Durham makes allegations that make Watergate look like small potatoes
On Friday, Special Counsel John Durham filed with the D.C. Federal District Court a what should have been a boring conflict of interest motion, but it hid a surprise: The Clinton campaign, through Perkins Coie, spied on Trump both before and after he was president. The following is a plain English-language summary of relevant parts of the motion:
Michael Sussman was a partner at Law Firm-1 (i.e., Perkins Coie). He met with the FBI General Counsel (i.e., James Baker), and offered data and “white papers” purporting to show that Trump was communicating covertly with a Russia-based bank (i.e., Alfa-Bank). Mueller, incidentally, had to admit this was untrue.
Durham indicted Sussman because he allegedly told Baker that he was not divulging this information for a client. In fact, he was acting for at least two clients: the Clinton campaign and “Tech Executive-1” (i.e., Rodney Joffe), who worked at a “U.S.-based internet company” (i.e., Neustar Inc., a federal contractor).
As part of his work on the Clinton campaign, Sussman repeatedly met and communicated both with Joffe and with “another law partner” who was “Campaign Lawyer-1.” (I guess we can await that indictment soon....)
Beginning in July 2016, Joffe began to work with (1) Sussman, (2) an investigation firm that Perkins Coie hired for the Clinton campaign, (3) cyber researchers, and (4) “employees at multiple Internet companies” to assemble the data handed to James Baker. To do so, Joffe exploited access to private and/or proprietary internet data. He even coopted researchers at a U.S. university who were receiving lots of internet data as part of a cybersecurity research contract that was pending with the feds. (The Conservative Treehouse says the university is Georgia Tech and it was a DARPA contract.)
Durham alleges that Joffe was accessing internet traffic for “a particular healthcare provider” (speculated to be Spectrum Health), Trump Tower, Donald Trump's Central Park West apartment building, and “the Executive Office of the President of the United States (‘EOP’).” (Emphasis mine.)
Joffe had a very specific assignment for the people working for him: He wanted them to mine internet data (and again, this was not public data) to “establish ‘an inference’ and ‘narrative’” that would tie then-candidate Trump to Russia. He told people that he was “seeking to please certain ‘VIPs,” meaning both Perkins Coie and the Hillary campaign.
Much of the motion is concerned with allegations already familiar to you from the indictment against Sussman. Thus, after talking to Baker, Sussman also talked to another government agency, telling its employees that DNS data (that is “Domain Name System” info, which is like an internet telephone directory) revealed that Trump or his team had looked up Russian contacts millions of times.
Sussman neglected to add that these DNS lookups were for Trump Tower as a whole, which is a massive business center. More importantly, when reporting about lookups from the “EOP” (that is, the White House server), Sussman didn’t mention that many of those DNS lookups went back to 2014—that is, when Obama was in the White House.
Image: Man with binoculars by lookstudio; White House by Rob Young (CC BY 2.0).
So again: Durham just let everyone know that the Hillary campaign, acting through Perkins Coie and its attorneys, engaged a tech-savvy executive to spy on Trump internet searches. This executive exploited his connections to obtain private and proprietary data (including federal government data) to review internet searches originating in Trump Tower, Trump’s home, and the White House. Moreover, this spying, which began when Trump was still a candidate, continued once he became president.
Trump, obviously, trumpeted the fact that he was right all along, as well as making clear the enormity of what happened:
Obviously, it’s nice to be proven correct. However, I agree with Conservative Treehouse that there are a few glaring problems here. Preliminarily,
The obvious question is: If Rodney Joffe is spying on the office of the president, why hasn’t he been indicted?
That’s just one question, though. The real problem, which Sundance places at the head of his post, is this:
CTH begins every outline of the ongoing Durham investigation with the following disclaimer: How is John Durham going to reveal everything that is possible about the deep state Trump targeting operation, and simultaneously handle the involvement of Robert Mueller, Andrew Weissmann and the Special Counsel team who were specifically appointed to cover it up?
The short answer is, Durham can’t. The ramifications would collapse the U.S. government; yes, all three collaborating branches.
As a consequence, some of these revelations are only valuable insofar as they will be needed by historians who look upon the scattered rubble of this once great republic and seek to explain to future generations how it all went wrong.
In other words, the Durham investigation is almost certainly just another cover-up. The Russia Hoax is a huge infection in the American body politic. It was Mueller’s responsibility, and it’s now Durham’s, to hide that infection. To that end, Durham is going to focus America’s attention on a few hangnails and scratches, in the hope it deflects us from the fact that the American political system is dying from sepsis. I would love to see Durham expose the whole festering mess, and I’d happily eat my words, but I don’t see that happening.