The Durham hypothesis 7

Is there such a thing in the making as “the Durham Report”?

It retreats perpetually from those who thirst for it, like a mirage in a desert.

Was ever document so eagerly awaited?

Expectation of its transformative powers so trusted?

Its publication so often postponed?

Does “John Durham” actually exist? 

It has been a year and a half since Attorney General William Barr announced that he had assigned a lawyer named John Durham to conduct an investigation into the FBI’s investigation into the Democrats’ allegation that Russia had interfered in the 2016 elections to help Donald Trump win the presidency.

Why this particular man? Seems he is an arch Investigator. One might say, an investigators’ Investigator.

He has done so much investigating that one cannot after all seriously doubt that he exists.

So what is the record of his investigations? Is it very impressive that he should be appointed to investigate again and again by succeeding Attorneys General?

Well, maybe not very encouraging to those who hope that he will be the nemesis of the fraudsters who forged scurrilous “evidence” against Donald Trump.

It was this very John Durham who was  appointed in 2008 by Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate whether the CIA had destroyed the videotapes of their interrogations of terrorist prisoners detained at Guantanamo. In 2010, Durham completed his investigations but did not recommend any criminal charges. His findings in that case have never been made public.

In August 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed the same John Durham to investigate whether the CIA had used torture to elicit information from Guantanamo detainees. In particular he investigated the deaths of two detainees reportedly under torture in 2011. But the investigation was closed in 2012 without any charges being filed.

To come back to this John Durham’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election: his remit was “to broadly examine the government’s collection of intelligence involving the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russians”.

Seems to us there is an underlying assumption there that the Trump campaign actually did “interact” with Russians. But we know he didn’t. So that’s what Investigator John Durham will find out, right?

Oh, and our hopes were stoked up when in late October 2019 we got some exciting news of the Durham investigation. It had evolved from a  plain investigation into, we were told, a criminal investigation. How we all looked to John Durham to see that justice would be done, the forgers of “evidence” against Donald Trump exposed, their villainy laid bare for all to see in court, their due punishment pronounced. We could almost hear the sound of their cell doors being shut and locked.

And what we supposed was the first of these delights, the deep satisfaction of our need to see justice done, came with the news that an FBI attorney named Kevin Clinesmith was being charged with altering an email to make it seem that one member of Donald Trump’s campaign, Carter Page, was not a US intelligence “asset”, when he actually was. It all began to happen. Clinesmith was brought to court! He was found guilty! He was sentenced – wait. No, sorry, he wasn’t sentenced. But we are told he will be sentenced. Sure. Of course. Now for the next one.

There has not been a next one.

Oh, but the Report itself … wasn’t it about to appear? Hadn’t we been told it would be published before Labor Day? Ye-es, but the publication had been postponed. To October. Fine, fine – it will be out before the election. It will undeceive millions who have believed the “Trump interaction with Russia” lie. The truth will help the Trump campaign.

No. Sorry again. There is no plan to publish the Report before the election.

Aaaah!

So now? Nothing? A bit of news: one of those who we had reason to believe was a chief conspirator against Donald Trump, John Brennan, head of the CIA, was told by Investigator John Durham that he was not “a subject or target of a criminal investigation”.

What? If not John Brennan then who?

No one. No one did anything wrong. It was not wrong to compile a dossier full of false information extremely damaging to an elected president or to leak it to the press. It was not wrong to wiretap Trump tower in order to spy on Donald Trump himself. It was not wrong to set up an investigation to the same end, draw it out for years, let it spend tens of millions on what everyone involved knew was a wild goose chase, there never having been any interaction between Donald Trump and Russians. Nothing wrong, let alone criminal.

Only some allies and associates of Trump were found to have done terribly wicked things, like forget something they’d said under oath, so apparently contradicted themselves, so had been caught lying, and so deserved long imprisonment. To be specific, that’s what Durham’s little church of innocents did to Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, as everybody knows.

So a report won’t come from John Durham, eventually, which will reveal the truth? All the truth? Now that the election is over? All won’t be revealed, all put right, at last?

No.

 

Post script: John Durham was also entrusted with an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. We found plenty wrong with it. (See for instance here and here.) The great Investigator found nothing wrong with it at all. Not a thing.

American hero 4

A future president? Successor in 2024 to Donald Trump?

Richard Grenell

President Trump’s acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell told the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Adam Schiff, that if they did not release transcripts of interviews conducted by the panel during its Russia probe in 2017 and 2018, he would do it himself.

The deeply dishonest and dishonorable Representative Adam Schiff had tried to keep the transcripts secret, because they reveal that the truth is the exact opposite of a claim he has been making for years. He had spoken often and vehemently of the massive quantity of evidence he possessed that Donald Trump, when he was a candidate for the presidency he later won, had “colluded” with the Russian government, in particular with President Putin, against the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

No such evidence could possibly exist because such “collusion” never happened. We now know that it was Hillary Clinton’s campaign and some sympathetic bureaucrats and intelligence agents who had used fictitious information (some of it perhaps from Russia, and if so in collusion with that enemy!) to frame Donald Trump.

