Will justice ever be served on those who concocted and investigated the debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy? Nobody knows yet, but there’s still hope. Prosecutor John Durham continues his probe into the matter, but now with enhanced powers. Fox News had learned that, two weeks before the 2020 election, Attorney General William Barr appointed Durham as special counsel to ensure that he would complete his investigation regardless of who occupies the White House in 2021. The Associated Press first reported the appointment.
Additionally, former 2016 Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, whom the FBI falsely labeled a Russian spy, is suing the Bureau and the Department of Justice. Page has never been charged with a crime. Disgraced former FBI Director James Comey is also a target of the $75 million suit.
In a December 1 letter to the Judiciary Committees of the House and Senate, Barr wrote: “On May 13, 2019, I directed John Durham, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, to investigate certain intelligence and law-enforcement activities surrounding the 2016 presidential election.” The AG went on to explain that he had expected the investigation to be concluded sometime in the Summer of 2020. The COVID-19 outbreak prevented that. Barr further revealed:
“In advance of the presidential election, I decided to appoint Mr. Durham as a Special Counsel to provide him and his team with the assurance that they could complete their work, without regard to the outcome of the election.”
Perhaps to emphasize a point, the AG further noted that Durham now commanded “the powers and authority of a Special Counsel.”
One of Page’s claims is that an FBI agent, Stephen Somma, used a false name, Steve Holt, during his interviews. The fact that Somma posed as an FBI agent of a different name is highly unusual and a potential breach of Bureau protocol – one of the many times the agency breached or circumvented standard procedure during its Crossfire Hurricane counter-intelligence operation targeting the Trump campaign.
No Trump associate was charged with any crime directly relating to any form of collaboration with the Russians. Recently, the president granted a full pardon to his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, who was coerced by prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller into pleading guilty to lying to FBI agents.
The most expensive – and extensive – high-level political investigation in American history produced nothing more than some indictments of Russian nationals who will likely never set foot inside a U.S. courtroom. A few people connected to the president or his 2016 campaign, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, and George Papadopoulos, were also charged. Stone and Manafort were convicted of crimes unrelated to the alleged Russian conspiracy or to the president. Papadopoulos, who served briefly as a volunteer campaign advisor, was another victim of FBI entrapment. He spent 12 days in federal prison after pleading guilty to making false statements.
As for the perpetrators of the Russia hoax, many of them lost their careers. Comey, his former deputy, Andrew McCabe, and several other high-level FBI officials either resigned or were fired from the agency. Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who became famous for their invective-laden, anti-Trump text messages, were two of the earliest victims of the unraveling of probably the most damaging opposition research effort ever to be used against a presidential candidate. One FBI attorney was indicted after he admitted to altering a document presented to a secret FISA court in order to obtain a warrant to spy on Page.
The creators of this grand confidence trick worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Their co-conspirators included former British spy Christopher Steele and, very possibly, a network of government officials and private-sector individuals. That network likely included employees of the research firm Fusion GPS, which hired Steele to produce information that could derail Donald Trump’s White House bid.
Had Clinton won the 2016 election, not a trace of this insidious deep state conspiracy would ever have come to light. The political and bureaucratic establishment – now often referred to as the Swamp – has never forgiven President Trump for exposing the plot. This probably explains why, in the face of a massive, blatant attempt to rig the 2020 presidential election, few people in Washington D.C. have the backbone to stand with Trump and demand the fraudulent results not be accepted.
A lot of Trump’s supporters have given up on the idea that those who plotted to prevent him from becoming president and then tried to sabotage his presidency will ever pay for their crimes. Though he has not finished his work and, with his elevated status, Durham could yet bring the guilty to justice. There is still hope.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.