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Day Of Reckoning: In Pursuit Of All The Ex-President’s Crimes

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There’s no hiding Biden’s fright over classified document scandal

The no-there-there defense may have worked for Biden back in the 2020 campaign, when he repeatedly claimed to know nothing about his son’s overseas business dealings, and when the mythology of “Honest Joe” hadn’t collapsed, but no more. Too much evidence has emerged from Hunter’s laptop, from Hunter’s former business partners, from the “Twitter files” and from FBI whistleblowers alleging a cover-up of staggering proportions.

The first tranche of at least 10 classified documents reportedly was found in the fall at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania, and were kept secret by the White House until after the midterm elections. They were dated between 2013 and 2016 and included US intelligence memos and briefing materials on Ukraine, Iran and the United Kingdom, according to CNN.

This is the thread that links the president to the long-running Delaware federal investigation into his son’s foreign business dealings.

That three-year period corresponds to the most frenetic influence-peddling activity overseas by his son Hunter and brother Jim Biden, who made millions of dollars from shady interests in Ukraine, China, Russia and elsewhere.

How much more valuable their product would be if they had access to classified documents?

Their activity is documented in the Hunter laptop, in financial documents held by the Treasury, and in testimony from Hunter’s former business partner Tony Bobulinski, who said Joe was the “big guy” slated to get 10% from a particularly lucrative Chinese deal.

Hunter traveled on Air Force 2 with his father to do private business during that period, including to China in December 2013. He organized the infamous Cafe Milano dinner for Joe to meet his business partners from Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan in April 2015.

After his separation from his wife in July 2015, Hunter lived off and on at his father’s Delaware mansion and listed it as his residence on official documents. He was photographed in 2017 driving his father’s Corvette, which was housed in the very garage where classified documents have been found.

Hunter also had free rein in his dad’s White House office, and his privileged access meant his name never showed up on visitor logs. For instance, he took the infamous photo of his then-“best friend in business,” Devon Archer, with his father in the VP’s office in April 2014, shortly before the pair joined the board of the corrupt Ukrainian oil company Burisma, which paid Hunter $83,000 a month. That photo ended up briefly on the Burisma website before being taken down on the instructions of a White House lawyer.

One striking email during this period stands out. It was from Hunter to Archer on April 13, 2014, a week before Joe Biden visited Ukraine to meet then-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and refers to “my guys upcoming travels.”

For Hunter, it was an uncharacteristically lengthy email, listing 22 points about Ukraine’s political situation, with detailed information about the upcoming election and predicting an escalation of Russia’s “destabilization campaign, which could lead to a full-scale takeover of the eastern region, most critically Donetsk.

“The strategic value is to create a land bridge for RU to Crimea. That won’t directly affect Burisma holdings but it will limit future UK exploration and utilization of offshore opportunities in particular,” Hunter wrote.

“It will also result in further destabilization of UK nationally and for whatever govt is in power. And the US will respond with even stronger sanctions. Those sanctions will threaten the tenuous support of the EU which does not have the political will to incur steep energy price increases.”

In point 22, Hunter instructed Archer to buy a “burner phone,” presumably to keep their conversations private. “Buy a cell phone from a 7/11 or CVS tmrw and ill do the same.”

It’s a prescient and very well-informed email, unlike anything else Hunter wrote in the nine years covered in the laptop, and it has the distinct flavor of an official briefing, perhaps even a classified one.

If special counsel Robert Hur does his job properly, he will be comparing notes with Delaware US Attorney David Weiss, who has been investigating Hunter since 2018.



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How Barr’s Quest to Find Flaws in the Russia Inquiry Unraveled

The review by John Durham at one point veered into a criminal investigation related to Donald Trump himself, even as it failed to find wrongdoing in the origins of the Russia inquiry.

John Durham entering a vehicle.
The veteran prosecutor John H. Durham was given the job of determining whether there was any wrongdoing behind the investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.Credit...Samuel Corum for The New York Times

Charlie SavageAdam GoldmanKatie Benner
By Charlie Savage, Adam Goldman and Katie Benner
Jan. 26, 2023

WASHINGTON — It became a regular litany of grievances from President Donald J. Trump and his supporters: The investigation into his 2016 campaign’s ties to Russia was a witch hunt, they maintained, that had been opened without any solid basis, went on too long and found no proof of collusion.