Schiff, it emerges, had so totally deluded himself into believing his own lie that even after the transcripts were released under pressure from Grenell, and everyone could see that they provided no such evidence as he had claimed, he went on insisting that they did.

Fox News reported on May 7 that Schiff even cited the Mueller report, which had cleared President Trump of the charge, as confirmation that the alleged Trump-Russia collusion had taken place! Schiff said:

Despite the many barriers put in our way by the then-Republican Majority, and attempts by some key witnesses to lie to us and obstruct our investigation, the transcripts that we are releasing today show precisely what Special Counsel Robert Mueller also revealed: that the Trump campaign, and Donald Trump himself, invited illicit Russian help, made full use of that help, and then lied and obstructed the investigations in order to cover up this misconduct.

Not only do they show no such thing, what they do show is witness after witness testifying that he or she knew nothing about any such collusion. Not a drop or hint of any evidence whatsoever to support Adam Schiff’s false claim emerges from anyone’s testimony.

Fox reports:

The transcripts are full of testimony from officials who said they were unaware of evidence showing coordination between the Trump team and the Russians.

And no matter what deluded Schiff imagines to be case, the facts are now in the open, thanks to Richard Grenell.

And that is not all Grenell has done. He made more information public which Democrats had tried to keep hidden.

He declassified and released a list of top Obama administration officials who had requested the “unmasking” of Lt. Gen. Flynn during the presidential transition period. The list included then Vice President Joe Biden, James Comey then head of the FBI, John Brennan then head of the CIA, and James Clapper then Director of National Intelligence.

Soon after that he released an entire email that Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice had written and sent to herself on President Trump’s inauguration day, about an Oval Office meeting held some days earlier in which the Russia investigation plot was discussed. Present at the  meeting, she recorded, was Obama himself, Joe Biden, James Comey, and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. She repeated several times that Obama insisted everything they did to carry out the plot against the incoming president and his appointed security advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, must  be “done by the book”. Yet Obama could not have believed that there was a legal way, a method approved by the “book” of the law, to stage a coup d’état!

So the plot has been blown wide open, and President Trump rightly calls it “the greatest political crime in the history of our country”.

Grenell has also served his country and its president well as US Ambassador to Germany.  Bruce Bawer specifies how at Front Page (in an article mainly about the furious reaction of the Democrats to the fact that the first openly gay man to be a Cabinet member has been appointed by President Trump, who, they constantly allege without a trace of evidence as usual, is “anti-gay”).

In Berlin [Grenell] called on German firms to stop commerce with Iran and pushed Angela Merkel’s government to spend more on defense, take back an old Nazi from the U.S., and ban Hezbollah. …

Anyone remotely familiar with the situation knows that Germany has long been the most anti-American country in Western Europe; a few months ago, a survey showed that only 35% of Germans view the U.S. positively and that “Germans now have more trust in China than in the United States”. …

[[Yet] German firms did cut ties with Iran; Merkel’s government did hike its defense budget; she took that old Nazi off our hands; and, yes, Hezbollah got banned. …

The salient point about Grenell’s stint in Germany is that he’s exactly what the German-American relationship has needed for a long time. Germans, or at least German elites, have always looked down on Americans as rubes and boors; after we crushed their evil empire in 1945, they kept a low profile for a couple of decades, whereupon the War in Vietnam gave them an excuse to climb back on their high horse. After that, the contempt ran deeper than ever, because, whatever their pretensions, they knew we were a superpower and they weren’t, and that was, for them, an unbearable thought. Their chronic lust for power was satiated by the transformation of the Common Market into the EU, which gave German leaders the vast continental empire they always wanted.

While consolidating power over that empire, the Germans have treated their sometime conqueror and longtime protector, the U.S. with increasing disrespect, welshing on NATO debt and ignoring U.S. concerns about their dealings with Iran and Russia. More than any American envoy before him, Grenell, with Trump’s backing, has called them on the carpet for this, put them in their place, knocked them off their perches. (As Victor Davis Hanson has put it, “Trump did not create the wound with Germany. He simply tore off the scab, exposed, and poked at what was long festering beneath.”) They can’t stand it, but they have to take it, because they know what’s what and who’s who. It’s good for them. It’s good for the world. …

So Richard Grenell is good for America, good for the conservative Right, good for the Trump administration – and good for the world.

Raging mutiny 1

There is a civil war raging in America – a “cold civil war”.

The always interesting political analyst David P. Goldman, aka Spengler, writes at the Asia Times:

The distinguished political scientist Angelo Codevilla coined the ominous term “cold civil war” to describe America’s precarious condition, adding, “Statesmanship’s first task is to prevent it from turning hot.”

The attempted massacre this week of Republican Congressmen and their staff by a deranged partisan of Sen. Bernie Sanders turned up the heat a notch, but it would be mistaken to attribute much importance to this dreadful outburst of left-wing rage. The augury of American fracture will not be street violence, but a constitutional crisis implicating virtually the whole of America’s governing caste. The shock troops in the cold civil war are not gunmen but lawyers.

Here we interrupt an argument that we very largely agree with, to cavil: Lawyers acting as shock troops in this cold civil war, and the politicians who employ them, are themselves making “a dreadful outburst of left-wing rage”, albeit with words and not guns.

