Finally, Something That *Is* Bigger Than Watergate

Finally, Something That *Is* Bigger Than Watergate

For half a century we’ve heard one political scandal after another called “bigger than Watergate.” None other than Watergate co-reporter Bob Woodward has uttered those words over and over as he peddled his various books across the years, relying on the famed laurels he earned at the early pinnacle of his career. And now, finally, thanks to the plodding but relentless investigation of Special Counsel John Durham, we’re getting details of a scandal that, if substantiated, really is bigger, far bigger, than Watergate.

A recent 19-page court filing made by Durham’s team contains clear indications that the now nearly three-year-old investigation is looking past — far past — indicted Hillary Clinton presidential campaign legal advisor Michael Sussmann. Three times in the submission Durham informs the court that he is conducting “an active, ongoing criminal investigation” not limited to defendant Sussmann. Sussmann, for his part, has pleaded not guilty to lying to the FBI, and has answered with his own six-page filing accusing Durham of being wrong about key facts and attempting to prejudice the jury pool.

Part of Durham’s allegations is that Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was spied on by Sussmann, working with cybersecurity experts, and  touting the information to the media and government agencies, including the FBI and CIA, hoping to spur an investigation of Trump. Which, we may recall, is exactly what eventuated, in the form of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation and the subsequent ill-fated, but costly and highly destructive, investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

While the Watergate burglars physically broke into Democratic Party headquarters, Durham’s allegations imply an electronic break-in to the Trump campaign. Those kinds of dirty tricks might make the scandal as big as Watergate, but not necessarily bigger. The bigger issue, the one that — again, if substantiated — would make this scandal not only bigger than Watergate, but substantively a direct threat to national security, is that a government contractor, referred to as “Tech Executive-1” in the Durham filing but reported to be early Internet industry pioneer Rodney Joffe, may have been gleaning and passing on data from White House communications during Trump’s presidency. Joffe has not been charged in the case.

Was Trump Right?

Trump has alleged all along that his campaign and, subsequently, his presidency, was spied on. He called the campaign spying “Spygate” and alleged it was conducted by his opponent, who is called Crooked Hillary. He clearly feels, if prematurely, vindicated by Durham’s filing. In an exclusive interview earlier this week Trump told Fox News Digital, “It looks like this is just the beginning, because, if you read the filing and have any understanding of what took place, and I called this a long time ago, you’re going to see a lot of other things happening, having to do with what, really, just is a continuation of the crime of the century. This is such a big event, nobody’s seen anything like this.”

In a prior statement, Trump said, “What Hillary Clinton and the Radical Left Democrats did with respect to spying on a President of the United States, even while in office, is a far bigger crime than Watergate.” He called for further criminal charges and implied that the perpetrators, in an earlier time, would face the death penalty, which is what his opponents would have called for were he the offending party.

“Can you imagine,” Trump said in his statement, “if the roles were reversed and the Republicans, in particular President Donald Trump, got caught illegally spying into the Office of the President? All hell would break loose and the electric chair would immediately come out of retirement.”

Asked by a Daily Mail reporter to respond to the allegations contained in the Durham filing, Clinton first ignored the question, walking masked past the reporter and waving. She later came out with a tweet to blame Trump and Fox News for “spinning up a fake scandal.”

“Trump & Fox are desperately spinning up a fake scandal to distract from his real ones. So it’s a day that ends in Y,” Clinton tweeted. ‘The more his misdeeds are exposed, the more they lie.”

To back up her denial, she linked to an article in Vanity Fair written by Democratic Party toadie Bess Levin and subtitled, “In less breaking news, Donald Trump remains a moron.”

Aside from the two former candidates sparring, part of the issue revolves around the value of the data mined by Joffe’s group. According to Durham’s filing, the investigation has approximately 17,000 documents related to Tech Executive-1’s companies, including approximately 226 emails relevant to Sussmann’s defense. While it is not clear whether any specific information was gathered from White House communications, it appears that Joffe’s efforts “exploited” the communications to garner what is called DNS — Domain Name System — information indicating which computers White House computers connected with in an effort to garner derogatory information about Trump. One objective, which failed, was to tie Trump to the private Russian bank, Alfa Bank.

Durham Has the Clinton Campaign in His Sights

It’s been known for some time that the Clinton campaign and the bogus Russian dossier, which contained numerous unsubstantiated and false accusations that attempted to tie Donald Trump to Moscow, has been under investigation by Durham’s team. On Nov. 3 of last year the primary source for the infamous dossier, Igor Danchenko, was arrested and charged with lying to federal officials about his Russian contacts during his 2017 interviews with the FBI.

