BREAKING: The Absolutely FILTHY Investigation Into The Trump Russia Investigation Filthier Than We Ever Knew!
BREAKING: John Durham and Bill Barr are some of the corruptest sumbitches ever to wander the streets of DC. Must credit Wonkette!
LOL, and also holy shit! The New York Times has a story (Wonkette gift link) on the brazen corruption baked in to the appointment of Special Counsel John Durham to INVESTIGATE THE INVESTIGATORS and browned to crispy, golden perfection as the two tried every which way to prove that the inquiry into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia was somehow inappropriate and illegal.
"[T]he main thrust of the Durham inquiry was marked by some of the very same flaws — including a strained justification for opening it and its role in fueling partisan conspiracy theories that would never be charged in court — that Trump allies claim characterized the Russia investigation," writes the New York Times, in what has to be the understatement of the year. In fact, the Durham investigation was an uncanny mirror of every corrupt thing Trump and his allies accused the FBI of doing. Because if there's one thing we've learned in the past seven years, it's that every single Trump accusation is a confession — or at least an announcement of crimes they intend to commit real soon.
It started with Barr tasking Durham in the spring of 2019 with investigating the origin of the FBI's Trump Russia investigation in 2015. He was sure that the "Crossfire Hurricane" inquiry was opened without appropriate predicate. And although he himself could cite to no predicate for his suspicions, his own gut instincts were apparently enough. Eschewing protocol, he went so far as to go on Fox News and air his suspicions that “officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale.”
“A lot of the answers have been inadequate, and some of the explanations I’ve gotten don’t hang together,” he added darkly.
Barr was pretty sure he knew who had done Trump dirty:
In May 2019, soon after giving Mr. Durham his assignment, Mr. Barr summoned the head of the National Security Agency, Paul M. Nakasone, to his office. In front of several aides, Mr. Barr demanded that the N.S.A. cooperate with the Durham inquiry.
Referring to the C.I.A. and British spies, Mr. Barr also said he suspected that the N.S.A.’s “friends” had helped instigate the Russia investigation by targeting the Trump campaign, aides briefed on the meeting said. And repeating a sexual vulgarity, he warned that if the N.S.A. wronged him by not doing all it could to help Mr. Durham, Mr. Barr would do the same to the agency.
Spoiler Alert: Durham got all the way up the ass of the CIA and emerged somewhere near the Langley metro station. He didn't find shit.
Barr was also dead certain that foreign governments had been trying to fuck the Trump campaign. He had no evidence, of course, but he and Durham still packed their bags for a little taxpayer-funded road trip to lob baseless accusations at our foreign allies:
Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham traveled abroad together to press British and Italian officials to reveal everything their agencies had gleaned about the Trump campaign and relayed to the United States, but both allied governments denied they had done any such thing. Top British intelligence officials expressed indignation to their U.S. counterparts about the accusation, three former U.S. officials said.
Worse still, the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz was investigating the same stuff, and he found that the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was appropriately predicated because that dipshit "coffee boy" George Papadopoulos bragged to an Australian diplomat that Russian actors were going to start leaking hacked Clinton documents to help Trump, and then they did.
The week before Mr. Horowitz released the report, he and aides came to Mr. Durham’s offices — nondescript suites on two floors of a building in northeast Washington — to go over it.
Mr. Durham lobbied Mr. Horowitz to drop his finding that the diplomat’s tip had been sufficient for the F.B.I. to open its “full” counterintelligence investigation, arguing that it was enough at most for a “preliminary” inquiry, according to officials. But Mr. Horowitz did not change his mind.
When the pressure campaign failed to change Horowitz's mind, Barr and Durham put their heads together and came up with a plan. Luckily those two hadn't bothered with any of the normal prosecutorial independence stuff, with Durham meeting Barr for a weekly scotch-n-strategy sesh to discuss the case. LOL, remember when Republicans practically burned down the DOJ because Loretta Lynch had a conversation with Bill Clinton on the tarmac one time?
