What They're Really Up To- Chapter about a million- The Honest Work of John Durham
Just kidding, of course. He's a Republican, so you know what kind of person he is. Anyway, here are a few details.
John Durham is one of a succession of right wing legal hacks that the Republican party has used to spread lies about Democrats' supposed criminality. He joins the ranks of Alan Dershowitz, Jonathan Turley, Pants Down Rudy and Bill Barr, who have utterly destroyed their reputations as honest lawyers in order to serve the cause of promoting one party rule in this country. In April, 2017, Donald Trump assigned to Durham the task of "investigating" the supposed treason committed by Hillary, et. al. in the 2016 election, which involved revealing Trump's multiple connections with Vladimir Putin, a foreign dictator you may have heard of. Shortly before Trump got garbage canned from the White House, he had this clown appointed "special prosecutor," in an effort to prevent Joe Biden from sending him back to whatever kennel they let him out of, so he could continue his "investigation" forever, which he seems intent on doing. Probably pays a good salary, after all.
At this point, "forever" amounts to almost five years, and in all that time, Durham and the God knows how many people he employs have managed to come up with one indictment- for an attorney, Michael Sussman, whose alleged crime consists of reporting to the FBI information he had uncovered about Trump's connection to Putin, but not revealing that his law firm worked for Hillary's campaign. To be as clear as possible, his alleged lie did not have a single thing to do with what Durham was supposedly investigating. Durham made no claim that the substance of Sussman's remarks was in any way false. In a filing today, Sussman's attorneys stated:
“This is a case of extraordinary prosecutorial overreach. The law criminalizes only false statements that are material — false statements that matter because they can actually affect a specific decision of the government.”
Now, Durham is alleging some further unintelligible wrongdoings supposedly committed by Sussman, some of which are already demonstrated to be clearly false.
Well, that's it- five years of work by this hateful hatchet man, and this is all he has come up with- at best, an unrelated lie by someone with almost no connections to Hillary. But this is all it takes to crank up the right wing outrage machine to two or three hundred decibels. Here's Trump:
“Much of the now-uncovered espionage campaign of the Democrats breaking into the White House and my New York City apartment, took place after the 2016 Election as yet another way to undermine the upcoming 2020 Election,” Trump bellowed. “This spying into the Oval Office continued for a long period of time and further served to undermine and discredit the 2020 Election, along with massive ballot harvesting, phantom voters, and so many other things that made the Election a sham.
“In a stronger period of time in our country, this crime would have been punishable by death...”
There was no breaking into the White House or Trump's apartment, and no spying in the Oval Office. Even Durham knows better than to claim that, but Durham's phony investigation is providing a perfect occasion for Trump to blast out some malignant lies about Hillary and the Democrats, and use them to call for her to be murdered. And if you think that, if Trump manages to seize the Presidency again, he will not try to do just that, to Hillary and many other people, you are a fool. Here's Philip Bump at the Washington Post today:
"In a surprising twist, Trump uses inaccurate Durham reporting to boost his election claims...
There was no accessing of email servers alleged anywhere. And while Durham is careful to point out that 1) the research evaluating possible connections to Russia included (legally acquired) data from the executive office and that 2) this led to a February 2017 meeting about the research, he does not allege that the data included in that research was collected from the Trump White House.
In fact, lawyers for the research team itself told the New York Times that, to the best of their knowledge, it considered only executive-office data from 2016, before Trump was president.
there was no “breaking into the White House” or his apartment at Trump Tower, despite his very boomerian effort to conflate what happened to him with the burglary that triggered Watergate. There was no demonstrated “spying into the Oval Office” and, as far as has been reported, no examination of legally collected data from the executive office after 2016. It’s probable that the data at issue — log files of domain requests gathered to track possible infiltration attempts — was still collected after Trump was president, since its collection related to normal cybersecurity activity. It’s possible that the data then continued to be shared with external research organizations. But it’s not clear that it was or that it was used for any reason other than normal tracking of potential threats. It’s also not clear that the research conducted on the 2016 data was necessarily outside the scope of that same outcome.
What is very clear is that none of this had anything to do with the 2020 election."
The only objection I have to all of that is that Bump is still so naive that he thinks it is surprising that Trump would lie about what Durham has found in the last five years, which is, not to put too fine a point on it, nothing.
And of course, the right wingers have responded. Here are just a couple of articles that have appeared at right wing websites in the last few days. I don't want to drive you crazy or I could literally have included hundreds more.
Katie Pavlich, Town Hall; "Media Blasted For Refusing to Cover Latest Clinton Spying Revelations"
Refusing to cover nothing.
Spencer Brown, Town Hall: "Oh, So That's Why The New York Times Didn't Cover Latest Durham Bombshell"
Because far from being a bombshell, it is a particularly boring specimen of Republican lying, a news story that fits into the "dog bites man" category?
Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit: "“He’s Going to Deliver. He’s Unraveling BIGGEST Political Scandal in US History” – KASH PATEL DROPS BOMBS – Durham Grand Jury Interviewed 24 People So Far"
24 people in 5 years. That's impressive. At that rate, he could interview the entire house of Representatives by 2039. That would sure give him some job security.
And what did they find out from those 24 people? No word about that. Don't forget that Kash Patel's last employer was Devin "Sue the Cow" Nunes.
Larry Johnson, Gateway Pundit: "President Trump Was a Victim of Espionage, Both Foreign and Domestic"
Well, you can say that, but Durham didn't. You just made it up.
Bonchie, Red State: "Desperation Sets In After Revelation That Durham Investigation Is 'Accelerating,' Targeting 'Other Matters'
Desperation from whom, I wonder? Judging from his psychotic ravings, I would say that the only desperate one is Trump himself.
Matt Margolis, PJ Media: "WATCH: White House Dodges Question About Bombshell Durham Revelations"
It dodges questions about nothing. Abomination! And now, my favorite one:
Daily Caller: "Yes, A Poll Found A Majority Of Democrats Think Hillary Should Be Investigated For Spying"
This alleged poll, widely reported on the right, comes from something known as the "TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics." It has a supposed website, but when you click on it, you get a screen saying "this site can't be reached." Other than that, every single hit naming this company is a link to this story about its supposed poll of Democrats.
Well, after five years of nothing, I guess that's fair to say.
Anyway, time to wrap this up. Here is my real point: This is not just one more random, idiotic Republican attack on Democrats. What the Republicans call "spying" worthy of execution is simple, totally legal opposition research, or to put it more simply, reporting information about your opponents to the public. Republicans are desperately afraid of having that sort of thing out in the open, for obvious reasons, so this is a salvo in an attempt to bully Democrats into being afraid to say anything about their Republican opponents, for fear of being thrown in prison. Nothing can do more damage to Republicans than having people find out what they really want to do, so we can't have that. In the future, we can expect charges of spying and treason to swirl around any attempt by Democrats to reveal Republicans' criminality. Republicans, on the other hand, will consider themselves to be carrying out their patriotic duty when they accuse Democrats of being Communists, of eating babies, of keeping millions of children in underground tunnels, and of being tools of Satan. No level playing field for them.
This is just one more Republican stab at election rigging- controlling which information, and which lies, the public is allowed to hear. You can be sure that, as crude as this jerk Durham's hatchet job has been, Republicans will not abandon the attempt, and will pretty quickly find more subtle crooks to do their bidding.
Just a little addendum: Apparently, Fox News referred to Hillary 200 times yesterday. Trump must really be in a panic.
One final comment: If you are interested in a more informative, less sarcastic treatment of this idiocy, nobody has done as good a job of covering it as Marcy Wheeler at Empty Wheel. It's a great blog- take a look.