Egged on by Mr. Trump, Attorney General William P. Barr set out in 2019 to dig into their shared theory that the Russia investigation likely stemmed from a conspiracy by intelligence or law enforcement agencies. To lead the inquiry, Mr. Barr turned to a hard-nosed prosecutor named John H. Durham, and later granted him special counsel status to carry on after Mr. Trump left office.

But after almost four years — far longer than the Russia investigation itself — 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.

Moreover, a monthslong review by The New York Times found that the main thrust of the Durham inquiry was marked by some of the very same flaws — including a strained justification for opening it and its role in fueling partisan conspiracy theories that would never be charged in court — that Trump allies claim characterized the Russia investigation.

Interviews by The Times with more than a dozen current and former officials have revealed an array of previously unreported episodes that show how the Durham inquiry became roiled by internal dissent and ethical disputes as it went unsuccessfully down one path after another even as Mr. Trump and Mr. Barr promoted a misleading narrative of its progress.

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 specifics of the tip and how they handled the investigation remain unclear, but Mr. Durham brought no charges over it.

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, the financier and philanthropist who is a favorite target of the American right and Russian state media. Mr. Durham used grand jury powers to keep pursuing the emails even after a judge twice rejected his request for access to them. The emails yielded no evidence that Mr. Durham has cited in any case he pursued.

There were deeper internal fractures on the Durham team than previously known. The publicly unexplained resignation in 2020 of his No. 2 and longtime aide, Nora R. Dannehy, was the culmination of a series of disputes between them over prosecutorial ethics. A year later, two more prosecutors strongly objected to plans to indict a lawyer with ties to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign based on evidence they warned was too flimsy, and one left the team in protest of Mr. Durham’s decision to proceed anyway. (A jury swiftly acquitted the lawyer.)

Now, as Mr. Durham works on a final report, the interviews by The Times provide new details of how he and Mr. Barr sought to recast the scrutiny of the 2016 Trump campaign’s myriad if murky links to Russia as unjustified and itself a crime.

Mr. Barr, Mr. Durham and Ms. Dannehy declined to comment. The current and former officials who discussed the investigation all spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the legal, political and intelligence sensitivities surrounding the topic.

A year into the Durham inquiry, Mr. Barr declared that the attempt “to get to the bottom of what happened” in 2016 “cannot be, and it will not be, a tit-for-tat exercise. We are not going to lower the standards just to achieve a result.”

But Robert Luskin, a criminal defense lawyer and former Justice Department prosecutor who represented two witnesses Mr. Durham interviewed, said that he had a hard time squaring Mr. Durham’s prior reputation as an independent-minded straight shooter with his end-of-career conduct as Mr. Barr’s special counsel.

“This stuff has my head spinning,” Mr. Luskin said. “When did these guys drink the Kool-Aid, and who served it to them?”

Attorney General William P. Barr at the White House in a suit standing on a red carpet with officials in the background.
Attorney General William P. Barr took office in 2019 with suspicions about the origins of the Russia investigation.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times

An Odd Couple
A month after Mr. Barr was confirmed as attorney general in February 2019, the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III ended the Russia investigation and turned in his report without charging any Trump associates with engaging in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow over its covert operation to help Mr. Trump win the 2016 election.

Mr. Trump would repeatedly portray the Mueller report as having found “no collusion with Russia.” The reality was more complex. In fact, the report detailed “numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign,” and it established both how Moscow had worked to help Mr. Trump win and how his campaign had expected to benefit from the foreign interference.

That spring, Mr. Barr assigned Mr. Durham to scour the origins of the Russia investigation for wrongdoing, telling Fox News that he wanted to know if “officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale” in deciding to pursue the investigation. “A lot of the answers have been inadequate, and some of the explanations I’ve gotten don’t hang together,” he added.

