Durham Report’s Deep State Revelations ‘Should Shock Every American’: Senator
Although Americans have known for years that the 2016 Trump campaign did not collude with Russian intelligence, the Durham Report “should shock every American,” because it revealed the anti-Trump plot reached all the way to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, a U.S. senator told “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins.”
In October 2019, then-Attorney General William Barr appointed Special Counsel John Durham to investigate the origins of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane operation, which alleged that Trump’s campaign had forged illegal ties with the Kremlin. Durham summed up the findings of his three-and-a-half-year-long investigation in a 306-page report written last Friday and made public at 4 p.m. Monday.
The document “reveals the fact that President Obama, Vice President Biden, [and] CIA Director John Brennan,” among others, “were all briefed [by] August of 2016 that the Hillary Clinton campaign had a scheme to falsely accuse Donald Trump of colluding with Russia,” Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told Family Research Council President Tony Perkins one hour after its release. “The FBI knew, for example, the Steele dossier contained Russian disinformation, and yet they continued on with their investigation. They set up a special counsel. They put America through the political turmoil of literally the entire four years of the Trump administration.”
Far from convicting Trump, the inquiry ultimately proved that “Hillary Clinton is the one who created this Russia collusion hoax. It was a figment of her imagination,” Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) told Perkins Tuesday evening. Clinton, the sore loser of the 2016 presidential election, “wanted to find a way to discredit and disgrace Donald Trump, because she was focused on being the first female president — and that desire got in the way of really running an upright and truthful campaign.”
Durham concluded that the entire basis for the operation came without “any actual evidence,” that it was based entirely on an erroneous dossier paid for by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee, that intelligence agencies took harsh action against Trump while letting Clinton escape unscathed, and that the nation’s leaders knew the likely origin of the Russian charges as early as July 2016.
The fever dream of “Russian collusion” began from a 2016 “Clinton campaign plan to vilify Trump by tying him to [Russian President] Vladimir Putin so as to divert attention from her own concerns relating to her use of a private email server.” As Obama’s secretary of State, Clinton had transmitted classified information via an unsecured server using her personal email account. Critics accused her of using the account to hide government documents from Freedom of Information Act queries.
Clinton and the Democratic National Committee funneled money for the report through the Democrat-tied Perkins Coie law firm. They hired British spy Christopher Steele to dig up dirt on Trump; Steele subcontracted the job of compiling the “Steele dossier” to Igor Danchenko, a former Russian national who went on to work at the liberal Brooking Institution. Danchenko eventually admitted he filled the salacious document with “beer talk,” consisting of nothing more than unverified rumors.
Immediately upon hearing of possible collusion, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe immediately dispatched FBI agent Peter Strzok to initiate Crossfire Hurricane. He did so “without ever having spoken to the persons who provided the information” at its core, without asking U.S. agents surveilling Russia, and without “using any of the standard analytical tools typically employed by the FBI in evaluating raw intelligence,” Durham said.
“Neither U.S. law enforcement nor the [i]ntelligence [c]ommunity appears to have possessed any actual evidence of collusion in their holdings at the commencement of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation,” wrote Durham. “Crossfire Hurricane investigators did not and could not corroborate any of the substantive allegations contained in the Steele” dossier, even after the FBI offered Steele “$1 million or more” to provide corroboration.
Still, the investigation lumbered on through Trump’s early term. Lurid allegations of prostitutes splashed across headlines around the time of Trump’s inauguration. Eventually, the bogus charge led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel. Before a discrediting appearance before Congress, Mueller concluded in 2019 that his “investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
The new details in Durham’s final report come not from the fact that the investigation was baseless but that officials throughout the Obama administration and the federal bureaucracy knew it almost immediately.
U.S. intelligence agents had intercepted overseas reports about the “approval by Hillary Clinton on July 26, 2016[,] of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisors to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security services.” That report prompted then-CIA Director John Brennan, a one-time supporter of the Communist Party USA, “to brief the President [Obama], Vice President [Biden], Attorney General [Loretta Lynch], Director of the FBI [James Comey], and other senior government officials about” the message on August 3. The CIA also sent “a formal written referral memorandum” to Comey and Strzok “for their consideration and action.”
