI’s own records belie its claims that it decided to launch the Russia probe not because of the dossier, but instead on a vague tip recounting a London barroom conversation with a low-level Trump campaign volunteer, George Papadopoulos. Australian diplomat Alexander Downer’s tip, recorded in bureau records, was that Papadopoulos had merely "suggested" that Russia had made an unspecified "suggestion" of Russian help – a thin basis upon which to investigate an entire presidential campaign.
- Upon officially opening Crossfire Hurricane on July 31, FBI officials immediately took investigative steps that mirrored the claims in the Steele dossier even though they were supposedly unaware of it. In August, the FBI team opened probes of Trump campaign figures Carter Page, Michael Flynn, and Paul Manafort – all of whom are mentioned in the dossier – based on predicates that are just as flimsy as the Downer-Papadopoulos pretext.
- The FBI’s claim that Steele played no role in sparking the Trump-Russia probe is further called into question by top bureau officials’ previous false claims about the investigation, including Steele's role. They not only lied to the public and Congress, but to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
'Definitely of Interest
to the Counterintelligence Folks'
Durham's November indictment of Igor Danchenko, Steele's main source, was the final nail in the coffin for the Clinton-funded dossier. But to sympathetic media amplifiers of the FBI's Trump-Russia probe, its origins were unscathed.
Some Kind of Suggestion”
According to the official narrative, while top-ranking FBI officials shared and discussed the Steele dossier with everyone but Crossfire Hurricane team members, the counterintelligence division decided to investigate the Trump’s campaign’s potential ties to Russia on July 31 based on an unrelated tip from Alexander Downer, the Australian diplomat. At a London bar in May, campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos reportedly told Downer that Russia had offered to help the Trump campaign by anonymously releasing information damaging to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Although there was no evidence that the Trump campaign had pursued, received, or used this undefined material, FBI officials deemed this rumor sufficient grounds to investigate the campaign for potential involvement in Russia’s alleged theft of DNC emails published by Wikileaks.
'An Insufficient Basis'
for the Probe’s Supposed Predicate
Adding to the questions surrounding the FBI’s basis for opening a Trump-Russia counterintelligence probe is that, upon doing so, the Crossfire Hurricane team didn’t bother to contact the campaign volunteer whose vague “suggestion” supposedly triggered it. Instead, the FBI expanded the probe to multiple other figures in the Trump orbit. Although no intelligence connected them to Downer's vague tip, all three shared the distinction of being named as Russia conspirators or assets in the Steele dossier.
On Steele, a Pattern
of FBI 'Factual Misstatements
Although Horowitz took the FBI at its word that Steele played no role in triggering Crossfire Hurricane, he did so after documenting multiple instances of FBI lies – including about Steele's role in the probe.
When the FBI used the Steele dossier to seek surveillance warrants on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, the bureau made 17 "factual misstatements and omissions" to the FISA court, Inspector General Horowitz found in his December 2019 report.
Durham's Dissent Could Become
a Political Flashpoint
Despite uncovering FBI deceptions, Horowitz acknowledged that he was relying largely on the word of the officials he was investigating. "We did not find information in FBI or Department ECs [Electronic Communications], emails, or other documents, or through witness testimony, indicating that any information other than the [Friendly Foreign Government] information" – Australia's tip from Downer -- "was relied upon to predicate the opening of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation," his report states.
As his dissenting statement made clear, Durham is not limited to one department nor to its employees' voluntary testimony.
If Durham does unearth additional evidence that the FBI did not launch the Trump-Russia probe in the way that it claims, then that would be yet another devastating revelation for a bureau that has already been caught relying on Clinton-funded disinformation and lying about it. Given how hard the FBI and Democratic Party allies have fought to shield this conduct from scrutiny, Durham's probe could become a major political flashpoint as his probe reaches its final months and hones in on its final targets.
But given the vast involvement of other individuals working for the infamous Perkins Coie law firm, which Clinton used as a proxy to smear Trump with false claims of Russian collusion, Durham’s investigation was always likely to go further. We’ve seen hints of that recently, but his latest filing is a true “shock and awe” moment.
According to Durham, who is clearly trying to signal at this point that he’s got the goods on a lot of people, Trump was not just spied on. Rather, he was actually spied on while president by outside allies of Perkins Coie, from Trump Tower to the actual Office of the President.
