Monday, May 11, 2020

UPDATED: Durham At Full Throttle

Fox News has an article this morning about the growing dimensions of the Durham investigation:

When you put the statements about Durham's investigation together with recent remarks by AG Barr himself you get a very interesting picture. Specifically, the investigation that Barr referred to as "sprawling" has now reached such dimensions that Durham is farming out parts of the investigation to USA Tim Shea in DC, which probably means that most of the FBI's Washington Field Office has dropped what it's been doing and is covering leads. No doubt the FBI's national resources are also being called upon for assistance, especially for the analysis of what must be a mountain of documentation of all sorts. Of course, that was likely close to being the case previously, but the investigation at this point sounds all consuming:

U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham is going “full throttle” with his review into the origins of the investigation into suspected Russia-Trump coordination in the 2016 election, with additional top prosecutors involved in looking at different components of the original probe, sources told Fox News. 
Two sources told Fox News that Jeff Jensen, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri who was tapped by the Justice Department in February to review the case of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, is continuing to help with Durham’s investigation even after the DOJ’s move last week to drop the case against Flynn. 
The sources told Fox News that interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Timothy Shea is also assisting with components of the investigation. 
“They farmed the investigation out because it is too much for Durham and he didn’t want to be distracted,” one of the sources told Fox News. 
"He’s going full throttle, and they’re looking at everything,” the source told Fox News.

Meanwhile Barr, in his understated way, signaled that one reason for the delay in exonerating Flynn was because the larger conspiracy investigation has so many interlocking components:

..., Barr, during an interview with CBS News on Thursday, was asked whether he felt the FBI conspired to get Flynn fired from the Trump administration. 
“I think, you know, that's a question that really has to wait [for] an analysis of all the different episodes that occurred through the summer of 2016 and the first several months of President Trump's administration,” Barr told CBS News, while adding that Durham is “still looking at all of this,” in reference to the Flynn case. 
“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 said, noting that they were investigating before “and after ... the election.”

I like the sound of that. Very much.

UPDATE: Here's an article referred to me by emailer Jim that fits well with this post. It's Miranda Devine's Michael Flynn fiasco will reveal Obama’s truth.

Flynn was a marked man from the moment Obama fired him as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, ostensibly for “insubordination.” 
Really, it was because Flynn, the most effective intelligence officer of his generation, had embarrassed Obama by refusing to go along with the “big lie” that the Islamist enemy was defeated. 
In 2014, after Obama dismissed ISIS as a terrorist “JV team,” Flynn warned the Senate Armed Services Committee that the jihadist group was a growing threat. He was fired soon afterward. 
“Frankly, at the White House, it didn’t meet the narrative,” he later told The New York Times. 
Obama held onto his grudge against Flynn, ... 
Clapper said he was “disturbed” about Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak, which had the effect of “essentially neutering — my characterization — the sanctions [against Russia] that had just been imposed [by the Obama administration].”
But that wasn’t true. There was “nothing wrong” with the call, Barr told CBS last week. “In fact, it was laudable.” 

Being "disturbed" about a policy change--assuming that that had happened or was about to happen--is not a justification for framing someone with false criminal charges.

As a paid CNN contributor, Clapper repeatedly declared, with all the authority his former job carried, that Trump was a Russian “asset.” 
Yet under oath, he told the Intelligence Committee, “I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election.” 
It’s a tawdry story. The Trump presidency was booby-trapped from Day One by the Obama administration’s abuse of the rule of law.


  1. so, regarding Flynn, it sounds like they could have said more in the motion to dismiss, but elected to make a minimal argument because the other elements of the case are too entangled with the larger issues of the 'sprawling' conspiracy

    I almost wish they had soldiered on with the prosecution and allowed Sullivan to make the dismissal determination. That would have been better as far as the political narratives go. But perhaps they didn't trust Sullivan to do the right thing?

  2. Obviously we can only speculate at this point. Remember that Durham and Barr have undoubtedly been keeping a close eye on the Flynn case all along. So, another possibility, a fairly strong one, is that as the Flynn case was coming to a head--driven by Powell's lawyering--other aspects of Durham's investigation were also coming to somewhat of a head. Thus Durham and Barr may have felt the time was right to resolve the Flynn case in terms of the final outcome as it affected Flynn, while at the same time providing more transparency on the overall case through Grenell's release but reserving some of the more sensitive aspects of the investigation from public view. One thing that was accomplished pertains to what I've stressed--that the Flynn case leads to Obama. And indeed he's been flushed from his cover. That affects the rest of the investigation. Other defendants and possible cooperators may have a better idea of where they stand and what sort of a deal they can make. Very complex.

