It was clear from the beginning that charges of “collusion” between Donald Trump and Russia during the 2016 election were phony — a cheap, and illegal, political trick. But they did their damage. While Trump beat Hillary Clinton, there has since been a non-stop Democratic Party-led campaign to tar him as a “traitor” or worse.
And, as the recent testimony of Special Counsel John Durham to Congress shows, Clinton lay behind this scheme to defraud American voters and throw an election. So, today, despite powerful evidence of official wrongdoing, we’re back where we were some seven years ago.
By the way, you might notice the headline above has quotation marks. That’s because it was the exact headline we placed on an editorial way back in August 2018. We didn’t need to change it a bit.
We wrote then: “It’s beginning to look as if claims of monstrous collusion between Russian officials and U.S. political operatives were true. But it wasn’t Donald Trump who was guilty of Russian collusion. It was Hillary Clinton and U.S. intelligence officials who worked with Russians and others to entrap Trump.”
After years of investigation, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and casting doubt on the outcomes of two presidential elections, will anything change? Not likely.
As Durham said Wednesday: “The FBI was too willing to accept and use politically funded and uncorroborated opposition research such as the Steele Dossier. It did so even after the president of the United States, the FBI and CIA directors and others received briefings about intelligence suggesting there was a Clinton campaign plan underway to stir up a scandal tying Trump to Russia.”
Durham emphasized that the FBI knew Clinton’s tale of Trump’s supposed ties to the Russians was false. So did the CIA and the NSA. So did President Barack Obama. But the FBI investigated Trump anyway under its now-infamous Crossfire Hurricane probe.
This didn’t spring from nowhere. It came at the prompting of CIA Director John Brennan, who in summer 2016 created what he called a “fusion cell” from the CIA, NSA and FBI to look into the charges. Conveniently, it disbanded shortly after Trump won election, leaving the FBI holding the bag with Crossfire Hurricane.
So, no, calling this a deep-state conspiracy is not paranoid. It’s a fact.
Worse, as it turns out, the FBI essentially became an arm of the faltering Clinton campaign, taking sides to throw an election. How? The nation’s top law enforcement agency used as its main evidence the now-debunked Steele Dossier, which Clinton’s campaign paid for.
This was the real collusion. It’s not overly dramatic to suggest this was, in essence, a pre-emptive coup attempt by deep state insiders.
As investigative reporter Lee Smith, writing in 2018, put it, evidence showed clearly “how closely senior Justice Department officials and the Federal Bureau of Investigation worked with employees of Fusion GPS, a Washington-based research firm reportedly paid $1 million by Clinton operatives to dig up dirt on the Trump campaign.”
Smith added this was all “part of a broad effort to tarnish the Trump campaign involving Hillary Clinton operatives employed by Kremlin-linked figures and Department of Justice officials.”
That is a conspiracy, plain and simple. And clearly one that favored the Democrats.
As Durham himself noted this week, the Justice Department and FBI did not apply the same standards to allegations they “received about the Clinton and Trump campaigns.” That’s right. Because they were working with Clinton. And because they feared her.
This crime is worthy of severe punishment for its perpetrators. Instead, only a handful were ever sanctioned or fired. The short list of those who lost jobs includes former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI No. 2 Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith, and just a few others.
As for Clinton, she once again skated for illegal behavior, just as she did for potentially revealing secrets to our enemies over her private email server while serving as secretary of State, a clear crime under the law, and for turning her State Department post into an illegal fundraising arm of the “Clinton Family Foundation.”
As Durham himself wrote, the FBI was informed about “a Clinton campaign plan to vilify Trump by tying him to Vladimir Putin so as to divert attention from her own concerns relating to her use of a private email server.” Did the FBI stop it? No, it investigated what it knew to be false.
Yet, like Clinton, the FBI, has escaped serious consequences for its actions. At minimum, it needs to be reformed from top to bottom. But that appears to be highly unlikely with a Democrat-controlled Senate.
Meanwhile, the Bureau continues to do the Democratic Party’s dirty work through its endless investigations of Trump, including the ongoing review of the J6 “insurrection” that the FBI itself might have played a role in instigating, and the senseless flap over “classified documents” that launched a paramilitary federal assault on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
So, as we said, nothing’s changed.
Political favoritism by the Justice Department and FBI undermines Americans’ confidence in their public institutions and the rule of law. The main instigator, Hillary Clinton, walks free, while Trump is subject to repeated probes.
Which means this will happen again. Indeed, it already is, with both Justice and the FBI appearing to look the other way as evidence grows of $30 million-plus in Chinese, Ukrainian and Russian bribes paid to the Biden family.
It is a dangerous thing when polls show people think that justice isn’t blind, but rather has its finger on the scale for one party over another. Durham, at least, understands that.
Near the end of Wednesday’s testimony, Republican Wyoming Rep. Harriet Hageman pointedly asked Durham: “How long do you think that this country will survive with a two-tiered justice system that seeks to persecute people on their political beliefs?”
“The nation can’t stand under those circumstances,” Durham responded. That’s perhaps his most damning comment of the entire four-year investigation.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board