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Durham’s report is deeply flawed, there are no convictions, and no accountability
The FBI is fatally corrupt. The justice system is totally broken.
That’s what we can conclude from the Durham Report. Special counsel John Durham’s report hammers home two separate points time and again: the FBI opened an investigation into the Trump campaign entirely without reason or any underlying predication and the FBI protected Hillary Clinton’s campaign at the same time that they aggressively pursued Donald Trump.
But the Durham Report also is deeply flawed. There are no convictions, or referrals of major Russiagate plotters and players.
Democrats will be able to rebut Durham’s report simply by saying “If Durham’s findings were so damning, why was no one convicted?”
And why were so many major figures such as former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, and Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson not compelled to sit for interviews?
Why did Durham fail to utilize classified information in his analysis? Why did he limit his scope primarily to the actions of the FBI? And why did he fail to examine events beyond early 2017, when Crossfire Hurricane morphed from a relatively quiet pre-election investigation into a full-blown public investigation of the president?
While the report fleshes out further details and reinforces points already made, there’s very little that we didn’t already know or hadn’t already reported.
There is a sense of vindication—everything we’d long thought of as fact has now been verified or proven. But the hard reality is that there’s very little in the way of new information contained in the report.
In many ways, Durham’s report appears to be a more detailed rehash of his previously released speaking indictments relating to Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann and his entanglements with the FBI and many other Clinton affiliates.
There’s something of even greater importance noticeably missing from Durham’s report: A complete lack of any criminal referrals or pending indictments of those who were involved in the Russia collusion hoax. There’s no accountability. And without that, there will be no change.
I see the report from several different angles. First, Durham doesn’t cover anything that we didn’t already have at least some working knowledge of. It does confirm our previous understanding of Russiagate and the FBI’s efforts to hinder the Trump campaign in order to help Hillary Clinton.
But we expected that to be the case.
However, a deeply disappointing feature of Durham’s report is that it appears to be far too narrowly focused. The report zeros in on the many faults of the FBI, including the lack of predication behind the opening of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation and the FISA warrant to surveil Trump adviser Carter Page.
Durham also covers the Alfa Bank allegations—which he already covered in detail in his Sussmann indictment—along with the actions of Christopher Steele and his primary subsource Igor Danchenko.
But it’s what Durham doesn’t cover that’s far and away most notable. Durham doesn’t appear to even touch on notable high-level events such as the White House meeting on Jan. 5, 2017, that included then-President Barack Obama–a meeting that appears to directly implicate both Obama and now-President Joe Biden in the coming attacks on Trump’s administration.
There’s also no effort to address the NSA’s collection of data and the unmasking of members within the Trump campaign that were highlighted by then-Rep. Devin Nunes in early 2017. While we know that some of the actions taken by the FBI and other three-letter agencies required high-level decision-making, Durham not only fails to address the actions of these high-level individuals, he didn’t even identify them.
Durham didn’t even address the supposed hack of the Democratic National Committee servers. This lack of information is made all the more frustrating by the fact that Durham’s team conducted “more than 480 interviews” and reviewed “more than six million pages of documents.” It seems clear that a big part of the story remains untold.
There’s also a generalized absence of information on anything post-January 2017. We didn’t find anything material on the Intelligence Community Assessment, which was used to push the narrative that President Trump had been compromised by Russia. We also didn’t find anything regarding the Obama administration’s targeting of Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn.
Nor did Durham address the FBI’s leadership briefing of the Justice Department (DOJ) and Congress in March 2017, in which James Comey misrepresented not only the entirety of the FBI’s investigation but also failed to disclose Danchenko’s information and his complete lack of suitability as a confidential human source—which invalidated the entirety of the Steele dossier.
Importantly, there’s a complete failure on the part of Durham to provide any measure of accountability. There are virtually no criminal referrals contained in Durham’s report nor are there any material recommendations for criminal investigations into these individuals.
Once again, there’s no accountability for those who are truly guilty—and those who are truly privileged.