On September 7, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that U.S. agents had learned about Clinton’s plan but added that the fact that they learned of it in “Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.”
But they opted to investigate the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign during an election year “based on raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence.”
Officials sought a FISA warrant to spy on Trump aide Carter Page “within days” of receiving these rumors and innuendo. Even the agents seeking a FISA warrant targeting Page privately “acknowledge[ed] — both then and in hindsight — that they did not genuinely believe there was probable cause to believe that the target was knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of a foreign power.” They also “disregarded significant exculpatory information” about Page.
Durham raised the possibility that intelligence agents lied to the court to obtain authorization to surveil Page. The four FISA warrant applications for Page contained 17 material “errors” and “omissions,” compared with four errors in “29 non-Page applications” Durham noted.
In August 2020, former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith entered a guilty plea to making a false statement for tampering with a CIA email to obtain the FISA warrant to spy on Page and, by extension, Trump’s presidential campaign.
The FBI’s investigation-centered treatment of Trump “reflected a noticeable departure from how it approached prior matters involving possible attempted foreign election interference plans aimed at the Clinton campaign,” Durham noted. Federal agents briefed Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign upon seeing evidence that foreign nations sought to influence her campaign, but they opened an investigation into Republican Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid within days.
The fact that this violates FBI protocols and procedures “seems to have been clear at the time.”
Although Durham noted that his investigation interpreted the facts “in a light most favorable to the Crossfire Hurricane investigators,” he came to the conclusion that “the Department [of Justice] and the FBI failed to uphold their mission of strict fidelity to the law.” The politically motivated investigation inflicted “severe reputational harm” on the FBI.
But Durham couched all of the Obama-Biden administration’s actions as “errors,” perhaps driven by “confirmation bias.” On Monday night, the Biden administration’s FBI acknowledged “missteps” in the investigation — missteps the agency claimed it has now corrected.
Others put a far more negative construction on the case, which consumed the entirety of the Trump presidency and which much of the Left continues to fallaciously accept.
“It was a seditious conspiracy,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) told Newsmax TV host Chris Plante Tuesday night.
President Trump greeted the report’s conclusions as evidence the Democrats “scammed” the American people. “WOW!” exclaimed Trump on Truth Social. “After extensive research, Special Counsel John Durham concludes the FBI never should have launched the Trump-Russia Probe! In other words, the American Public was scammed, just as it is being scammed right now by those who don’t want to see GREATNESS for AMERICA!”
Others wonder why the report took so long and when anyone will face consequences. “The real question on the table right now is: Will the media hold anybody accountable? Will the media hold itself accountable?” Senator Johnson asked Perkins on Monday night.
Durham’s concluding report alleged no criminal wrongdoing and brought no charges against anyone. Durham had indicted two people in fall 2021: Michael Sussmann, an attorney at Perkins Coie, and Danchenko, both for lying to federal investigators. Jurors failed to convict both Danchenko and Sussman. Danchenko remained on the FBI’s payroll until October 2020.
Durham’s report implied there’s no point in creating new rules while agents continually break the old ones. “The promulgation of additional rules and regulations to be learned in yet more training exercises would likely prove to be a fruitless exercise,” Durham wrote.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) invited Durham to testify about his report next Thursday at 9 a.m. “We are confident Chairman Jordan will conduct such hearings with a view to further finding and exposing the rot that still permeates too much of the top levels of our government’s permanent bureaucracy,” said Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots Action. “Those who lawlessly and corruptly weaponized the government against their political opponents must be held to account for their actions — not just because actions must have consequences, but as a deterrent to future lawbreaking. Equality before the law demands no less.”
But, Blackburn told Perkins, Congress cannot try a criminal case. “We’re going to have to have a new president and a new DOJ to finally hold people to account for this.”
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.