    1. If Obama appears worried then others, that were more confident earlier, might begin to have second thoughts about who will be selected to "take one for the team".
      One aspect I have been concerned about for a while is how deep the DoJ bench of people Barr/Durham feel they can trust is, given the ever expanding investigation. Maybe they thought the time had come to resolve the Flynn plea issue so that Jensen could be freed up to pursue less developed, but nevertheless important, lines of enquiry.
      Tom S.

  3. Perhaps this is obvious, but I have never shied away from stating the obvious.

    It is increasingly certain that by no later than January 5 Barack Obama was aware of the totality of the Russia Hoax. By his position and his presence at the meeting on January 5 in the Oval Office he explicitly or implicitly authorized the next steps: frame Flynn, go to Trump Tower and blackmail Trump, coordinate the release of the Steele Dossier, etc.

    Putting it another way, all of the co-conspirators were in the room on January 5. Obama could have reflected and concluded: No, this is going too far. We are now interfering with one of the most sacrosanct elements of our democracy, the peaceful transition of power between Presidents.

    He could have said: No. Stop it. Call it off.

    He didn't and for this he is headed to the same Hall of Ignominy where Richard Nixon resides.

    I believe its now inevitable.

    1. This also highlights the key--and very despicable--role Rosenstein played.

  4. Mark, I'm not a lawyer, but does the last paragraph in red sort of describe a RICO investigation?

    1. Almost certainly not--unless there's something I've missed. You can read up on RICO at Wiki, paying close attention to the "predicate offenses":

      Everyone close to the investigation, including Barr, has consistently described it in the terms I have: as a conspiracy to violate the civil rights of various people and to defraud the government of honest services. It fits the facts and is far more flexible to use in these circumstances.

      RICO really doesn't apply to the factual situation. Please tell people who keep tossing that term around that they're off base. A lot of those people are probably the same ones who talk about "treason" and "sedition" without reading the Constitution or relevant statutes.

      If you've listened to Joe diGenova--a very experience and knowledgeable former prosecutor and defense attorney--he describes the investigation in the same way I have.

    2. Thanks, Mark. Now I have another "I'm not a lawyer" question: If any of this goes to trial is D.C. the only venue possible?

    3. The best answer, as usual, is "that depends."

      Venue in a criminal trial is controlled by Rule 18 of the Fed. Rules of Crim. Procedure

      The general rule is:

      "the government must prosecute an offense in a district where the offense was committed. The court must set the place of trial within the district with due regard for the convenience of the defendant, any victim, and the witnesses, and the prompt administration of justice."

      As a result the question of venue could get tricky, due to the use of modern communication in most any conspiracy--not just telephones but texting, emailing, conceivably posting on social media. Or, simply travel to multiple locations in pursuance of the conspiracy. As a result, questions of venue could conceivably be handled differently for each defendant in a conspiracy.

      In our situation, most of the conspiratorial acts--as far as we can tell at this point--appear to have occurred in DC, although possibly in MD or VA as well. So, too early to really be sure at this point. The fact is, there may be multiple GJs empaneled in different jurisdictions that we don't know about, each handling different aspects of the investigation.

  5. The criminality that occurred under the Obama Administration was almost unimaginably vast and serious, and involved hundreds of participants directly engaged in felony criminal conduct. That is no trivial thing.

    And most of these people (particularly at DOJ/FBI) are very bright and understand the consequences if this whole thing blows wide open. This is why they have fought tooth-and-nail to keep things hidden and remove Trump at all costs.

    But once the first indictment drops, the floodgates will open wide and there will be a stampede of whistle-blowers and flippers crowding into Durham's office. And don't be surprised if Comey starts swinging elbows as he pushes to the front of this mob.

    The current expression on Obama's face tells you everything you need to know.

  6. The fact that Shea and Jensen are still actively involved would seem to suggest there are potential criminal charges to be brought against the prosecutors running the Mueller prosecutions out of the USA of DC's office. The logic is they are already up to speed on the cases, and it's quicker for them to move forward preparing to prosecute the former prosecutors than farming out to a prosecutor not already familiar with the cases.

    At least that my guess...

    This is also consistent with the abbreviated justification for withdrawing the Flynn case, as MW explained in his blog post above. They do not want to reveal everything prematurely that would have come out from document production motions by Flynn's lawyer because they would alert guilty parties as to what's coming. Durham is holding his cards close to the vest, until he and Barr are ready to play their hand.

  7. One thing that seems to have been overlooked in the revelations of the Obama WH's direct involvement in the Flynn case: apparently, the admonition against WH "interference" with the FBI's "independence" clearly didn't apply when Obama was president, and nobody wants to notice that it was unilaterally applied to Trump.

  8. Two key questions I've yet to see answered:

    1) Who tasked Halper to get Flynn and Lokhova in the same room for the optics.

    2) Who set up the phony Trump Tower meeting to get Trump Jr. in the same room with Russians — again, solely for the optics.


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