Minutes before the inspector general’s report went online, Mr. Barr issued a statement contradicting Mr. Horowitz’s major finding, declaring that the F.B.I. opened the investigation “on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient.” He would later tell Fox News that the investigation began “without any basis,” as if the diplomat’s tip never happened.
Durham also put out a statement undercutting the IG's conclusions and promising that his “evidence collected to date” would substantiate claims that there was something defective in the origin of the Russia investigation. He never did, of course.
Meanwhile, on their little junket abroad, Barr and Durham did get a little tidbit from our pals in Italy about financial shenanigans. Only it involved Donald Trump, not Hillary Clinton. Apparently it was serious enough that they had to open a criminal investigation, which leaked. Contemporaneousnewsreports operated on the assumption that the investigation involved FBI officials doing crimes to frame poor innocent Donald Trump — or perhaps it was, as Donald Trump said, Mr. Joe Biden himself doing the criming! Somehow Bill Barr, who was plenty chatty when it came to his own unsubstantiated hunches, failed to disabuse the media of this notion.
By 2020, it was clear that Durham wasn't going to find evidence that the CIA or the FBI or the NSA or MI6 or Interpol or anyone else conspired to improperly gin up an investigation into Donald Trump's Russia contacts. So Barr and Durham would have to shut their operation down and admit defeat, or start getting creative. Naturally, they chose the second option.
Durham wondered if he could prove bias by "comparing the Justice Department’s aggressive response to suspicions of links between Mr. Trump and Russia with its more cautious and skeptical reaction to various Clinton-related suspicions." Yes, his theory was really that FBI Director James Comey showed preferential treatment to Hillary by running his damn mouth about her stupid emails while keeping absolutely silent about the ongoing investigation of the Trump campaign.
Alternatively, the Special Counsel started chasing down a theory that Clinton and her allies had conspired to "defraud the government by manufacturing the suspicions that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia, along with scrutinizing what the F.B.I. and intelligence officials knew about the Clinton campaign’s actions." If that sounds familiar, it's because it's the same insane bullshit that formed the basis of Trump's RICO LOLsuit against Clinton, Comey, the DNC, and half of DC — the one that he and his lawyers just got slapped with a million dollars worth of sanctions for filing. In Durham's case, it just resulted in the two embarrassing acquittals of attorney Michael Sussmann and analyst Igor Danchenko.
And hey, remember the one million times when Trump accused Obama and the FBI of spying on his campaign? Plus all the times Republicans screamed about the dirty dossier full of Russian misinformation being used to justify the FISA warrants? Well! Funny story!
See, a Dutch spy agency infiltrated the servers of its Russian counterpart and came up with some memos that appeared to "make demonstrably inconsistent, inaccurate or exaggerated claims, and some U.S. analysts believed Russia may have deliberately seeded them with disinformation."
The memos referred to conversations between then-DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Leonard Benardo, executive vice president of the Open Society Foundations, a philanthropy funded by George Soros. (You can see why this would get Barr and Durham all tingly in parts of them they'd long written off as useless appendages.) The problem was that Wasserman Schultz and Benardo had never met. But that didn't stop Durham, who tried repeatedly to use the Russian memos to get access to Benardo's emails. When Chief Judge Beryl Howell refused multiple requests for a warrant, Durham turned to the grand jury, forcing Benardo to testify and hand over his emails directly.
By summer 2020, Durham hadn't managed to come up with anything. So Barr told him to just dummy up an "interim report centered on the Clinton campaign and F.B.I. gullibility or willful blindness." This appeared to be the last straw for Durham's longtime deputy Nora Dannehy, who resigned, documenting her reasons in a memo to her colleagues denouncing the report for relying on probably Russian disinformation. According to the Times, other prosecutors left the case as well after disagreements over Durham's decision to prosecute Sussmann and Danchenko without appropriate predicate.
In short, Durham faithfully replicated every corrupt detail he and Barr imputed to their predecessors but failed to find. And with this Congress, they're probably going to get away with it.
LOCK THEM UP.
And OPEN THREAD!
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.