Tag Archives: spygate

Durham Says Clinton Lawyer Engaged in a ‘Political Deceit’ When Giving Trump Dirt to FBI

John Solomon
 March 5th, 2022

Former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann engaged in “political deceit” during his contacts with the FBI and deprived agents of critical information that could have influenced the course of the Russia probe, Special Counsel John Durham declared in a new filing asking a court not to dismiss his criminal case.

Sussmann recently asked the trial judge to dismiss a charge of lying to the FBI, arguing his alleged false statement to the FBI was not material to the case and was protected by the First Amendment. The lawyer is accused of lying to the FBI when he claimed he was not working on behalf of any clients when he delivered dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump to the FBI general counsel alleging the GOP nominee had a secret computer channel to the Kremlin.

In fact, FBI agents found no evidence that the computer channel existed, and Sussmann was in fact working on behalf of the Clinton campaign and a computer executive aligned with the campaign when he approached the FBI, his indictment last fall alleged.

Durham responded Friday with a sweeping rebuke of Sussmann’s conduct in 2016 and 2017, saying as a former Justice Deparyment lawyer he knew that giving false information to the FBI undercut the tenets of the legal system.

“Far from finding himself in the vulnerable position of an ordinary person whose speech is likely to be chilled, the defendant – a sophisticated and well-connected lawyer – chose to bring politically-charged allegations to the FBI’s chief legal officer at the height of an election season,” Durham wrote the judge.

“He then chose to lie about the clients who were behind those allegations. Using such rare access to the halls of power for the purposes of political deceit is hardly the type of speech that the Founders intended to protect,” he added. “The Court should therefore reject defendant’s invitation to expand the scope of the First Amendment to protect such conduct.”

You can read the full court filing here.

File: SussmannFiling.pdf

Durham also revealed that he plans to deliver testimony at trial from FBI and government witnesses that Sussmann’s false statement was material and relevant and could have influenced the course of the Russia collusion case.

“The expected testimony of multiple government witnesses will refute the defendant’s argument that the defendant’s false statement was immaterial,” Durham wrote. “As noted above, the government expects that current and former FBI employees will testify at trial that understanding the origins of data and information is relevant to the FBI in multiple ways, including to assess the reliability and motivations of the source.

“None of this is novel. An evaluation of a source can (and often does) influence the FBI’s decisions regarding its initial opening decisions and subsequent investigative steps. That alone is sufficient to establish materiality.”

You can read Sussmann’s indictment here.

File:  SussmannIndict.pdf

Documents Show Former Officials ‘In Real Trouble’ in Durham Investigation: Meadows

ZACHARY STIEBER 
September 8, 2020

Newly reviewed documents show that former FBI agent Peter Strzok and other officials involved in the counter-intelligence probe against Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign are in trouble, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said.

U.S. Attorney John Durham is reviewing the origins of that investigation and landed his first guilty plea last month.

While he doesn’t have visibility into the timeline of Durham’s probe, Meadows said he’s reviewed additional documents that “say that a number of the players, the Peter Strzoks, the Andy McCabes, the James Comeys—and even others in the administration previously—are in real trouble because of their willingness to participate in an unlawful act.”

“And I use the word unlawful at best, it broke all kinds of protocols and at worst people should go to jail as I mentioned previously,” Meadows said during a virtual appearance on Fox Business’ “Mornings With Maria” on Monday.

Strzok, McCabe, and Comey are former high-level FBI officials.

Strzok, best known for exchanging biased text messages about Trump with an FBI lawyer he was having an affair with, was fired by FBI officials in 2018.

Epoch Times Photo
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to members of the press outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington on Aug. 28, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The former agent sat down for an interview with CBS that ran over the weekend. He insisted that the counter-intelligence probe, dubbed Crossfire Hurricane, was opened on a legitimate basis.

Meadows said it was easy for Strzok to make claims when not under oath.

“In all of his interview, I can tell you this: It’s not backed up by the facts. It’s not backed up by documents that I’ve seen. And ultimately his house of cards will come falling down,” Meadows said.

The facts that have come out show that officials treated Trump “very differently, in an inappropriate way, and they must be held accountable,” he added.

Durham’s criminal investigation is being kept under tight wraps, prompting much speculation about when another development will come, or even if any other people will be charged.

