Durham Failed Because the Anti-Trump Conspiracy Was Fake

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  jbb  •  one month ago  •  25 comments

By:   Jonathan Chait (Intelligencer)

Durham Failed Because the Anti-Trump Conspiracy Was Fake
Special Counsel John Durham failed to charge Igor Danchenko with lying, after also failing to charge Michael Sussmann, because his theory of a conspiracy to smear Trump was a fiction. Trump's ties to Russia were a real concern.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



John Durham's latest, and presumably final, humiliation is the capstone of his failed attempt to prove a conspiracy theory that has long been accepted as settled fact in the conservative universe. This theory holds that, in 2016, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or James Comey (or maybe all of them — the mastermind changes in different iterations) devised a plot to smear Donald Trump by ginning up an FBI investigation into his completely innocent and superficial connections to Russia. The purpose of the scheme was to paint Trump as a Russian stooge. Somehow, the plotters forgot to activate its key step: leaking the existence of the FBI probe before the election. In any event, the planned October surprise became a January surprise, hampering Trump's presidency until Robert Mueller was eventually forced to admit there was no collusion, after which the damage had already been done.

The actual events of this period are clear. Trump began exhibiting a suspicious pattern of behavior in relation to Russia. He lavished its dictator with praise, surrounded himself with people who were sympathetic to and/or paid by Moscow, hinted at his own business deals with Russia but defied precedent by refusing to publish his tax returns, and appointed a man who had managed the presidential run of a Russian puppet in another country as his own campaign manager.

Many people were alarmed by these things and wanted to get to the bottom of them. It is true that the same people also did not want Trump to win the election, but it completely misapprehends their motives to assume that their only goal for investigating his deeply suspicious Russia connections was a desire to smear him. If anything, this rationale is backward: Trump's ties to Russia made national security officials oppose him. What national security official would be happy about having a president who was in bed with, and creepily submissive to, one of the country's biggest global enemies?

The Justice Department appointed an inspector general to investigate the FBI's probe of Trump's ties to Russia and found that, despite some low-level mistakes, the probe had been adequately predicated. There was no evidence it was directed by Trump's enemies, undertaken for political reasons, or fundamentally improper in conception.

But Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr refused to accept these findings and instead appointed a special counsel, John Durham, who would be tasked with confirming their conspiracy theory. Durham failed to uncover any conspiracy because it did not exist. He tried to charge Michael Sussmann with lying to the FBI, only for Sussmann to be acquitted. Durham then tried to charge Igor Danchenko with lying to the FBI, only for the jury to acquit him as well. The charges failed because, contrary to Durham's insinuations, neither man was acting in bad faith. They were both trying, sometimes in a bumbling, Burn After Reading fashion, to pass on to the FBI what they thought they knew about a murky but genuinely unnerving situation.

Some reasons they had to suspect Trump's relations with Russia turned out to be false. The Steele dossier was a shoddy collection of gossip that many of us considered plausible, if unproven. But that dossier wasn't the basis for the FBI investigation of Trump, nor was it the basis for the suspicions held by the national security community. Those suspicions existed long before Steele's gossip became public.

The combination of facts uncovered by the news media and Mueller did not debunk the concerns about Trump's ties to Russia but instead substantiated them. The most damning single fact Mueller proved was that Moscow had dangled a deal worth several hundred million dollars during the campaign, making Trump vulnerable to both Russian bribery and blackmail (the latter because he was publicly denying any dealings with Russia at the time). But many other surrounding facts supported the pattern: from Trump asking for and then exploiting the Russian hack of Democratic emails to his constant repetition of even the most esoteric pieces of Russian propaganda.

If the national security community's suspicions about Trump seemed far-fetched, like something out of a spy film, it is because Americans don't pay close attention to Russia's efforts to corrupt other governments. In Europe, scandals involving high-level officials bribed or blackmailed by Russian intelligence are routine. Just Tuesday, Germany suspended the head of its cybersecurity agency over alleged links to Russian intelligence.