This blows Watergate out of the water and makes it look like child’s play. Only in the current hyper-partisan environment, where Democrats can literally get away with anything, is this not a major national scandal. Here you have associates of Hillary Clinton, and allies of the law firm she was contracting to get dirt on Trump, using government channels to spy on him. And not just during the campaign, but after he became president.
The fact that all of this has only been exposed via Durham’s special counsel investigation is yet more evidence of just how corrupt the DOJ and FBI are. These facts had to have been known throughout Trump’s presidency, yet no one talked? That just doesn’t add up, and it completely vindicates Trump, who has long maintained he was being spied on.
Sussmann’s legal team urged the judge to dismiss the case by arguing that his alleged lie was immaterial to any government action.
But Cooper wrote, “As the Special Counsel argues, it is at least possible that statements made to law enforcement prior to an investigation could materially influence the later trajectory of the investigation. Sussmann offers no legal authority to the contrary.”
Special Counsel John Durham just filed this motion in response to the efforts of Hillary for America, Fusion GPS, et al. to keep secret (by use of the attorney-client and work product privileges) communications involving Fusion GPS. You can read it here.
Durham states the “purported privilege holders who have intervened do so in a case in which the defendant has denied representing any client when he brought the Russian Bank-1 allegations to the FBI.” The privilege controversy thus entraps Sussmann to a certain extent, seemingly precluding his denial that he was working on behalf of a client. Brilliant.
https://technofog.substack.com/p/durhams-latest-he-has-hundreds-of?s=wAdditionally, Durham casts doubt on the declaration of Marc Elias that Fusion GPS was retained to provide “legal advice.” Here he makes a key point:
”if rendering such advice was truly the intended purpose of Fusion GPS’s retention, one would also expect the investigative firm to seek permission and/or guidance from [Hillary for America] or its counsel before sharing such derogatory materials with the media or otherwise placing them into the public domain.”
In support of that point, Durham states he is in possession of “hundreds of emails in which Fusion GPS employees shared raw, unverified, and uncorroborated information – including their own draft research and work product – with reporters.” (He even filed them under seal with the court.) These include:
- Emails with Slate’s Franklin Foer from May 14, 2016 in which Fusion GPS conveys information on a Trump advisor and Alfa Bank.
- July 26, 2016 e-mails from Fusion GPS to the Wall Street Journal communicating allegations from Christopher Steele stating “a Trump advisor meeting with a former KGB official close to Putin … would be huge news.”
- July 29 and July 31, 2016 emails with a reporter (Washington Post’s Tom Hamburger) concerning Carter Page’s investments and meetings with Russians - of which the reporter said “Its bullshit.”
Former FBI General Counsel (and now Twitter lawyer) James Baker has long been a lightning rod for critics over the role of the FBI in pushing false Russian collusion claims. Baker did not help himself with those critics yesterday when he took the stand in the trial of Michael Sussmann, former Clinton campaign counsel. After declaring Sussmann a friend, Baker seemed to shrug off the fact that he previously failed to turn over a critical piece of evidence to Special Counsel John Durham because “this is not my investigation. This is your investigation.”
Day 2 of the Michael Sussmann Trialhttps://technofog.substack.com/p/day-2-of-the-michael-sussmann-trial?s=r
Bombshell testimony that Hillary Clinton personally authorized giving a reporter since-debunked data about Donald Trump and Russia was part of a chess-like maneuver to “protect the queen,” a former US Justice Department official told The Post.
Jim Trusty said former Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook’s revelation Friday, which he quickly tried to walk back, actually meshed with other testimony in which Mook and former campaign general counsel Marc Elias both said they were unaware campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann planned to also provide the information to the FBI.
Meanwhile, Mook and Elias also suggested that Clinton “was shocked, shocked by Sussmann going to the FBI,” said Trusty, now a Washington, DC, lawyer.
“It paints a picture of Sussmann colluding with other people to drag the FBI into an investigation and besmirch a presidential candidate,” he said.
In a recent column for The Post, former Manhattan federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy said Durham “appears to have built a case of historic consequence” that “portrays the Clinton campaign as guilty of perhaps the worst dirty trick in the history of American presidential elections.”