Epoch Times Photo
United States Attorney John Durham (L) (Department of Justice) and Attorney General William Barr. (R) (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Trey Gowdy, a Fox News contributor who used to serve in the House of Representatives, said over the weekend that there’s concern that Durham “is dragging his feet.”

Durham, he said, “is going to access documents that the FBI never shared with Congress and he’ll write the definitive accounting of what happened.”

“Whether or not there’ll be more indictments or not, I don’t know and I like to assume that there will not be,” he said, adding: “That puts me in a small minority, but I’m assuming that the Clinesmith indictment will be the only one.”

Kevin Clinesmith recently pleaded guilty to altering an email to say Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, was not a CIA asset when the CIA had said the exact opposite.

The altered email was used to obtain spy warrants against Page, enabling the FBI to conduct surveillance against Page and people he was linked to in the future and past.

Meadows, meanwhile, said Trump supports the declassification of all documents, along with full transparency.

“He has nothing to hide,” he said.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said last week that he’s coordinating with Durham to declassify more documents.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber

Durham Inquiry into Spying on Trump Campaign Could Drop Bombshells by End of Summer

 Isabelle Z.
August 10th, 2020

There has been a lot of speculation that U.S. Attorney John Durham will hold off on releasing the results of his investigation into spying on the Trump campaign until after the election to avoid accusations of political interference. However, sources who have worked with Durham on public corruption cases in the past have said they doubt he will yield to political pressure, with some believing he may even drop a few bombshells before Labor Day.

This is supported by the words of Attorney General William Barr, who refused to rule out the possibility of a pre-election release of information. Citing a long-standing policy by the Justice Department not to announce any new developments in politically sensitive cases prior to an election, Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.) asked Barr if he would commit to not releasing any reports by Durham ahead of the election. In response, he simply stated, “No.”

Because that policy bars prosecutors from taking big steps in this type of case within 60 days of an election, Durham has until the Friday before Labor Day to make a move outside of this window. So far, Durham has been pretty quiet about his investigation into the Russiagate investigation of President Trump and his 2016 campaign. This has prompted lots of speculation regarding who could be prosecuted and when action might be taken.

Because the probe involves the Trump administration as well as high-level officials from the previous administration, including former Vice President Joe Biden, the consequences of the investigation could be significant. Notes that were recently declassified by the FBI show that Biden provided input in the investigation of Trump adviser Michael Flynn.

At the center of the case is government spying on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election and whether or not that surveillance was justified or was simply done to smear Trump’s campaign and, later, his presidency. Durham’s investigation is also looking into the potential role of the CIA and whether it monitored Trump advisers overseas or broke laws restricting spying on American citizens.

Should Durham release a report that indicates widespread corruption or seek a criminal indictment or plea agreements involving former officials from the Obama-Biden administration, it could turn voters away from Biden. If the news is postponed until after the election, on the other hand, it could dishearten Trump’s base.

Former assistant FBI Director Chris Swecker, who has worked with Durham on past investigations, said: “I would find it hard to believe that he punts under any circumstances.”

He added that delaying the work until after the election might risk throwing away 16 months’ worth of investigations. Should Biden be elected, Durham’s work would essentially be canceled out as the new president would likely replace Barr and Durham. However, if the reports and potential indictments are made public ahead of the election, a potential Biden administration would be in the position where they have to take further action or close the probe down and make themselves look even more corrupt.

“John knows this, and I fully expect he will take action before the election,” Swecker said.

Criminal charges could be forthcoming

He also believes that any action taken by Durham will extend beyond a report. In fact, he is expecting criminal charges to be announced. He said that Durham is not “squeamish” when it comes to bringing indictments and thinks the case would have been closed by now had crimes not been uncovered. He also pointed to a lack of media leaks from Durham’s office as more evidence that a serious corruption case is in the works.

The Attorney General has said that Obama and Biden are not targets in the case, but some experts believe that former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith may be one focus of the investigation for his role in doctoring an email used to gain surveillance approval for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. A leak of sensitive information to a columnist from the Washington Post about conversations involving Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador may also be an area of interest in the investigation.

Trump told Fox Business that he heard the information Durham has uncovered in the investigation is “breathtaking” and will show he was maliciously targeted by the Obama administration.

Democrats appear to be quite worried about this investigation, and Barr’s recent refusal to commit to not releasing Durham’s report ahead of the election indicates that we could well get some answers within the next few weeks.