In tandem with these questions and observations, we find ourselves wondering about the speed with which Durham’s report was delivered to the DOJ and then provided to the public.
Durham submitted his report to the DOJ and Attorney General Merrick Garland on May 12. The report was released publicly on May 15. How is that possible?
The answer may lie in a section of his letter that notes, “thorough, coordinated reviews of the information contained therein” were made “by the appropriate authorities within the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency.” In other words, Durham appeared to coordinate his work on the report with those agencies. The report had already been formally vetted before he ever delivered it to Garland.
One thing that immediately stands out in Durham’s report is that the FBI knew almost from the outset that the Crossfire Hurricane investigation had been opened on virtually no evidence.
Durham found that the “FBI discounted or willfully ignored material information that did not support their budding narrative of a collusive relationship between Trump and Russia.” Durham also noted that Crossfire Hurricane “was opened as a full investigation without the FBI ever having spoken to the persons who provided that information.”
Furthermore, Durham noted that the FBI did so without any significant review of its own intelligence databases, without the collection and examination of any relevant intelligence from other us intelligence entities, without interviews of witnesses that were essential to understanding the raw information the FBI had received, and without the use of any of the standard analytical tools typically used by the FBI to evaluate raw intelligence.
“At the time of the opening of Crossfire Hurricane,” Durham notes, “the FBI did not possess any intelligence showing that anyone associated with the Trump campaign was in contact with Russian intelligence officers at any point during the campaign.” Durham pointed out that if the FBI had done even the most rudimentary of standardized work, the agency would have learned that their own “experienced Russia analysts had no information about Trump being involved with Russian leadership officials nor were others in sensitive positions at the CIA, the NSA, and the Department of State aware of such evidence concerning candidate Trump.”
To make matters even worse, records prepared by the FBI’s Peter Strzok in February and March 2017 showed that at the time of the opening of Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI had no information indicating that anyone in the Trump campaign had been in contact with any Russian intelligence officials.
But it’s even worse than that. Keep in mind that by July 26, 2016, our intelligence agencies had obtained insight into Russian intelligence analysis alleging that Clinton had approved a campaign plan to vilify Trump by tying him to Putin and the Russians’ hacking of the DNC servers.
CIA Director Brennan subsequently briefed Obama and other senior national security officials on July 28, 2016, regarding the intelligence, known in Durham’s reports as the “Clinton Plan Intelligence.” Brennan then briefed FBI Director Comey the following day. Brennan and other agency officials then took steps to ensure that dissemination of the Clinton Plan intelligence would be limited to “protect sensitive information and prevent leaks.” This information should have ended the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation before it even began, just days later, on July 31, 2016.
Instead, Brennan acknowledged to Durham that the inter-agency Fusion Cell, a team ostensibly created to synthesize and analyze pertinent intelligence on Russian malign influence activities related to the presidential election, was put in motion after his meeting with Obama on July 28. Durham stated that some CIA personnel believed that the Clinton Plan intelligence led to the decision being made to set up the Fusion Cell.
In other words, Brennan and Obama were working to protect Clinton—and they were doing so at the expense of Trump.
But Brennan’s work didn’t end there. On Aug. 3, 2016, Brennan met with Obama, then-Vice President Biden, and other senior administration officials, including Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Comey. At that meeting, Brennan briefed the entire group on the Clinton Plan.
Despite these briefings on the Clinton Plan Intelligence—including at least two briefings to Obama—Durham noted that when interviewed, Brennan “generally recalled reviewing the materials” but stated he did not recall focusing specifically on its assertions regarding the Clinton campaign’s purported plan, despite having briefed Obama and written notes of the Clinton intelligence.
Brennan recalled instead focusing on Russia’s role in hacking the DNC.
Meanwhile, the FBI steadfastly refused to investigate the Clinton campaign for their plans to vilify Trump. They refused because they were now PART of the Clinton Plan. Remember, the FBI was using the Steele dossier, paid for by the Clinton Campaign Plan, as the backbone of its investigation.
