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Does Durham Have More Indictments Planned?
Back when the original Meaning in History was all about the Russia Hoax, my main focus was on the systemic abuses at the FBI regarding the checks and balances that were supposed to govern our national security agencies in their relations with the citizens of the United States. Political matters, such as presidential elections, were supposed to be treated in a hands off manner—left to constitutional process, such as elections by We the People—absent rigourously justified reasons of overriding, even existential, importance. It seemed clear to me back then that the FBI had gone seriously off the rails, which is why I kept returning to the issue of “predication”—the concept that no investigation should be opened without an articulable reason that adheres to explicit standards, i.e., reasonable suspicion, probable cause, etc. Those standards—which had, in fact, been articulated in the Attorney General Guidelines that govern FBI national security investigations—had, to my mind, been flagrantly ignored.
At the same time, it was clear enough that the flouting of those standards was not a purely internal matter for the FBI. What I mean is that the flouting occurred at the behest of political actors—actors who were deeply involved in the political processes of our country, not just administrative actors. As Durham’s investigation has progressed we did see a first prosecution of an FBI employee, but the two indictments that have followed the Clinesmith case have involved “outsiders”—outside in the sense that Danchenko and Sussmann, while “insiders” in their connections to the politically powerful, were not (or no longer) government employees. This has left many people—especially followers of CTH—intensely dissatisfied. Where, they ask, is accountability for FBI wrongdoing?
For my part, I’ve been commenting on Durham’s works sparingly, since I don’t believe I have much to offer as his investigations get into the prosecutorial stage—persons with prosecutorial experience are in a much better position to deal with the legal maneuvering than I am.
However, John Solomon, in an interview Sunday with Maria Bartiromo, returned to the investigative stage of Durham’s activity. Solomon maintains that Durham will be bringing indictments against FBI actors with regard to the Carter Page FISAs. I’ve always been a bit surprised that no indictments have, so far, resulted in that regard. Solomon did a good job of explaining to Bartiromo the strength of the case that can be brought. First, with regard to the original FISA he noted that the FBI had ample reason to understand that they were being played for political purposes—I say “played”, but the obvious question is whether they essentially wanted to be played. Secondly, after Danchenko’s role with regard to the FISA had become totally clear to the FBI—no later than February, 2017—the FBI continued regardless. As Solomon says, in each case the FBI was on notice to stop, proceed no further. But they didn’t stop.
What Solomon doesn’t say is that Durham appears to have excellent witnesses in hand who can shed insider light on what was going on with the Carter Page FISA application as it proceeded to the FISA court through the various FBI and DoJ reviews before it was finalized. James Baker and Trisha Anderson have both cooperated with Durham. They were at the time the top two FBI legal officials and both had had experience at DoJ—Baker quite extensively. Bill Priestap, who was in charge of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigations, has also cooperated with Durham. The one witness that Solomon does mention is Bruce Ohr—remember him? And then there is the mountain of official documentation that Durham possesses.
So, with that in mind, here is a transcript of Solomon’s remarks. When he says that Durham’s grand jury remains active, I assume he has a solid basis for making that statement. The transcript begins with a quote of a recent statement from the despicable Peter Strzok:
STRZOK: Whether intentionally or not, when you look at the balance of those pages, they have subtle dog whistles to these pro-Trump conspiracy theories, statements like the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign relied on certain things. Well, there was never an FBI investigation of the Trump campaign. Unless you listen to some kind of far-extreme-right commentators or of folks in Congress who assert there was, but that’s nonsense.
BARTIROMO: Of course, John, there was no pushback from Rachel Maddow. To say there was no investigation of the Trump campaign. Your reaction? Mind-boggling.
SOLOMON: Listen, Pete Strzok’s opening electronic communication which starts the Crossfire Hurricane investigation states they are looking at whether individuals associated with the Trump campaign were coordinating and conspiring with Russia. When they put the first FISA in, in October, the Trump campaign is mentioned a dozen times in the first FISA, and as I mentioned in the last segment, the allegation is a well-developed conspiracy between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and Russia to hijack the election. Of course, it was about the campaign. Peter Strzok’s own words said it was about the campaign. He was lying the other night. There’s no other way to say it politely.
BARTIROMO: Of course, they continue to renew FISA warrants against the Trump campaign, and they based those warrants to wiretap people like Carter Page, based on that dossier which they knew was false and made up. So I ask you now, what do you think the indictments will look like in the future? Do you think that John Durham is going to indict people at high levels, big fish, within the FBI?
SOLOMON: There’s no doubt there is activity inside the grand jury right now aimed at looking at top-level officials of the FBI, and it’s based on this evidence. We all look at the fact that Danchenko was interviewed by the FBI on January 17, and disowned a lot of the things that were said to him. A lot of people said that should have been the point where the FBI stopped.
But Durham developed really significant evidence that red flags, the stop-now warning signs go all the way back to August when Bruce Orr, in 2016 came to the FBI and said Christopher Steele is dumping a dossier. He hates Trump. He’s hired by Hillary Clinton and most of his information is raw and uncorroborated.
A month after the CIA sends a warning to the FBI, this is something John Ratcliffe declassified, saying Hillary Clinton is trying to play a dirty trick on Donald Trump to tie him to Russia to get out of her e-mail thing. All through the fall, they keep a spreadsheet of what’s right and wrong of the Steele dossier. It’s all wrong. Can’t corroborate, they can’t collaborate the information. The FBI never should have started the investigation and I think that’s where John Durham’s investigation is focused right now.
So it comes down to predication. I hope and pray.