SPYGATE: First Criminal Charge by Durham Casts Shadow Over Mueller Probe

IVAN PENTCHOUKOV 
August 18, 2020

U.S. Attorney John Durham filed the first charge of his criminal inquiry on Aug. 14 against the primary FBI attorney assigned to provide legal support to the special counsel team led by Robert Mueller, casting a shadow over the 22-month probe that roiled the nation before finding no evidence of collusion between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russia.

As part of a potential plea deal with Durham, former FBI assistant general counsel Kevin Clinesmith is expected to plead guilty on Aug. 19 to altering an email as part of a process to obtain a secret court warrant used to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Clinesmith altered the email on June 19, 2017, while working as the primary FBI attorney assigned to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, which Mueller inherited a month earlier.

According to the court documents, Clinesmith inserted the words “and not a source” into an email from a CIA liaison that described Page’s relationship with the agency. As the primary FBI attorney on the case, Clinesmith was asked to find out if Page was a source for the CIA before the FBI applied for the fourth and final warrant to continue surveilling the former Trump campaign associate.

The liaison replied with a memo showing that Page was an approved “operational contact” for the agency, a crucial fact that never made it into the spy warrant application the FBI sent to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. According to the CIA memo, Page reported to the agency about his contacts with Russian intelligence officers, a fact which would have been indispensable to a judge considering the FBI’s attestation that Page is a Russian agent.

The Department of Justice inspector general flagged Clinesmith’s forgery as one of the most egregious faults among the 17 serious errors and omissions contained in the applications the FBI used to surveil Page. While the inspector general’s reports and other evidence in the public realm have already substantially clouded the credibility of the Mueller probe, Durham’s first case and the expected guilty plea taint the battery of blunders with the first indisputable link to criminality.

The charge also raises serious questions about the culture within the broader special counsel operation, during which Clinesmith played a key role for roughly a year before being removed upon the discovery of his blatantly anti-Trump text messages.

“I am so stressed about what I could have done differently,” Clinesmith wrote to his FBI colleague Sally Moyer on the day after Trump’s victory in November 2016. “I’m just devastated.”

“Plus, my [expletive] name is all over the legal documents investigating his staff,” he wrote a few messages later.

Clinesmith wasn’t the only FBI official to have been removed from Mueller’s team over biased text messages. FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page ridiculed Trump, spoke of stopping him from winning the election, and mentioned an “insurance policy” in the “unlikely” event he won. The pair, who at the time were involved an extramarital affair, broached the subject of impeachment around the time Mueller was assigned to lead the inquiry. Mueller removed Strzok upon learning of the messages. Page had left on her own prior to the discovery.

The inspector general didn’t find evidence that bias motivated any of the investigative actions. He also told Congress that he was baffled by the sheer number of serious errors committed by three handpicked teams working on the FBI’s most sensitive case.

While it is unclear what Durham will make public next and when, the court papers in Clinesmith’s case provide a hint. The charge against the former FBI attorney was filed as information rather than an indictment, indicating that Clinesmith agreed to waive his right to have a grand jury decide whether the government has probable cause to charge a crime. The waiver of indictment is often used with a defendant who agreed to plead guilty under a cooperation agreement. The terms of the plea may reveal whether Clinesmith is cooperating with the investigation.

The charging document also states that the CIA provided the memo about Page to “certain members of the Crossfire Hurricane team” on Aug. 17, 2016, months before Clinesmith was assigned as the primary FBI attorney on the case. The “certain members” received the memo days after opening individual cases on four Trump campaign associates, including Page. All four of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications failed to disclose Page’s status and history with the CIA.

When the DOJ inspector general asked Clinesmith why he subsequently described Page as “not a source” for the CIA, Clinesmith said that he recalled the liaison “saying that [Page] was not a source of theirs,” but rather “incidentally reporting information via a source of theirs.” When the inspector general asked the CIA liaison about it, the liaison said “her email stated just the opposite.”

Justin Shur, a lawyer for Clinesmith, said in a statement to Reuters that his client “deeply regrets having altered the email.”

“It was never his intent to mislead the court or his colleagues as he believed the information he relayed was accurate. But Kevin understands what he did was wrong and accepts responsibility,” Shur said.

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes told Fox Business in June that the Republicans on the committee have sent 14 criminal referrals related to Crossfire Hurricane.