While attorneys general overseeing politically sensitive inquiries tend to keep their distance from the investigators, Mr. Durham visited Mr. Barr in his office for at times weekly updates and consultations about his day-to-day work. They also sometimes dined and sipped Scotch together, people familiar with their work said.

In some ways, they were an odd match. Taciturn and media-averse, the goateed Mr. Durham had spent more than three decades as a prosecutor before Mr. Trump appointed him the U.S. attorney for Connecticut. Administrations of both parties had assigned him to investigate potential official wrongdoing, like allegations of corrupt ties between mafia informants and F.B.I. agents, and the C.I.A.’s torture of terrorism detainees and destruction of evidence.

By contrast, the vocal and domineering Mr. Barr has never prosecuted a case and is known for using his law enforcement platform to opine on culture-war issues and politics. He had effectively auditioned to be Mr. Trump’s attorney general by asserting to a New York Times reporter that there was more basis to investigate Mrs. Clinton than Mr. Trump’s “so-called ‘collusion’” with Russia, and by writing a memo suggesting a way to shield Mr. Trump from scrutiny for obstruction of justice.

But the two shared a worldview: They are both Catholic conservatives and Republicans, born two months apart in 1950. As a career federal prosecutor, Mr. Durham already revered the office of the attorney general, people who know him say. And as he was drawn into Mr. Barr’s personal orbit, Mr. Durham came to embrace that particular attorney general’s intense feelings about the Russia investigation.

President Trump walking past a blue curtain, while a glass reflects an image of him.
President Donald J. Trump openly suggested that Mr. Durham should charge his adversaries with crimes.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times

‘The Thinnest of Suspicions’
At the time Mr. Barr was confirmed, he told aides that he already suspected that intelligence abuses played a role in igniting the Russia investigation — and that unearthing any wrongdoing would be a priority.

In May 2019, soon after giving Mr. Durham his assignment, Mr. Barr summoned the head of the National Security Agency, Paul M. Nakasone, to his office. In front of several aides, Mr. Barr demanded that the N.S.A. cooperate with the Durham inquiry.

Referring to the C.I.A. and British spies, Mr. Barr also said he suspected that the N.S.A.’s “friends” had helped instigate the Russia investigation by targeting the Trump campaign, aides briefed on the meeting said. And repeating a sexual vulgarity, he warned that if the N.S.A. wronged him by not doing all it could to help Mr. Durham, Mr. Barr would do the same to the agency.

Mr. Barr’s insistence about what he had surmised bewildered intelligence officials. But Mr. Durham spent his first months looking for any evidence that the origin of the Russia investigation involved an intelligence operation targeting the Trump campaign.

Mr. Durham’s team spent long hours combing the C.I.A.’s files but found no way to support the allegation. Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham traveled abroad together to press British and Italian officials to reveal everything their agencies had gleaned about the Trump campaign and relayed to the United States, but both allied governments denied they had done any such thing. Top British intelligence officials expressed indignation to their U.S. counterparts about the accusation, three former U.S. officials said.

Mr. Durham and Mr. Barr had not yet given up when a new problem arose: In early December, the Justice Department’s independent inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, completed his own report on the origins of the Russia investigation.

The inspector general revealed errors and omissions in wiretap applications targeting a former Trump campaign adviser and determined that an F.B.I. lawyer had doctored an email in a way that kept one of those problems from coming to light. (Mr. Durham’s team later negotiated a guilty plea by that lawyer.)

But the broader findings contradicted Mr. Trump’s accusations and the rationale for Mr. Durham’s inquiry. Mr. Horowitz found no evidence that F.B.I. actions were politically motivated. And he concluded that the investigation’s basis — an Australian diplomat’s tip that a Trump campaign adviser had seemed to disclose advance knowledge that Russia would release hacked Democratic emails — had been sufficient to lawfully open it.

Michael E. Horowitz sitting at a desk and speaking into a microphone.
Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general, found no evidence that the F.B.I.’s actions in opening the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia were politically motivated.Credit...Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

The week before Mr. Horowitz released the report, he and aides came to Mr. Durham’s offices — nondescript suites on two floors of a building in northeast Washington — to go over it.