Another reason Trump has succeeded in making his conspiracy theory sound plausible is that conservative media have devoted astonishing levels of energy to disseminating it. After the Mueller Report, with its tightly circumscribed methods and deliberately obtuse language, Trump's critics mostly abandoned the issue, while his supporters were just getting started. The right-wing media have been filled with screeds about Russiagate and hopeful predictions that Durham would blow the whole thing open. It is as if Democrats continued to talk about the Starr report constantly in the early aughts. Barr, who frequently teased the public with predictions of dark crimes to be uncovered, fanned the flames of expectation for Durham.

I have little doubt that most Republicans actually do believe the conspiracy theory. They reside within an information bubble that excludes all evidence of Trump's culpability and recirculates endless insinuations of a deep-state witch hunt. They have already pivoted to arguing that the only problem for Durham is that juries and reporters are biased and that the real truth is out there.

They will keep going and going because their culture treats frank internal examination on any subject as heresy. But to the outside world, Durham's total failure is conclusive. It is why I argued all along that his appointment was a good thing: It would prove the Republican Party's conspiracy theory was a fever dream. And so it has.


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JBB
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JBB    one month ago

Of course, because the FBI and CIA investigations (plural) into Trump's Russian dealings were legally predicated and predate the 2016 election by years.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  JBB @1    one month ago

sian dealings were legally predicated and predate the 2016 election by years.

[Deleted]

but it's still a lie. 

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.1.1  seeder  JBB  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.1    one month ago

The CIA and FBI do not confirm or deny the details of their investigations, but Trump sought out and established relationships with and repeatedly met with many clandestine agents of Russian State Intelligence Services during the decade leading up to the 2016 election. Heck, beginning by at least 2014 and continuing right up to election day in 2016 Trump was in secret negotiations with Vlad Putin to build a new Trump Tower in Moscow. He even offered Putin a luxury penthouse apartment as a bribe...

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
1.1.2  Sean Treacy  replied to  JBB @1.1.1    one month ago
e CIA and FBI do not confirm or deny the details of their investigations,

Sure the do. Read the IG report.  Hell, we know that Steele's sub source was investigated as a Russian agent and the result was inconclusive. 

Out of curiosity, do you think the progressive authors of these endless seeds you posted are idiots? If what you claim is true, why don't any of them ever make the argument? It's only you.  Why would you seed constantly seed articles from people who undercut the point you try to make? 

Seriously. You should read the articles you seed and try to understand them. At least then you'd be making arguments that align with your team.  Just blatering lies that even your own side won't touch with a ten foot pole isn't  a great look. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.1.3  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.1.2    one month ago

The seeded article is a plain spoken, calm dissertation of why the Barr/Durham effort failed so miserably. 

Great article. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
1.1.4  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.3    one month ago
ded article is a plain spoken, calm dissertation of why the Barr/Durham effort failed so miserably.

Lol. It's  just a difference kind of nonsense (it cherry picks facts rather than make them up).   It certainly doesn't support JBB's imaginary claims.. 

The problem for this Stalinist revisionism is that the IG report exists and available for all to see. Calling the mistakes   low level is incredibly dishonest. Pretty much every senior level official involved with this travesty has resigned, been arrested, fired or demoted.

If the mistakes were low level and minor, why did Adam Schiff stoop  to  telling  so many lies about them?    Does Schiff lie for pleasure? 

But, like Mueller, we will get a report and I hope you treat the facts in the report the same as you did the Mueller report, and make the same sort of conclusions based on those facts as you did with the Mueller report. 

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.1.5  seeder  JBB  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.3    one month ago

Yes, but no matter how many articles they read explaining it or how plainly it is explained to them the MAGA cannot grasp the facts...