It was an entirely politicized attack on a Washington outsider by members of the intelligence community who had aligned themselves politically with the Clinton campaign. That alignment was further highlighted by the FBI’s treatment of the Clinton campaign, which differed dramatically from the manner in which they treated Trump.
The FBI was faced with a number of proposed investigations into the Clinton campaign that had the potential of affecting the election. As Durham notes in each of those instances, unlike their investigation into Trump, the FBI moved with considerable caution in any investigation even remotely relating to the Clinton campaign.
In one instance, FBI headquarters required that defensive briefings were provided to Clinton and other officials who appeared to be targets of foreign interference. In other words, the FBI warned the Clinton campaign rather than opening an investigation into the campaign as they did with Trump.
In another instance, the FBI elected to end an investigation after one of its longtime and valued confidential human sources took actions that went beyond what was authorized, making an improper and possibly illegal financial contribution to the Clinton campaign on behalf of a foreign entity—and as a precursor to a much larger donation being contemplated.
Despite all the noise surrounding Trump’s supposed connection to Russia, it was the Clinton campaign that was facing foreign influence efforts by a foreign government. Durham’s report notes that a confidential human source (CHS) provided information to the FBI about election influence efforts that were targeting the Clinton campaign in November 2015.
Durham notes that a foreign government insider who was known to the FBI to have foreign intelligence and criminal connections had solicited the FBI’s CHS to set up a meeting with Hillary Clinton, to propose what the CHS understood to be campaign contributions on behalf of the unnamed foreign government—in exchange for the protection of that government’s interests should Clinton become president.
Although it doesn’t appear that a meeting with the foreign government insider actually took place, the CHS made a $2,700 campaign contribution to the Clinton campaign on their behalf.
Moreover, the CHS told both the FBI and Durham that the Clinton campaign was “okay with it” and that “they were fully aware from the start” of the contributions being made.
But despite that admission to the FBI—along with the offer of a credit card receipt—the FBI handling agent refused to document the information in the case file, going so far as to tell the CHS to “stay away from all events relating to the Clinton Campaign” thereby removing the FBI’s sole insight into the election influence efforts of the foreign government in the process.
Also, unlike the FBI’s rapid and aggressive opening of Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI appears to have made no effort to investigate the illegal campaign contribution to Clinton’s campaign.
But that’s not all. Beginning in January 2016, FBI field offices in New York, Washington, and Little Rock, Arkansas, each opened an investigation into possible criminal activity involving the Clinton Foundation.
Two of these investigations were opened “based on source reporting that identified foreign governments that had made, or offered to make, contributions to the Foundation in exchange for favorable or preferential treatment from Clinton.”
On Feb. 1, 2016, a meeting was held to discuss the Foundation investigations. Three weeks later, on February 22, 2016, another meeting was held at FBI headquarters to discuss the Foundation investigations. Unlike the others, that meeting was chaired by Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who issued instructions that the investigations into the Clinton Foundation be shut down.
Although McCabe’s instructions were met with objections, the meeting concluded with the formal direction that any further investigative steps would require his direct approval.
Durham noted that this restriction on overt investigative activity essentially remained in place until August 2016. But the effort to shut down any investigation into the Clinton Foundation didn’t end there. A call was placed from a senior FBI official on behalf of Director Comey around May 2016, which directed the NYFO to “cease and desist” the Foundation investigation because of some undisclosed counterintelligence concern.
The New York Field Office was never able to determine what the counterintelligence issue raised by Corney was.
All three investigations were ultimately folded into the New York Office but the U.S. Attorneys’ offices in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York both declined to issue subpoenas to the NYFO, despite previously expressing support for the investigation.
The FBI’s stonewalling of any investigation into Clinton, combined with the zealousness that the FBI demonstrated in pursuing Trump proves one thing. The agency wasn’t conducting an investigation, it was conducting an operation.
Watch “Truth Over News” on Friday, May 19, for the full episode on the Durham report.