Durham And Big Picture Stuff
What The Russia Hoax Hath Wrought
Hillary begat Mueller, and Mueller begat Biden.
It’s interesting that John Durham’s indictment of Igor Danchenko appears to be exciting more speculation about targets within the Clinton Campaign than did the indictment of a pretty bona fide insider like Michael Sussmann. The reason for this seeming irony is actually clear enough. Chuck Dolan, while not an “apex defendant” in the usual sense, nevertheless points to involvement of actual Clinton Campaign personnel being involved in concocting the Clinton Dossier—not just paying for BS oppo research that (supposedly) fooled the FBI.
Jonathan Turley and Shipwreckedcrew, experienced lawyers both, address the ramifications, each in their own way but in ways that, naturally enough, dovetail at points. Before we go there, however, let me briefly explain the mini-genealogy, above.
Hillary begat Mueller. That’s basically the theme of SWC’s latest post. It’s one aspect of his running commentary—that one of the purposes of Team Mueller was to draw attention away from the clear signs of Hillary’s involvement in the fraudulent Russia Hoax. One aspect out of several. Another aspect, which SWC will perhaps be addressing later, is that Team Mueller was genuinely shooting for an impeachment or forced resignation of Trump—since the initial Russia Hoax had failed to prevent Trump’s election. It comes as no real surprise, then, that figures in the impeachment—think, Fiona Hill, for example—are being traced back to Dolan and the Clinton Campaign. The linkage remains, from our vantage point, circumstantial at this point, but Durham doubtless has a far better perspective.
That Mueller begat Biden is probably a more controversial idea. I don’t exactly insist upon it. However, the abject failure of the original Russia Hoax, as well as the Mueller Witchhunt and the Ukraine Hoax and the Faux Impeachment Theater probably insured that genuinely strong Dem candidates would not emerge to challenge Trump. This, in this view, would have cleared the deck for the substitution of a puppet of a candidate who was systematically protected by the establishment. Clarice Feldman quotes Glenn Greenwald to that effect today:
... we have heard so little about these indictments from these media figures. Why? Because they know that as long as they stay united in silence, the only people who will point out what they did are those they have frozen out of their circle and trained their audience not to hear
The NYT, the WPost, CNN, NBC and the digital liberal outlets are all vastly more guilty of what they have spent years claiming Trump and the GOP are: they basically ran a dangerous disinformation campaign, full of lies, in conjunction with CIA/FBI, and now won't own up to it.
From the start, Russiagate -- which drowned US politics and dangerously ratcheted up tensions with a major nuclear-armed power -- was concocted from whole cloth by serial liars paid for by the Clinton campaign and spread by their media servants: David Corn, Isikoff, Frank Foer.
They all made gigantic profit from this set of lies: all of them. Their ratings skyrocketed by scaring liberals about Kremlin control of the US. They wrote best-selling books and gave themselves Pulitzers based on this massive fraud. FBI lied to the FISA court. CIA fueled it all.
And what has been the end of this disgraceful betrayal of America and everything it thought it stood for? We find ourselves under the thumb of a regime—the word I’ve been using since Election 2020—a regime rather than a true administration, with a puppet president to front for the puppet masters behind the scenes:
Who thinks the rest of the world isn’t laughing at us?
The whole article is full of similar buffoonery. But onward.
Jonathan Turley, in an article that appeared yesterday, addresses what just about all commentators have been drawn to:
The article is cleverly structured around an inscription inside a Hillary autobio:
"To my good friend ... A Great Democrat." Those words written to a Russian figure in Moscow, inside a copy of a Hillary Clinton autobiography, may be the defining line of special counsel John Durham’s investigation. The message reportedly was written by Charles Dolan ...
The background details of Durham’s three indictments so far have assembled an impressive list of “great Democrats” who contributed directly or indirectly to the creation of the Russia collusion scandal. ...
One thing is clear, though: Too many “great Democrats” keep popping up in Durham’s investigation.
The key point of fascination is clear: The significance of Danchenko—whom Turley (as I did earlier) characterizes as not an “apex defendant,” “more a shill than a spy”—is that he has led to a pretty direct connection between Hillary’s Dossier and Hillary’s actual campaign organization.
At this point we have a pretty good idea of who the “great Democrats” were who “contributed directly” to the Russia collusion scandal. Turley offers some names others who may have contributed “indirectly”. One possibility—who is rumored to have lawyered up—is long time Clinton insider Strobe Talbott. Another straddles the fence between direct and indirect contribution—Hillary herself:
Steele testified in London in a 2019 defamation suit that he had disclosed some of his dossier’s details to Strobe Talbott, then the president of Brookings. Talbott had his own longstanding Clinton ties. Among those, he was an ambassador-at-large and a deputy secretary of state under President Clinton; when Hillary Clinton was secretary of State, Talbott was named chairman of the State Department's foreign affairs advisory board.
