NY Times’ Hit Piece on John Durham Unravels Instantly

Under the guise of reporting the findings of their supposed month-long review of John Durham’s investigation, The New York Times’ top three Russia-collusion hoaxers, Charlie Savage, Adam Goldman, and Katie Benner, launched a preemptive assault on Durham and former Attorney General William Barr in anticipation of the release of the special counsel report.

Thursday’s article, “How Barr’s Quest to Find Flaws in the Russia Inquiry Unraveled,” This top six list of takeaways demonstrates that there is more to chutzpah than mendacity.

1. You Going To Believe the Media — or Evidence?

In their Thursday tale, the Times trio opened by declaring that Special Counsel Durham’s investigation into Crossfire Hurricane “failed to find wrongdoing in the origins of the Russia inquiry.” To supposedly prove their existence, “Russia inquiry unraveled” narrative, it was declared so by the authors. 

“Mr. Durham’s work is coming to an end without uncovering anything like the deep state plot alleged by Mr. Trump and suspected by Mr. Barr,” The Times declared, informing readers that the probe was closed. “went unsuccessfully down one path after another…”

The Times doesn’t have a clue what Durham “uncovered,” Knowing only what defense lawyers and other unnamed attorneys know “sources” Several aspects of the probe were revealed. But with the release of Durham’s report forthcoming, the authors seek to prime the public to believe it will be a flop. 

But it doesn’t take access to inside information or Durham’s final report to know that the special counsel’s office uncovered “wrongdoing in the origins of the Russia inquiry.” The criminal Case Igor Danchenko (Russian national source for the Steele dossier) was reprimanded for allegedly making false statements. “confirmed that Crossfire Hurricane was never properly predicated and that instead, politics prompted the targeting of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.”

In 2008, I learned that “Danchenko allegedly told a colleague he knew people who would buy classified information,” the FBI — rather than open a “full investigation” into Danchenko — initiated only a “preliminary investigation.” The FBI has only converted the “preliminary investigation” “into a ‘full investigation’ after learning that the defendant (1) had been identified as an associate of two FBI counterintelligence subjects and (2) had previous contact with the Russian Embassy and known Russian intelligence officers.” 

However, the FBI opened an office in “full investigation” The more abstract claim that George Papadopoulos (then-Trump campaign advisor) suggested that the Russians had dirt about Hillary Clinton in May 2016 was what led to Trump’s acceptance. 

The FBI’s failure to launch an investigation into Clinton crony Charles Dolan likewise confirms that the initial targeting of Trump suffered from political influence. With court permission, the public can access the Danchenko case evidence. Filings Dolan was questioned by witnesses who revealed two FBI agents. “had previously worked for a firm that managed a PR campaign for the Kremlin.” Dolan’s connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary and a sub-source for the Steele dossier also raised red flags. 

Dolan was then interviewed by FBI agents. They attempted to launch an FBI investigation into Clinton pal Clinton, but bureau top-ranking officials stopped them. While since then Dolan appears to have been vindicated, the disparity in treatment of Dolan and Trump — when the former had much more extensive contacts with Russia than did Trump — confirms the FBI launched Crossfire Hurricane without a proper predicate. 

Further evidence confirms numerous aspects of the assertion. “deep state plot” The Times declared it unproven. Kevin Clinesmith Change An email was sent to conceal the fact that Carter Page had been a source of the CIA. The FBI used a defensive approach to cover the truth. Briefing Former DOJ prosecutor Michael Sussmann used his deep-state to spy on Trump Contacts With the FBI and CIA to supply them with fake Russia-collusion scandals for Clinton and her backers, there is plenty of evidence already publically available of a deep state plot.

The notes of John Brennan, then-CIA Director, reveal that he Briefed Former President Obama, July 28, 2016, intelligence detailing “Hillary Clinton’s purported ‘plan’ to tie then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia as ‘a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server’ ahead of the 2016 presidential election.” The Obama administration ignored that intelligence briefing, with the targeting of the Trump campaign not even paused in response to the CIA’s intel. 