Mr. Durham lobbied Mr. Horowitz to drop his finding that the diplomat’s tip had been sufficient for the F.B.I. to open its “full” counterintelligence investigation, arguing that it was enough at most for a “preliminary” inquiry, according to officials. But Mr. Horowitz did not change his mind.

That weekend, Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham decided to weigh in publicly to shape the narrative on their terms.

Minutes before the inspector general’s report went online, Mr. Barr issued a statement contradicting Mr. Horowitz’s major finding, declaring that the F.B.I. opened the investigation “on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient.” He would later tell Fox News that the investigation began “without any basis,” as if the diplomat’s tip never happened.

Mr. Trump also weighed in, telling reporters that the details of the inspector general’s report were “far worse than anything I would have even imagined,” adding: “I look forward to the Durham report, which is coming out in the not-too-distant future. It’s got its own information, which is this information plus, plus, plus.”

And the Justice Department sent reporters a statement from Mr. Durham that clashed with both Justice Department principles about not discussing ongoing investigations and his personal reputation as particularly tight-lipped. He said he disagreed with Mr. Horowitz’s conclusions about the Russia investigation’s origins, citing his own access to more information and “evidence collected to date.”

But as Mr. Durham’s inquiry proceeded, he never presented any evidence contradicting Mr. Horowitz’s factual findings about the basis on which F.B.I. officials opened the investigation.

By summer 2020, it was clear that the hunt for evidence supporting Mr. Barr’s hunch about intelligence abuses had failed. But he waited until after the 2020 election to publicly concede that there had turned out to be no sign of “foreign government activity” and that the C.I.A. had “stayed in its lane” after all.

Mr. Barr and Mr. Trump departing Air Force One.
Mr. Barr later wrote that his relationship with Mr. Trump eroded because his “failure to deliver scalps in time for the election.”Credit...Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

An Awkward Tip
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.

Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham decided that the tip was too serious and credible to ignore. But rather than assign it to another prosecutor, Mr. Barr had Mr. Durham investigate the matter himself — giving him criminal prosecution powers for the first time — even though the possible wrongdoing by Mr. Trump did not fall squarely within Mr. Durham’s assignment to scrutinize the origins of the Russia inquiry, the people said.

Mr. Durham never filed charges, and 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. The extraordinary fact that Mr. Durham opened a criminal investigation that included scrutinizing Mr. Trump has remained secret.

But in October 2019, a garbled echo became public. The Times reported that Mr. Durham’s administrative review of the Russia inquiry had evolved to include a criminal investigation, while saying it was not clear what the suspected crime was. Citing their own sources, many other news outlets confirmed the development.

The news reports, however, were all framed around the erroneous assumption that the criminal investigation must mean Mr. Durham had found evidence of potential crimes by officials involved in the Russia inquiry. Mr. Barr, who weighed in publicly about the Durham inquiry at regular intervals in ways that advanced a pro-Trump narrative, chose in this instance not to clarify what was really happening.

By the spring and summer of 2020, with Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign in full swing, the Durham investigation’s “failure to deliver scalps in time for the election” began to erode Mr. Barr’s relationship with Mr. Trump, Mr. Barr wrote in his memoir.

Mr. Trump was stoking a belief among his supporters that Mr. Durham might charge former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. That proved too much for Mr. Barr, who in May 2020 clarified that “our concern of potential criminality is focused on others.”

Even so, in August, Mr. Trump lashed out in a Fox interview, asserting that Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden, along with top F.B.I. and intelligence officials, had been caught in “the single biggest political crime in the history of our country” and the only thing stopping charges would be if Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham wanted to be “politically correct.”

Against that backdrop, Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham did not shut down their inquiry when the search for intelligence abuses hit a dead end. With the inspector general’s inquiry complete, they turned to a new rationale: a hunt for a basis to accuse the Clinton campaign of conspiring to defraud the government by manufacturing the suspicions that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia, along with scrutinizing what the F.B.I. and intelligence officials knew about the Clinton campaign’s actions.

