The Durham report is out and we’re finally getting to the Intelligence Community’s Russiagate concoction. Damning as it is, the betting favorite is that nobody will be going to jail. From Susan Schmidt at racket.news:
Susan Schmidt examines the highlights and lowlights of the new Special Counsel report on Trump-Russia
Special Counsel John Durham’s “Report on Matters Related to Intelligence Activities and Investigations Arising Out of the 2016 Presidential Campaigns” trickled out yesterday afternoon, hitting journalist inboxes just after 3:00 p.m. A quick read revealed the following key takeaways:
- There was no valid predicate for the investigation, and the FBI knew it.
From the report:
It is the Office’s assessment that the FBI discounted or willfully ignored material information that did not support the narrative of a collusive relationship between Trump and Russia. Similarly, the FBI Inspection Division Report says that the investigators “repeatedly ignore[d] or explain[ed] away evidence contrary to the theory the Trump campaign… had conspired with Russia… It appeared… there was a pattern of assuming nefarious intent.” An objective and honest assessment of these strands of information should have caused the FBI to question not only the predication for Crossfire Hurricane, but also to reflect on whether the FBI was being manipulated for political or other purposes. Unfortunately, it did not.
The entirety of the evidence the FBI used to launch its investigation of the Trump campaign is contained in what came to be known as “Paragraph Five,” because it ended up in that spot in a FISA warrant application on Trump volunteer Carter Page. The information in Paragraph Five came from Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, and was derived from an interaction he had at a London wine bar with young Trump foreign policy volunteer George Papadopoulos, ostensibly concerning Russia.
Australian diplomats told Durham that the impetus for passing the Paragraph Five info to the U.S. government in late July 2016 was the release of hacked DNC emails by Wikileaks. The entire case came down to an abstract of a diplomatic cable, quoted here in full:
Mr. Papadopoulos was, unsurprisingly, confident that Mr. Trump could win the election. He commented that the Clintons had “a lot of baggage” and suggested the Trump team had plenty of material to use in its campaign. He also suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist this process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton and President Obama. It was unclear whether he or the Russians were referring to material acquired publicly of sic through other means. It was also unclear how Mr. Trump’s team reacted to the offer.
On the strength of that tiny bit of information, the FBI opened full investigations into four Trump presidential campaign aides, seeking to determine whether they were “witting or and/or coordinating activities with the government of Russia.”