Apparently, The New York Times’ month-long investigation of Durham didn’t include looking at the evidence publicly available. 

2. Russia Collusion Wasn’t Real

Next, the Times article tried to rewrite history by portraying Trump-Russia collusion in real life and claiming the contrary as conspiracy theories. 

Robert Mueller, Special Counsel to Russia, concluded that there was no collusion and did not charge any Trump associates with conspiring. “the reality was more complex,” The Old Gray Lady is certain. “In fact, the report detailed ‘numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign,’” the Times stressed — a point the authors themselves reiterated, speaking of “the 2016 Trump campaign’s myriad if murky links to Russia…”

It’s almost as if Savage, Goldman, and Benner were just teleported to present time and hadn’t lived through the twin revelations of the last six-plus years. First, there was nothing nefarious about any of Trump’s links to Russia. Second, Hillary Clinton, who had no connections to Russia, paid through her lawyers a Russian national and suspected agent for the Steele dossier lies. This led to the now-debunked Russia collusion conspiracy. 

Nonetheless, the Times reporters wrote as if the Russia, Russia, Russia refrain would still hypnotize the American public — and not just about 2016. Instead, Savage, Goldman and Benner presented another theory about Russian malfeasance. This one corrupting Durham.

“Mr. Durham used Russian intelligence memos — suspected by other U.S. officials of containing disinformation — to gain access to emails of an aide to George Soros,” According to the Times, Those memos, according to the Times’ unnamed sources, “were part of a trove provided to the C.I.A. by a Dutch spy agency” This was the case. “infiltrated the servers of its Russian counterpart.” 

These memos were “written by Russian intelligence analysts” Discussed “purported conversations involving American victims of Russian hacking,” According to the Times, They also “included descriptions of Americans discussing a purported plan by Mrs. Clinton to attack Mr. Trump by linking him to Russia’s hacking and releasing in 2016 of Democratic emails.”

According to the Times the memos were “said to make demonstrably inconsistent, inaccurate or exaggerated claims,” Some U.S. analysts have expressed their opinion that “Russia may have deliberately seeded them with disinformation.”

After 50 former intelligence officers falsely framed the Hunter Biden laptop as Russian disinformation, it requires some gall for The New York Times to imply that Durham’s supposed reliance on intercepted Russian emails provided by Dutch intelligence was inappropriate because some unidentified “analysts” And “officials” Some claim that they may contain Russian disinformation.

The Times’ attack on Durham’s supposed use of the emails provided by the Dutch intelligence service is likewise laughable given the legacy outlet’s pushing of the Russia-collusion hoax based on the Steele dossier, which literally included Russian disinformation provided by Danchenko. 

The Times not only framed the long-ago disproven Trump-Russia collusion theory in a genuine way, but also portrayed those who were outraged by the scandal as conspiracy theorists. The inquiry by the special counsel “fuel[ed] partisan conspiracy theories that would never be charged in court,” The article charged and presented the Barr, Durham, Trump and other responses as the problem. It was not Trump’s political targeting that caused his administration to be incapacitated. 

To support its spin that Barr’s appointment of Durham to investigate the investigators represented the true offense, the Times quoted Robert Luskin, identified in the article merely as a defense attorney who represented two witnesses interviewed by Durham. “When did these guys drink the Kool-Aid, and who served it to them?” Luskin spoke rhetorically to refer to Barr and Durham. The Times, however, failed to explain why it would take a Jim Jones-type of persuasion to prompt Barr and Durham to question Luskin’s Client Stefan Halper.

The Times also sought to delegitimize the Durham investigation by portraying Barr as bullied into launching the probe by Trump’s “egging” him on. Of course, that framing doesn’t square with the authors’ later description of Barr as “domineering,” but what’s a matter of consistency when you have a narrative to build?

3. No, Durham Didn’t Launch a Criminal Investigation into Trump

Other outlets picked up the Times’ main themes soon after it went live. “Bombshell,” The Daily Beast shrieked Under its headline “Trump’s Russia Probe Led to Criminal Investigation into Trump Himself: NYT.”