Then there is Hillary Clinton herself. Steele also has testified that it was his understanding that Clinton was aware of his work and the development of the dossier. ... No less an official than campaign chairman John Podesta denied any connection in testimony before Congress.
Brookings. Think: Igor Danchenko and Fiona HIll. That’s where they both hung their hats, and it was Fiona who brought Igor and Chris and Chuck together.
One area where I think Turley could have pushed a bit further has to do with other possible targets of Durham’s investigation. I’m speculating here, but it appears to me that Durham’s indictments are proceeding, in a sense, chronologically. This makes sense, in that his investigation was also conducted chronologically—remember, we were regularly told that Durham was focusing on Russia Hoax “origins”? Turley is inclined to accept at face value the idea that some have drawn from the indictments that the FBI is a victim in all this:
... The question is whether Durham really wants to indict just the figurative tail if he can get the whole dog — a question that now may weigh heavily on a number of Washington figures ...
... Thus far, his work seems to betray a belief that the FBI got played by the Clinton campaign to investigate the Trump team. ...
I very much doubt that. One simple reason to be skeptical of that is this: James Baker, disgraced former General Counsel of the FBI—Jim Comey’s personal in-house legal adviser—is the key witness against Sussmann. I want to guarantee one and all that Baker is not acting in that capacity without prosecutorial pressure. Baker likely has other exposure (FISA fraud comes to mind) in addition to the irregular way in which he handled his dealings with Sussmann. Sussmann isn’t being charged with lying to James Baker in his personal capacity; he’s being charged with lying to representatives of the FBI as a government agency. Baker is almost certainly cooperating with Durham with a view to favorable treatment. There are others at the FBI who may not be as fortunate as Baker.
Turley is clear eyed enough, however, about how Durham is proceeding:
Danchenko’s indictment on five counts of lying to the FBI serves two obvious purposes. First, these counts — with a possible five years in prison on each — are enough to concentrate the mind of any defendant about possibly flipping for the prosecution. Second, indicting Danchenko “hoists the wretch” for potential targets to see and consider that there but for the grace of God — and Durham — go they.
SWC puts the same concept pithily:
PRF 🇺🇲 @dad_fix@shipwreckedcrew I used to say 'witness or subject choice is yours'.
Notice something. Recall that I said that Durham’s indictments appear to be proceeding in chronological fashion. This makes sense for a number of reasons. One is that it’s an extremely logical way to conduct an investigation. Another is that, by indicting people who turn up chronologically earlier in the investigation you likely avoid revealing too much at too early a point in your prosecution to targets who surface a bit later. So, for example, while Jim Comey and Andrew Weissmann have earlier involvement, my guess is that their criminal exposure is likely to have become acute only after the FBI was totally smacked upside the head—with no margin for doubt—that the Clinton Dossier was BS and that, therefore, the FISAs based on it were fraudulently obtained. The FISAs were obtained without verification, despite being labeled as verified (and sworn to in the affidavits) for the benefit of the FISC. No harm no foul ceased to be a possibility after the first few weeks of the Trump administration.
In that light, here are some remarks that SWC has made recently, on twitter and in his recent article:
Digging too deep would have shown all roads led back to Perkins Coie and the Clinton Campaign -- so they didn't.
John Cardillo @johncardilloAndrew Weissmann (@AWeissmann_) who was pretty active on Twitter hasn't tweeted since July 10th. John Brennan hasn't tweeted since May 17th. Comey went dark in January but for one Sept. 11th tweet. And the list goes on.
TheAnonymousSource @mgreenberg512@shipwreckedcrew Ship - when the guy effectively running this boondoggle is Andrew Weissman, what could we have possibly expected? All his fellows were partisans, too. It’s surprising they didn’t manufacture a conclusion justifying their existence.
At the conclusion of the article, SWC points out—as he has before—the likely value of two former FBI employees as witnesses with regard to Team Mueller generally:
... witnesses who were inside the investigation on a day-to-day basis are key to finding out the “whys” as to these subjects.
Witnesses like Kevin Clinesmith and William Barnett.
I would add to that list Bill Priestap and James Baker as well as others both at the FBI as well as at DoJ, such as Stuart “Stu” Evans.
I’ve maintained ever since John Durham rode into DC that Durham has unfinished business with Bob Mueller going back to Boston days. I still believe that, but would amend my belief to: unfinished business with Bob Mueller and his ilk.
Interesting days ahead.