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.1.6  seeder  JBB  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.1.4    one month ago

WRONGO!

original

But I hear you loud and clear about one thing.

original

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
1.1.7  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.3    one month ago

The seeded article is a plain spoken, calm dissertation o

A dissertation that completely avoids mentioning the actual predicate cited by the FBI for opening the investigation.

Lol. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.1.8  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.1.4    one month ago

[Deleted]

The combination of facts uncovered by the news media and Mueller did not debunk the concerns about Trump's ties to Russia but instead substantiated them. The most damning single fact Mueller proved was that Moscow had dangled a deal worth several hundred million dollars during the campaign, making Trump vulnerable to both Russian bribery and blackmail (the latter because he was publicly denying any dealings with Russia at the time). But many other surrounding facts supported the pattern: from Trump asking for and then exploiting the Russian hack of Democratic emails to his constant repetition of even the most esoteric pieces of Russian propaganda.

He is totally right. 

 
 
 
Gsquared
Senior Expert
1.1.9  Gsquared  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.1    one month ago
Just lie and lie and lie and lie.

[Deleted]

JBB is totally right.  Factual, proven, correct.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
1.1.10  Sean Treacy  replied to  Gsquared @1.1.9    one month ago
B is totally right.  Factual, proven, correct.

Lol.. By all means prove it.  Let's see who's lying.  

Prove Donald Trump was under investigation by the FBI in 2014 and then explain why the Obama administration covered it up and never told the IG about it.  Or do you claim the IG was involved in the conspiracy too? 

[Deleted]

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
1.1.11  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.8    one month ago
e a one man spin factory for the Trump campaigns associations with Russians. 

[Deleted]

I have no problem attacking Trump honestly with actual facts. Sad so many liberals have to resort to making things up out of whole cloth. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
1.1.12  Sean Treacy  replied to  Gsquared @1.1.9    one month ago

Find that proof yet?

[Deleted]

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.13  devangelical  replied to  Gsquared @1.1.9    one month ago

... I smell mackerel.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
1.1.14  Sean Treacy  replied to  devangelical @1.1.13    one month ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.1.15  seeder  JBB  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.1.12    one month ago

The CIA and FBI are guilty, of doing their jobs.

Just like MI6 and IInterpo the CIA and FBI investigated the Trump Organization during the decade leading up to 2016 because the Trump was ass deep in Trump's relationships with multitudes of Putin's Russian spies. There is no plausible way that they would not have...

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
1.1.16  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  JBB @1.1.15    one month ago

Repubs attack our intelligence agencies and progressive Dems defend them, it's a country turned upside down.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.1.17  seeder  JBB  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @1.1.16    one month ago

Yet even the most conservative courts and multiple juries have sided with our Intelligence agencies against Trump and MAGA nutters.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
1.1.18  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  JBB @1.1.17    one month ago
Yet even the most conservative courts and multiple juries have sided with our Intelligence agencies 

As do I, just a little surprised that you agree with them.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
1.1.19  Sean Treacy  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @1.1.16    one month ago
elligence agencies and progressive Dems defend them, it's a country turned upside down.

He's actually arguing the FBI illegally spied on Trump prior to obtaining authorization in July 2016  and covered it up. He just doesn't understand his argument. 

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.1.20  seeder  JBB  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @1.1.18    one month ago

Why?

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.1.21  seeder  JBB  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.1.19    one month ago

You are falsely trying to draw a line around one investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election which was merely a late add on to the preexisting ongoing longterm CIA and FBI investigations into Trump's Russian dealings which were plainly legally predicated and predate the 2016 election by years. Everyone sees what you are ignoring.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
1.1.22  Sean Treacy  replied to  JBB @1.1.21    one month ago
add on to the preexisting ongoing longterm CIA and FBI investigations into Trump's Russian dealings which were plainly legally predicated and predate the 2016 election by years. Everyone sees what you are ignoring.

[Deleted] Saying something over and over doesn't make it true. Put up or shut up with proof. 

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
2  Drinker of the Wry    one month ago

[deleted]

 
 

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