I'm on board with the concept of major developments before Labor Day, based on statements by Bill Barr and reiterated by DoJ spokeswoman Kerry Kupec. And I'm very ready for some bombshell's in the Russia Hoax. But 'bombshell' is a bit of a relative term.
In Sperry's article the only ex-colleague of Durham who is actually cited is Chris Swecker, a former FBI Assistant Director who was also a prosecutor and who knows and has worked with Durham. And, read closely, Swecker has absolutely nothing to tell us beyond personal speculation. He may be right. He may be wrong. But he's really only offering generalities:
Swecker says he’s confident Durham has uncovered crimes. “He's onto something, I’m convinced of it, otherwise he would have folded up his tent by now,” he asserted in a RealClearInvestigations interview.
“I’m impressed with the discipline his team has shown,” Swecker said. "There’s been no leaks. The investigation has been very close-hold.”
This is a huge, huge intelligence scandal."
Yeah, thanks, Chris. Do you have anything more specific?
Swecker named former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith among officials most vulnerable to possible criminal charges in Durham’s investigation of the investigators. ...”
On the other hand, Swecker does not expect Durham to indict former FBI Director James Comey, nor former CIA Director John Brennan or Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. None of these central figures in the scandal has been interviewed by Durham’s office, according to recent published reports, though Durham reportedly is working out details with Brennan’s lawyer for a pending interview. Durham’s investigators have already reviewed Brennan's emails, call logs and other records.
“It’s hard to prove criminal intent at their level, and unless there’s a smoking gun, like an email or text, they’ll probably get off with a damning report about their activities,” Swecker said.
For my part I don't call that a bombshell. I call it anti-climactic. I'm open to persuasion that something less than indictments of Comey-level figures is still a bombshell but it'll be a tough sell as far as I'm concerned. A failure to extract accountability for the major coup plotters, representatives of the Washington Establishment and Deep State, will represent difficult to refute evidence that government of the people, by the people, for the people, is about to perish from America--if it hasn't already.
Andrea Widburg has heard the naysayers, among them the highly respected Don Surber, who has not hesitated to sneer at Durham for running a hoax "theater" investigation. However, in It looks as if this Fall's hit show will be called ‘Obamagate’ Widburg expresses optimism that real accountability lies ahead.
Widburg doesn't waste time parsing anything Barr has said. She goes straight to Trump, reminding us that
Donald Trump ran a hugely successful reality show. He understands the importance of a narrative arc for any successful broadcast.
Widburg's point is that in recent days Trump has been "telegraphing something big for this Fall." And I doubt that Widburg is different than I am in that regard: Trump telegraphing a Clinesmith indictment just doesn't qualify as "big". Not in my book.
Widburg cites two examples of this telegraphing. The first is Trump's interview with Lou Dobbs, which I transcribed the other day:
“We caught them spying, now it’s up to our Attorney General. As you know I've wanted them [Barr’s DOJ] to do it. I didn’t want to get overly involved. Maybe I should, maybe I shouldn’t but I do hear it’s breathtaking what they found. That’s all I can say – breathtaking, and hopefully it'll come out soon. But it's beyond what anyone could have thought even possible, how bad it is. How bad it is and how corrupt it is. But, I'm gonna let them [Barr’s DOJ] do that. It's a horrible thing that took place, and it should never be allowed to happen to another president."
Like me, Widburg was struck by the strength of the words Trump used, but she also identified Trump's language as employing "advertising words," words designed to sell a soon to be released new package:
Trump used advertising words and phrases that have strong emotional impact, such as “breathtaking,” “horrible,” “beyond what anybody thought even possible,” and “corrupt”:
As Widburg observes: "I’d watch that television show. Wouldn’t you?"
Then, just days after that "first promo", Trump doubled down with a second "promo":
Then, on Wednesday, Trump himself released the second “promo” for a new reality show. We could call it William Barr and John Durham star in “Obamagate – the Indictments.”
The campaign video, in simple terms, tells the American television audience the broad outlines of a corrupt scheme to overthrow a presidency. Put it together with President Trump’s “DRAIN THE SWAMP!” statement, and you’re looking at the hit show of September, the one that everyone’s been waiting for:
DRAIN THE SWAMP! pic.twitter.com/68M4sN7LLD— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2020
Again, that's one helluva "promo" for a John Durham indicts Kevin Clinesmith production.
I continue to believe that Bill Barr is a serious man on the most serious mission of his life. I can't believe he'll be satisfied with anything less than serious results. I get it that you have to work with what you've got. As Swecker said: “It’s hard to prove criminal intent at their level," i.e., the level of a Comey.
My response is not that proving intent is easy, but that it does depend on the underlying crime you're trying to prove. I can agree that proving intent to defraud the FISC and pinning that on Comey could prove difficult. But I believe that Barr and Durham are more serious than simply making a few nickle dime false statement cases--even against major figures like Comey. I doubt very much that Barr will be satisfied without demonstrating in a convincing manner the big picture conspiracy. Proving intent in a big picture conspiracy to defraud the government of honest service may yet prove a more doable thing, simply because acts in furtherance of the conspiracy--acts that would go to proving intent--do not need to be themselves criminal acts. That's a very different ballgame than a simple false statement case.
We should find out soon.