Clustered events of the past few days appear to be a clear signal that John Durham is over the target—and the Dem Establishment is alarmed. That’s putting it politely.
Aaron Maté, coincidentally but effectively, identifies the cause of the alarm. John Durham’s indictment of Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann—with the clear implication that Durham is also closing in on Dem election law super lawyer Marc Elias—revealed that Durham is going for the big fish in the Russia Hoax conspiracy. I doubt that Durham’s focus came as a surprise to either Sussmann or Elias. Perhaps they were hoping against hope that they could slip out of Durham’s net, but more likely they were holding fire in order to lauch their response once the inevitable came to pass:
The indictment of Hillary Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann for allegedly lying to the FBI sheds new light on the pivotal role of Democratic operatives in the Russiagate affair. The emerging picture shows Sussmann and his Perkins Coie colleague Marc Elias, the chief counsel for Clinton's 2016 campaign, proceeding on parallel, coordinated tracks to solicit and spread disinformation tying Donald Trump to the Kremlin.
In a detailed charging document last month, Special Counsel John Durham accused Sussmann of concealing his work for the Clinton campaign while trying to sell the FBI on the false claim of a secret Trump backchannel to Russia’s Alfa Bank. But Sussmann's alleged false statement to the FBI in September 2016 wasn't all. Just months before, he helped generate an even more consequential Russia allegation that he also brought to the FBI. In April of that year, Sussmann hired CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm that publicly triggered the Russiagate saga by lodging the still unproven claim that Russia was behind the hack of Democratic National Committee emails released by WikiLeaks.
At the time, CrowdStrike was not the only Clinton campaign contractor focusing on Russia. Just days before Sussmann hired CrowdStrike in April, his partner Elias retained the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Trump and the Kremlin.
These two Clinton campaign contractors, working directly for two Clinton campaign attorneys, would go on to play highly consequential roles in the ensuing multi-year Russia investigation.
Working secretly for the Clinton campaign, Fusion GPS planted Trump-Russia conspiracy theories in the FBI and US media via its subcontractor, former British spy Christopher Steele. The FBI used the Fusion GPS's now debunked "Steele dossier" for investigative leads and multiple surveillance applications putatively targeting Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.
Maté concludes his detailed review of what we know with the tidbit that has tantalized Russia Hoax watchers:
In congressional testimony, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson said that it was an "extraordinary coincidence” that the Russian hacking allegation (by fellow Clinton/Perkins Coie contractor CrowdStrike) overlapped with his firm's Trump-Russia collusion hunt (while working for Clinton/Perkins Coie).
Coincidence is one possibility. Another is that the roles of Sussman and Elias behind CrowdStrike and Fusion GPS's highly consequential claims about Russia and the 2016 election could be pillars of the same deception.
What we’re seeing now is an extraordinary attempt by the Zhou DoJ to undermine Durham’s work. Consider what appear to be a cluster of coordinated attempts to influence the public against Durham’s work—and, possibly, to obstruct his prosecutions.
The “pardon/exoneration” of disgraced former FBI official Andrew McCabe
The pathetic effort by ABC via George Stephanopoulos to rehabilitate fabulist-for-hire Chris Steele. As the NY Post editorialized: Letting Christopher Steele repeat his lies on-air is propaganda, not journalism. Which is why I wrote “ABC” and not “ABC News.”
The ongoing—as we write—search of Russian “oligarch” Oleg Deripaska’s house. In the tweets that follow, be aware that “Monaco” is Lisa Monaco, as Deep State as any lawyer could be. She’s now Deputy AG, which means she runs much of the day to day affairs of the DoJ:
Tom Winter @Tom_WinterNBC News: The FBI is conducting “law enforcement activity” at the Washington D.C. home of Oleg Deripaska, a FBI spokesperson confirms. NBC News is outside the home where a number of federal agents have gathered and are restricting access to the property.
Tom Winter @Tom_WinterDeripaska is a Russian Oligarch and a former business partner of one-time Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. More background (cited in the Mueller report) here: https://t.co/s6j1WmHPHI
The final example of this coordinated series of events is dealt with by Jonathan Turley—a remarkable faux “interview” of Marc Elias by Brian Stelter:
Turley has his own views on this—always worth reading in full. My view is that this is an attempt to build a public persona for Elias, who otherwise operates mostly out of the public eye. Yes, of course, Elias is known to anyone who’s involved in national politics, but that “demographic” won’t be members of an Elias jury pool. Elias and his attorneys are clearly intent on portraying him to the general public as a crusader for “democracy”—defined, presumably, in an Alinskyite mode.
Turley first sets the terms for the non-interview. In doing so he weaves in Sussmann’s and Elias’ chronic fast and loose treatment of truth, and what would be unbelievable on virtually any network except CNN—the failure to even mention Elias’ controversial and very newsworthy implication in the Durham investigation:
Lawyer Marc Elias has been much in the news lately for his role in funding the Steele dossier, which is a subject of the investigation of Special Counsel John Durham. That investigation just resulted in the indictment of Elias’ former partner at Perkins Coie, Michael Sussman, for lying to federal officials in spreading the Alfa Bank conspiracy theory. Sussman worked with Elias in representing the Clinton campaign. Yet, CNN’s Brian Stelter did a long interview with Elias on how to improve the media without asking him about the investigation or public accusations by reporters that Elias and the Clinton campaign lied to them about their funding of the dossier. It appears that improving the election coverage does not include telling the truth to the media. Instead, Elias objected that the media was not slanted enough toward his work, which he described as “pro-democracy.”
In the interview below, Stelter explores what the media is doing wrong in covering “threats to democracy.” To answer that question Stelter turns to Elias and just accepts that Elias’ work is “pro-democracy” and asks “so what should we be doing differently?”
Others in the Fake News Media have noted the arms length relationship of this dynamic Dem legal duo with the truth, and have resented it—mostly, one assumes, because it exposes reporters who actually accept and rely upon what Elias and Sussmann tell them as no better than dupes. Which may be the kindest way to put it. For example:
In other words, as early as October, 2017, major Fake News Media figures were absolutely aware that there was a bodyguard of lies surrounding the core of the Russia Hoax. That’s a sure sign that there was, shall we say, hanky panky going on with the entire Trump Russia narrative. Further, the FNM knew that that bodyguard was maintained by the “folks involved in funding this”—Sussmann and Elias. And now we see ABC and CNN knowingly attempting to rehabilitate the Russia Hoax.
Coordination between DoJ and the Fake News Media to thwart justice? Could this, instead, be just one of those “extraordinary coincidences” that Glenn Simpson believes in?
I think not.
There’s a war going on. My question is: Does Durham have any allies?