Along with supplying fabricated information to Christopher Steele, the former British intel operative who provided the dossier to the Clinton campaign, Danchenko had lied about never speaking with what was identified as “PR Executive-1,” described as a “long-time participant in Democratic Party politics.” It was later revealed that PR Executive-1 is Charles Dolan, Jr., a former executive director of the Democratic Governors Association who advised Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and also volunteered for her 2016 campaign. It is alleged that Dolan supplied Danchenko with information and Danchenko’s deception about his contacts with Dolan “was highly material to the FBI’s investigation of these matters.”

One key thing revealed in Durham’s recent filing is that Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz had not been fully forthcoming about his activities that are relevant to Durham’s probe of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation. For one thing, Horowitz had failed to disclose that he met with defendant Sussmann in March 2017. A focus of that meeting was discussion of how the computer of an employee of the Office of the Inspector General had been detected connecting to a virtual private network in another country, information Sussmann had gathered through his connection with Joffe.

Also revealed was that Horowitz had failed to turn over two cell phones belonging to FBI General Counsel James Baker, the official Sussmann is accused of lying to, claiming he was not advising the Clinton campaign while peddling stories of Trump-Alfa Bank connections. Durham has sought possession of a number of FBI phones, including the Baker phones, and is “working diligently” to review relevant materials on them for presentation to the court.

Unindicted Co-conspirators

During the Watergate festivities we heard a lot about “unindicted co-conspirators.” Well, there are plenty of them in the current imbroglio. Not the least of them are the media miscreants who spouted the lies about the alleged “Russia-Trump” conspiracy as if they were fact (and in most cases, still do, and who are now covering up the latest Durham revelations), and Democratic Party apparatchiks, not the least of which are California Representative Adam Schiff, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who almost certainly knew, and know, the allegations about Trump were bogus. Working in tandem, those co-conspirators wasted the country’s time, trust, and resources for the better part of five years, and are continuing to squander the national trust and treasure in an effort to drive a stake in Trump’s heart.

There are plenty of guilty parties who may or may not ever be indicted by Durham or anyone else. These include not just Hillary Clinton herself, but also the current occupant of the Oval Office who, along with his boss Barrack Obama, was informed of the phony efforts to defame Trump and allege collusion with Russia to distract attention from Clinton’s illegal use of a private server for conduct of classified government business. They also include former CIA Director John Brennan, who informed Obama and Biden of the plot, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who knew the allegations against Trump were unsubstantiated and who lied to Congress, former FBI Director James Comey, who approved of false filings to the national security FISA Court, his deputy, Andrew McCabe, and former FBI Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok, all of whom furthered the bogus plot.

We know all this went on thanks to former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, Clapper’s successor, who held multiple conversations with Durham and confirmed there was sufficient documentation of all this rot. Perhaps most explosive and damning is a CIA Counterintelligence Operational Lead (CIOL) that the CIA forwarded to Comey and Strzok stating that Clinton allegedly approved in the 2016 election “a plan concerning U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering U.S. elections as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.”

Does it get any clearer than that? I don’t think so. Now the question is, will any of these big names, whether it’s that of Hillary Clinton or Comey or Brennan or Obama or Biden, wind up in any indictments? I doubt, and have doubted for a long time, that our dual system of justice will bring justice to the biggest offenders. As I said about three years ago, in March 2019:

“But do I see it happening? Do I believe that tomorrow the sun will come up in the West and set in the East? The depth of corruption, the extent of the collusion, and the two levels of justice we live with in this country all make prosecution of Hillary and most of the other guilty parties about as likely. Sure, there might be some low-level functionaries punished, beyond the resignations and firings that have already taken place. Maybe. But the worse offenders? The most egregious actors? Not likely.”

I hope I’m proven wrong. But I doubt I will be. The better chance is that we’ll see Hillary again vying to be crowned to what she sees as her divinely ordained place as President of the United States. May that divinity have mercy on our souls.

Featured image: Hillary Shocked, source unknown, from Used under Fair Use.

Donald Trump, source unknown, from Used under Fair Use.

John Durham, source unknown, from Used under Fair Use.

Adam Schiff, Getty Images, from Used under Fair Use.

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6 Replies to “Finally, Something That *Is* Bigger Than Watergate”

  1. All of this only proves the old adage; the bigger the politician, the bigger the lie and the media publishes it all as truth.

    1. Couldn’t agree more, Noel. I think the more insidious reality is those politicians would be a lot less likely to get away with their lies without the complicity of the malpracticing, corrupt media.

        1. Well, those parties certainly have influence on the media, if not actual ownership. But much of the media in this country, and others, is so tied to a certain agenda that they act basically as the state media. As a former journalist, I’ve been railing against media corruption and malpractice for a very long time. I see those things as a bigger threat to our democracy than just about anything else, including political corruption.

  2. Frank–once again you’ve nailed it, AND I would not be as kind as you are in your dealings with these wrong-doers.

    1. Thank you, Gayle. I make an effort to remain even-handed in dealing with the wrong-doers. I’d explode all over the place if I didn’t.

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