A considerable portion of America’s permanent bureaucracy, including elements of its intelligence community, is engaged in an illegal and unconstitutional mutiny against the elected commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump. Most of the Democratic Party and a fair sampling of the Republican Establishment want to force Trump out of office, and to this end undertook an entrapment scheme to entice the president and his staff into actions which might be construed after the fact as obstruction of justice.

By means yet undisclosed, the mutineers forced Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn from office and now seek to bring down the president for allegedly obstructing an investigation of Gen. Flynn that arose in the first place from the entrapment scheme.

By no coincidence is Gen. Flynn the central character in this scenario. … The CIA really is out to get him:

Flynn’s Defense Intelligence Agency produced a now-notorious 2012 report warning that chaos in Syria’s civil war enabled the rise of a new Caliphate movement, namely ISIS. … Flynn humiliated the bungling CIA and exposed the incompetence and deception of the Obama administration, and got fired for it. …

The mainstream media makes no effort to disguise its hatred for Trump and insinuates in countless ways that the president fired former FBI director James Comey in order to protect Gen. Flynn from a legitimate investigation. I do not believe this to be the case; I think it more likely that Comey showed insufficient zeal in uncovering the pattern of press leaks and other sabotage which the mutineers employed against the president.

Faced with a mutiny fed by illegal actions (leaking classified information is a felony that carries a 10-year prison sentence), the president requires a Pitbull for a counterintelligence chief. Comey, who in 2005 earned $6 million as general counsel for the giant defense contractor Lockheed Martin, is more of a Pomeranian. …

If it is proven that Russian cyber-spies hacked the email account of Democratic National Committee Chairman John Podesta and handed embarrassing information to Wikileaks, we will know that Russia has done what all intelligence agencies have done for centuries: leak embarrassing political information to the press.

Western intelligence services leak information about Putin’s alleged personal fortune and personal life and skullduggery to the media, as well as information about the dodgy connections of Chinese officials and their offspring to business.

Podesta and his gang at the DNC used unethical and perhaps illegal means to sandbag the campaign of Sen. Sanders, leaks about which embarrassed Hillary Clinton. Sanders, knowing on which side his bread is buttered, declined to make an issue of the sandbagging, allowing Trump’s enemies to transform what should have been an investigation of corruption in the Democratic Party into a fairy-tale about Russian spies stealing an American election with implied collusion by the Trump campaign.

The Trump-Russia collusion story is nonsense, as its disseminators know better than anyone else. The object of the exercise is not to support the innuendo, but to launch an investigation which can provoke the White House into responses that might be construed as illegal.

The intelligence leaks involved in framing the story alone are probably sufficient grounds to put several dozen senior officials in federal prison for double-digit terms. That consideration gauges the scale of the problem: the mutineers have committed multiple felonies, and their downside should the mutiny go wrong is not ignominious retirement but hard time at Leavenworth.

Oh, may it be so! It is a consummation devoutly to be wished.

For the moment, the mutineers have the momentum. The Trump administration continues to run on a skeleton staff, with the vast majority of key positions still unoccupied. If my surmise is correct, it was unable to persuade the director of the FBI, the nation’s chief watchdog, to undertake vigorous countermeasures against the mutiny, for example, a comprehensive screening of electronic communications by the reporters who received leaks of classified materials. …

The White House and in particular the National Security Council … remain riddled with Obama Administration holdovers, forcing Trump to rely on a close circle of trusted advisers. That limits the president’s ability to reach out for allies against the mutineers.

The installation of former FBI director Robert Mueller as Special Counsel … also constrains the counterintelligence operations of the White House. If senior intelligence officials claim to be engaged in counterintelligence investigations against Russian interference in US elections, is it obstruction of justice to investigate their illegal contacts with the media?

The mutineers also can count on the support of Establishment worthies like Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), for whom Trump’s election was an intolerable humiliation. Trump ran against the Bush wing of the Republican Party as much as he ran against the Democrats. …

Trump’s one great advantage in all of this is that he has done nothing wrong. He did not obstruct justice because there is no crime. The mutineers’ only hope is to provoke him to take actions which might be construed as obstruction of justice in an investigation with no crime and no victim. Still, it is a moment of great danger for the American Republic.

The mutiny has burned its bridges on the beach, and its perpetrators will risk everything to make it succeed. Whatever the outcome, the legitimacy of a political system designed to be litigious and oppositional will be called into question, and the polarization of American opinion will become more rather than less extreme.

More physical violence cannot be ruled out. The mutineers must lose the cold civil war, if only after inflicting crippling damage on the country. Then they face long years in jail (with a bit of luck and impartial justice from Trump appointed judges). The chances they will then turn to – or at least encourage – violence, are surely high. The Left will not surrender easily. It worked too long, too hard for victory, got it, and thought it had secured power for ever. It cannot let go without a no-holds-barred fight. It is mostly screaming biting and scratching now, but will almost certainly use guns and knives and all the weapons of mutiny that it can before it is forcibly crushed.

 

(Hat-tip for the Spengler article to our contributing commenter, liz)