Constitutional expert warns looming Durham report has Beltway 'rattled'

The National Mall is seen at night Sunday, April 18, 2021, as President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden fly aboard Marine One from Wilmington, Delaware, to the White House. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)

The looming report on the manipulation of the nation’s legal system by those in the Barack Obama administration to pursue the now-debunked “Russia collusion” allegations against President Trump has those in the Beltway “rattled,” according to an analysis by constitutional expert Jonathan Turley.

“For good reason,” noted the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University.

For two years, Durham, a former U.S. attorney, has been investigating what happened that allowed those in the establishment, inside the government in Washington, to manipulate evidence, as one FBI already has confessed, and more, to pursue the campaign against Trump.

The DOJ’s inspector general already has released a long list of offenses that were committed during the Obama administration’s work, and the FISA court, which was convinced to authorize spying on the Trump campaign with evidence that apparently was made up, has rescinded some of his authorizations.

Turley noted a report from Friday that Durham was “presenting evidence against FBI agents and possibly others in the use of false information or tips at the start of the Russia investigation in 2016.”

“Those ‘others,'” he said, “could include a virtual who’s who of Washington politics, and even if they are not indicted, Durham could implicate some of the most powerful figures in politics in his final report, expected in the coming months.”

He said evidence that has come to light in just the last few months – even though the apparent conspiracy and Steele-dossier triggered campaign to destroy Trump’s candidacy – and then presidency – began years ago.

“It was disclosed in October, for instance, that President Obama was briefed by his CIA director, John Brennan, on July 28, 2016, on intelligence suggesting that Hillary Clinton planned to tie then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia as ‘a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.’ The date was significant because the Russia investigation was initiated July 31, 2016, just three days later,” Turley explained.

Of course it was the Steele dossier, funded in party by Hillary Clinton, that alleged Trump was in collusion with Russia.

“Throughout the campaign, the Clinton campaign denied any involvement in the creation of the so-called Steele dossier’s allegations of Trump-Russia connections. However, weeks after the election, journalists discovered that the Clinton campaign hid payments for the dossier made to a research firm, Fusion GPS, as ‘legal fees’ among the $5.6 million paid to the campaign’s law firm,” Turley noted.

And John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, claimed to Congress that there was no contractual agreement with Fusion GPS.

And, he said, “It was later revealed that American intelligence viewed Steele as unreliable and believed his dossier was used by Russian intelligence to plant disinformation. Later reports show that Steele shopped the information to any reporters who would listen before the election and that there was an effort to get the information to trusted figures in the Justice Department.”

Then there were the situations involve Bruce Ohr, a DOJ official, and his wife, Nellie, who worked for Fusion GPS on Trump’s “purported” connections to Russia, he said.

“For many individuals, the statute of limitations may have passed on any alleged crimes,” Turley said. “But the truth brought to light in any final report could result a public indictment of sorts.”

He said the final fight could be over the release of the report itself, because “many in Congress and the media may not want it to see the light of day since it is likely to be an indictment not just of the FBI but of the establishment and an enabling media.”

The Journal report said Durham was presenting evidence to a grand jury, which could be a sign he’s considering additional criminal charges.

Last year, Durham brought a charge against former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who admitted altering an email about Trump campaign aide Carter Page, a target of FBI surveillance. Clinesmith agreed to a plea deal and was sentenced to probation.

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