President Donald Trump, who has long asserted that the Obama administration spied on his campaign, told reporters at the White House on Aug. 14 the charge against Clinesmith is “just the beginning, I would imagine, because what happened should never happen again.”

“The fact is, they spied on my campaign and they got caught, and you’ll be hearing more,” Trump said.

The plethora of errors in the Page FISA applications appear to be an anomaly. Horowitz’s subsequent review of a sample of 29 other FISA applications found less than a handful of errors, none of which were significant enough to invalidate any of the applications. By contrast, the FBI conceded that the errors in the Page FISAs invalidated the last two warrants.

Clinesmith’s tenure at the FBI ended on Sept. 21, 2019, according to the criminal information. The bureau told The Epoch Times that Clinesmith left before “an internal disciplinary process was completed.”

In addition to working as the attorney on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, Clinesmith worked on the probe of Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private email server to conduct government business during her tenure as secretary of state. His work on that investigation earned him an entire section in a separate inspector general report, which found that he sent numerous politically charged messages ridiculing then-candidate Trump.

External reviews of the conduct of the Mueller investigation aren’t the only sources casting shadows on the legacy of the probe.

Attorney General William Barr appointed Durham in May 2019 to examine the conduct of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation and related issues. Durham is looking to determine whether intelligence collection on Trump’s presidential campaign by top Obama administration officials was “lawful and appropriate.” The investigation was designated a formal criminal investigation in October 2019.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) in March dropped the charges brought by Mueller against two Russian companies accused of using social media to sow discord during the 2016 election. The charges were once heralded as one part of Russia’s two-prong operation to influence the election.

The second prong of the purported campaign consists of charges against a dozen Russian intelligence officers that remain alleged. In May, the DOJ moved to drop charges brought by Mueller against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Obamagate: U.S. Officials Have Declassified List Of Obama Officials Who Were Involved In ‘Unmasking’ General Flynn

Ryan Saavedra,
May 11th, 2020

Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has declassified the list of former Obama administration officials who were allegedly involved in the “unmasking” of then-incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn.

ABC News first reported the news but initially said in the title that Grenell was in the process of trying to declassify the list of Obama officials.

A source with knowledge of the matter told The Daily Wire that the list has already been declassified and now it’s on Attorney General William Barr to release the list.

ABC News appeared to later update their report, which stated:

Grenell, who remains the U.S. ambassador to Germany along with being the acting DNI, visited the Justice Department last week and brought the list with him, according to the official.

His visit indicates his focus on an issue previously highlighted in 2017 by skeptics of the investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, specifically allegations that former officials improperly unveiled Flynn’s identity from intercepts of his call with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Grenell’s visit came the same week that Attorney General William Barr moved to dismiss the criminal case against Flynn following his guilty plea for lying to the FBI about his conversations with Kislyak.

Fox News reported in 2017 that the disclosing of Flynn’s identity could be “a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison” because “rules state that if an American with Constitutional protections is collaterally caught in such surveillance, his or her identity must be protected.”

In an interview last week, Barr said that the charges against Flynn were dropped because the FBI, which was under the leadership of then-Director James Comey, were not conducting a legitimate law enforcement investigation.

“A crime cannot be established here because there was not, in our view, a legitimate investigation going on,” Barr said. “They did not have a basis for a counterintelligence investigation against Flynn at that stage, based on a perfectly legitimate and appropriate call he made as a member of the transition.”

When asked if the Obama administration set a trap for Flynn, Barr responded, “Yes. Essentially. They had started a counterintelligence investigation during the summer, as you know, related to the campaign. But in December, the team, the Crossfire Hurricane team, was closing that and determined they had found nothing to justify continuing with that investigation against Flynn.”

“On the very day they prepared the final papers, the seventh floor, that is the director’s office and the deputy director’s office up there, sent down word they should keep that open,” Barr continued. “So that they could try to go and question Flynn about this call he had with the Russian ambassador.”

“This is one particular episode, but we view it as part of a number of related acts. And we’re looking at the whole pattern of conduct,” Barr added. “I think a very important evidence here was that this was not a bona fide counterintelligence investigation – was that they were closing the investigation in December. They started that process. And on January 4th, they were closing it.”

Former President Barack Obama responded to the decision by Barr by saying that he was “worried” that Flynn had been cleared from the illegitimate investigation because the “rule of law is at risk.”