Mr. Durham also developed an indirect method to impute political bias to law enforcement officials: comparing the Justice Department’s aggressive response to suspicions of links between Mr. Trump and Russia with its more cautious and skeptical reaction to various Clinton-related suspicions.

He examined an investigation into the Clinton Foundation’s finances in which the F.B.I.’s repeated requests for a subpoena were denied. He also scrutinized how the F.B.I. gave Mrs. Clinton a “defensive briefing” about suspicions that a foreign government might be trying to influence her campaign through donations, but did not inform Mr. Trump about suspicions that Russia might be conspiring with people associated with his campaign.

Hillary Clinton holding a ballot at a polling place in 2016 surrounded by a group.
The Durham inquiry looked for evidence that Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign had conspired to frame Donald J. Trump.Credit...Doug mills/The New York Times

Dubious Intelligence
During the Russia investigation, the F.B.I. used claims from what turned out to be a dubious source, the Steele dossier — opposition research indirectly funded by the Clinton campaign — in its botched applications to wiretap a former Trump campaign aide.

The Durham investigation did something with parallels to that incident.

In Mr. Durham’s case, the dubious sources were memos, whose credibility the intelligence community doubted, written by Russian intelligence analysts and discussing purported conversations involving American victims of Russian hacking, according to people familiar with the matter.

The memos were part of a trove provided to the C.I.A. by a Dutch spy agency, which had infiltrated the servers of its Russian counterpart. The memos were said to make demonstrably inconsistent, inaccurate or exaggerated claims, and some U.S. analysts believed Russia may have deliberately seeded them with disinformation.

Mr. Durham wanted to use the memos, which 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, to pursue the theory that the Clinton campaign conspired to frame Mr. Trump. And in doing so, Mr. Durham sought to use the memos as justification to get access to the private communications of an American citizen.

One purported hacking victim identified in the memos was Leonard Benardo, the executive vice president of the Open Society Foundations, a pro-democracy organization whose Hungarian-born founder, Mr. Soros, has been vilified by the far right.

In 2017, The Washington Post reported that the Russian memos included a claim that Mr. Benardo and a Democratic member of Congress, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, had discussed how Loretta E. Lynch, the Obama-era attorney general, had supposedly promised to keep the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s emails from going too far.

But Mr. Benardo and Ms. Wasserman Schultz said they had never even met, let alone communicated about Mrs. Clinton’s emails.

Mr. Durham set out to prove that the memos described real conversations, according to people familiar with the matter. He sent a prosecutor on his team, Andrew DeFilippis, to ask Judge Beryl A. Howell, the chief judge of the Federal District Court in Washington, for an order allowing them to seize information about Mr. Benardo’s emails.

But Judge Howell decided that the Russian memo was too weak a basis to intrude on Mr. Benardo’s privacy, they said. Mr. Durham then personally appeared before her and urged her to reconsider, but she again ruled against him.

Rather than dropping the idea, Mr. Durham sidestepped Judge Howell’s ruling by invoking grand-jury power to demand documents and testimony directly from Mr. Soros’s foundation and Mr. Benardo about his emails, the people said. (It is unclear whether Mr. Durham served them with a subpoena or instead threatened to do so if they did not cooperate.)

Rather than fighting in court, the foundation and Mr. Benardo quietly complied, according to people familiar with the matter. But for Mr. Durham, the result appears to have been another dead end.

In a statement provided to The Times by Mr. Soros’s foundation, Mr. Benardo reiterated that he never met or corresponded with Ms. Wasserman Schultz, and said that “if such documentation exists, it’s of course made up.”

Nora R. Dannehy walking to a taxi cab.
Nora R. Dannehy in 2009. A longtime aide to Mr. Durham, Ms. Dannehy resigned from his team in 2020 after disputes with him over prosecutorial ethics.Credit...Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Internal Strife
As the focus of the Durham investigation shifted, cracks formed inside the team. Mr. Durham’s deputy, Ms. Dannehy, a longtime close colleague, increasingly argued with him in front of other prosecutors and F.B.I. agents about legal ethics.