“According to a Thursday report from The New York Times, Barr and Durham received a tip from Italian authorities that resulted in the Justice Department quietly opening a criminal inquiry into Trump himself,” The Daily Beast said so. 

Forbes followed suit and emphasized the article’s coverage. “Trump’s Own Appointees Reportedly Opened Criminal Investigation Into Him As Part Of Durham Russia Probe.”

Even assuming the veracity of the Times’ unnamed sources — something no one should do after the Russia-collusion hoax — there is no basis for saying Durham opened a criminal investigation into Trump because The New York Times Never This claim was made.

Yes, Savage Goldman and Benner wanted their readers. Think Durham opened an unreported investigation into the former president. But they never actually made that representation. Instead they used wordsmithing as a way to tell the story.

“Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham never disclosed that their inquiry expanded in the fall of 2019, based on a tip from Italian officials, to include a criminal investigation into suspicious financial dealings related to Mr. Trump,” The authors wrote and added later: “On one of Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham’s trips to Europe, according to people familiar with the matter, Italian officials — while denying any role in setting off the Russia investigation — unexpectedly offered a potentially explosive tip linking Mr. Trump to certain suspected financial crimes.”

The Times then claimed Barr directed Durham to investigate the matter himself, noting that not only were charges never filed but that “it remains unclear what level of an investigation it was, what steps he took, what he learned and whether anyone at the White House ever found out.” This discussion was concluded by the article pronouncing that “the extraordinary fact that Mr. Durham opened a criminal investigation that included scrutinizing Mr. Trump has remained secret.”

Notice the Times’ wording: It did not say Durham opened a criminal investigation into Trump. The Times didn’t mention earlier that Trump was being accused of criminality by an Italian tip. “financial dealings.” Instead, the transactions were “related to Mr. Trump” Or were “linked” Trump 

The Times didn’t provide details on the connection, nor did it claim complicity by any former president. “related” And “linked” You will have to do the hard work of casting Trump as the victim of a criminal investigation.

The New York Times blew its own trumpet by noting: “it remains unclear what level of an investigation it was,” meaning the Italian’s supposed tip may have only prompted an assessment or a preliminary investigation, after which agents concluded there was nothing there. It nonetheless sought to create a scandal in the mere giving of the tip and in Barr and Durham’s follow-through. But the first means nothing, and the latter provides proof of Barr and Durham’s integrity. 

4. Charging Sussmann and Danchenko Isn’t an Indictment of Durham and Barr

Barr and Durham were targeted by the Times who promoted two contradictory narratives. At first, they called the special counsel probe a failure since the evidence was not obtained. “cited in any case” The conspiracy theories about Crossfire Hurricane and their supposed conspiracies were never proven to be true. “charged in court.” However, just a few paragraphs later Savage, Goldman and Benner changed their minds and, relying only on unnamed resources, denounced special counsel for pursuing “weak” Sussmann vs. Clinton Campaign Attorney and Danchenko vs. Russian National

Although Sussmann and Danchenko’s convictions were a loss for the special counsel team it does not mean that Durham and Barr will be indicted. If anything, Sussmann’s acquittal stemmed in part from the fact that at the time of the indictment, Durham was missing the strongest piece of evidence against Sussmann: Sussmann’s own text message to the then-FBI General Counsel James Baker in which Sussmann sought a meeting with Baker, but supposedly not on behalf of any client. Baker would only grudgingly provide that text message later to the special counsel’s team — further indicating the idea of a deep state wasn’t just a dream. 

The Times tried to discredit Durham by presenting claims of prosecutorial disputes from unnamed sources. According to the Times, two lawyers in the special counsel’s office argued against charging Sussmann. But that some of Durham’s underlings disagreed with the charging decision says nothing of the broader investigation. For the Times to claim it does is laughable given the legacy outlet seemed unconcerned that multiple named FBI agents disagreed with many of Mueller’s decisions, including his call not to launch an investigation into Clinton buddy Dolan. 

5. Using the Grand Jury’s Authority Is Not Like Lying to Spy on An Innocent American 

The New York Times tried to discredit Durham as well by painting him in a negative light, comparing him to Crossfire Hurricane agents who used all manner of deception and misconduct to get a FISA court order for Carter Page surveillance. 