Further Reading: Obama, Spygate, and the Shadow Presidency

Original Source: https://www.dailywire.com/news/breaking-u-s-officials-have-declassified-list-of-obama-officials-who-were-involved-in-unmasking-general-flynn

Obama’s Spying Scandal is Starting to Look a Lot Like Watergate

By Michael Barone
May 27, 2018 | 5:00pm 

F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims,” read the headline on a lengthy New York Times story May 18. “The Justice Department used a suspected informant to probe whether Trump campaign aides were making improper contacts with Russia in 2016,” read a story in the May 21 edition of the Wall Street Journal.

So much for those who dismissed charges of Obama administration infiltration of Donald Trump’s campaign as paranoid fantasy. Defenders of the Obama intelligence and law enforcement apparat have had to fall back on the argument that this infiltration was for Trump’s — and the nation’s — own good.

It’s an argument that evidently didn’t occur to Richard Nixon’s defenders when it became clear that Nixon operatives had burglarized and wiretapped the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in June 1972.

Until 2016, just about everyone agreed that it was a bad thing for government intelligence or law enforcement agencies to spy — er, use informants — on a political campaign, especially one of the opposition party. Liberals were especially suspicious of the FBI and the CIA. Nowadays they say that anyone questioning their good faith is unpatriotic.

The crime at the root of Watergate was an attempt at surveillance of the DNC after George McGovern seemed about to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, just as the government misconduct in Russiagate was an attempt at surveillance of the Republican Party’s national campaign after Trump clinched its nomination.

In both cases, the incumbent administration regarded the opposition’s unorthodox nominee as undermining the nation’s long-standing foreign policy and therefore dangerous to the country. McGovern renounced the Democrats’ traditional Cold War policy. Trump expressed skepticism about George W. Bush and Obama administration policies on NATO, Mexico, Iran and (forgetting Barack Obama’s ridicule of Mitt Romney on the subject) Russia.

The incumbents’ qualms had some rational basis. But their attempts at surveillance were misbegotten. Back in 1972, my brief experience in campaigns left me skeptical that you could learn anything useful by wiretapping the opposition. If you were reasonably smart, you should be able to figure out what a reasonably smart opposition would do and respond accordingly. Subsequent experience has confirmed that view. It’s a different story if you face irrational opposition. It’s hard to figure out what stupid people are going to do.

Similarly, it’s hard to figure out what the Obama law enforcement and intelligence folks had to gain by spying. Candidate Trump’s bizarre refusals to criticize Vladimir Putin and Russia were already a political liability, criticized aptly and often by Hillary Clinton and mainstream media.

But neither the Obama informant/spy nor Robert Mueller’s investigation has presented additional evidence of Trump collusion with Russia. None of Mueller’s indictments points in that direction, and Trump’s foreign policy over 16 months has been far less favorable to Russia than Obama’s.

Both the Watergate wiretap and the Obama appointees’ investigator/spy infiltration were initially inspired amid fears that the upstart opposition might win. The Watergate burglary was planned when Nixon’s re-election was far from assured. A May 1972 Harris Poll showed him with only 48 percent against McGovern. It was only after the Haiphong harbor bombing and Moscow summit in early June made clear that US involvement in Vietnam was ending that Nixon’s numbers surged — just before the June 17 burglary.

In March 2016, it was conventional wisdom that Trump couldn’t be elected president. But his surprising and persistent strength in the Republican primaries left some doubtful, including the FBI lovebirds who instant messaged their desire for an “insurance policy” against that dreaded eventuality.

Their unease may have owed something to their knowledge of how the Obama Justice Department and FBI had fixed the Hillary Clinton emails case. Clinton wasn’t indicted but was left with a disastrously low 32 percent of voters confident of her honesty and trustworthiness.

There are two obvious differences between Watergate and the Obama administration’s infiltration. The Watergate burglars were arrested in flagrante delicto, and their wiretaps never functioned. And neither the FBI nor the CIA fully cooperated with the post-election cover-up.

That’s quite a contrast with the Obama law enforcement and intelligence appointees’ promotion of Christopher Steele’s Clinton campaign-financed dodgy dossier and feeding the mainstream media’s insatiable hunger for Russia collusion stories.

Has an outgoing administration ever worked to delegitimize and dislodge its successor like this? We hear many complaints, some justified, about Donald Trump’s departure from standard political norms. But the greater and more dangerous departure from norms may be that of the Obama officials seeking to overturn the results of the 2016 election.