According to the Times, Durham sought to obtain information about the emails of one purported victim of the DNC hack, Leonard Benardo, who is the executive vice president of George Soros’ Open Society Foundation. After a federal judge denied Durham’s request to “seize information about Mr. Benardo’s emails” — what information and from whom was cryptically omitted — Durham reportedly “sidestepped” The court “by invoking grand-jury power to demand documents and testimony directly from Mr. Soros’s foundation and Mr. Benardo about his emails.” “Rather than fight in court, the foundation and Mr. Benardo quietly complied,” According to the Times.

Durham’s use of the grand jury was “parallel” According to the Times, Page was the FBI’s target. Nonsense.

From the Times’ telling of the story, Durham sought a warrant to seize information, and when that was denied, he used an alternative route via the grand jury. And Benardo did not challenge Durham’s right to the information — something he could have done if he wished.

In contrast, the federal government violated Page’s constitutional rights by presenting four applications to the secret FISA court, each replete with material misrepresentations and omissions of fact. FISA court approved the FBI’s authorization to spy on Page and search his home. It also authorized him to listen in on Page’s phone conversations. These situations are not more similar than Planned Parenthood’s pro-life position. 

The Times’ readers won’t likely realize that reality, though, because in Thursday’s article, the authors framed the violation of Page’s Fourth Amendment rights as something of an oopsie, describing the FISA abuse as merely involving “botched applications,” premised on “claims from what turned out to be a dubious source, the Steele dossier.” 

So much for all the news that’s fit to print.

6. No, Barr Isn’t Unethical for Sipping Scotch

The final takeaway is embarrassing — the journalistic equivalent of the Old Gray Lady seeking attention with a display of cleavage and leg. The Times criticised Barr and Durham for often eating together and drinking Scotch. Oh, the horror. 

And then there was Barr’s purported profanity, when he reportedly “summoned the head of the National Security Agency, Paul M. Nakasone, to his office,” And “demanded that the N.S.A. cooperate with the Durham inquiry.” Outrageous! 

Barr reportedly told Nakasone that if NSA f-cked Nakasone, Barr would f ck the agency. However, the Times feigned decorum and repeated the episode with gentile phraseology. “a sexual vulgarity.” Barr had, however, warned him that he was about to commit suicide. “six ways from Sunday” All would be well if we all got back at the NSA

The Times also criticized Barr for comments he made more than a year after leaving his position as attorney general, when Barr spoke with Fox News after Sussmann’s acquittal. Jesse Watters was told by Barr that Durham had done something more than a conviction. “crystallized the central role played by the Hillary campaign in launching as a dirty trick the whole Russiagate collusion narrative and fanning the flames of it.” Barr also commended Durham for being exposed “really dreadful behavior by the supervisors and the FBI, the senior ranks of the FBI…”

Ignoring the Russiagate scandal, Savage, Goldman, and Benner instead pounced on Barr’s “far more important” Barr suggested the phraseology “using the courts to advance a politically charged narrative was a goal in itself.” The trio, however, omitted the former attorney general’s prefatory remarks stressing that Durham’s team “did an exceptionally able job both digging out very important facts and presenting a compelling case to the jury.” 

Nothing in Barr’s comments here or elsewhere since he became a private citizen suggest he has changed his view that prosecutions should be governed by prudence and not devolve into a tit-for-tat game. But the Times must present Barr as the bad guy, and Durham too, because the special counsel’s report is forthcoming — and the messengers must be destroyed first. 

Margot Cleveland, The Federalist’s senior law correspondent, is Margot. She is also a contributor for National Review Online, Aleteia, Washington Examiner, Townhall.com and has been published by USA Today and Wall Street Journal.

Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. Later, she served as a permanent law clerk on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals for almost 25 years. Cleveland was a former full-time university professor and now teaches adjunctively.

Cleveland is a stay at home mom to a son with cystic Fibrosis. She writes frequently about cultural issues related parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland can be found on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland Cleveland’s private views are expressed here.

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