Ms. Dannehy had independent standing as a respected prosecutor. In 2008, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey assigned her to investigate whether to charge senior Bush administration officials with crimes related to a scandal over the firing of U.S. attorneys; she decided in 2010 that no charges were warranted.

Now, Ms. Dannehy complained to Mr. Durham about how Mr. Barr kept hinting darkly in public about the direction of their investigation. In April 2020, for example, he suggested to Fox News that officials could be prosecuted, saying that “the evidence shows that we are not dealing with just mistakes or sloppiness. There is something far more troubling here.”

Ms. Dannehy urged Mr. Durham to ask the attorney general to adhere to Justice Department policy and not discuss the investigation publicly. But Mr. Durham proved unwilling to challenge him.

The strains grew when Mr. Durham used grand jury powers to go after Mr. Benardo’s emails. Ms. Dannehy opposed that tactic and told colleagues that Mr. Durham had taken that step without telling her.

By summer 2020, with Election Day approaching, Mr. Barr pressed Mr. Durham to draft a potential interim report centered on the Clinton campaign and F.B.I. gullibility or willful blindness.

On Sept. 10, 2020, Ms. Dannehy discovered that other members of the team had written a draft report that Mr. Durham had not told her about, according to people briefed on their ensuing argument.

Ms. Dannehy erupted, according to people familiar with the matter. She told Mr. Durham that no report should be issued before the investigation was complete and especially not just before an election — and denounced the draft for taking disputed information at face value. She sent colleagues a memo detailing those concerns and resigned.

Mr. Durham walking out a federal court and wearing a suit.
Cracks formed in Mr. Durham’s team as the scope of his investigation shifted. Credit...Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

Two people close to Mr. Barr said he had pressed for the draft to evaluate what a report on preliminary findings would look like and what evidence would need to be declassified. But they insisted that he intended any release to come during the summer or after the Nov. 3 election — not soon before Election Day.

In any case, in late September 2020, about two weeks after Ms. Dannehy quit, someone leaked to a Fox Business personality that Mr. Durham would not issue any interim report, disappointing Trump supporters hoping for a pre-Election Day bombshell.

Stymied by the decision not to issue an interim Durham report, John Ratcliffe, Mr. Trump’s national intelligence director, tried another way to inject some of the same information into the campaign.

Over the objections of Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director, Mr. Ratcliffe declassified nearly 1,000 pages of intelligence material before the election for Mr. Durham to use. Notably, in that fight, Mr. Barr sided with Ms. Haspel on one matter that is said to be particularly sensitive and that remained classified, according to two people familiar with the dispute.

Mr. Ratcliffe also disclosed in a letter to a senator that “Russian intelligence analysis” claimed that on July 26, 2016, Mrs. Clinton had approved a campaign plan to stir up a scandal tying Mr. Trump to Russia.

The letter acknowledged that officials did “not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.” But it did not mention that there were many reasons that suspicions about the Trump campaign were arising in that period — like the diplomat’s tip, Mr. Trump’s flattery of President Vladimir V. Putin, his hiring of advisers with links to Russia, his financial ties to Russia and his call for Russia to hack Mrs. Clinton.

The disclosure infuriated Dutch intelligence officials, who had provided the memos under strictest confidence.

Michael Sussman walking through an open door in a suit.
Mr. Durham accused Michael Sussmann of lying in a meeting with an F.B.I. official. He was acquitted.Credit...Samuel Corum for The New York Times

‘Fanning the Flames’
Late in the summer of 2021, Mr. Durham prepared to indict Michael Sussmann, a cybersecurity lawyer who had represented Democrats in their dealings with the F.B.I. about Russia’s hacking of their emails. Two prosecutors on Mr. Durham’s team — Anthony Scarpelli and Neeraj N. Patel — objected, according to people familiar with the matter.

Five years earlier, Mr. Sussmann had relayed a tip to the bureau about odd internet data that a group of data scientists contended could reflect hidden communications between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank of Russia. The F.B.I., which by then had already launched its Russia investigation, briefly looked at the allegation but dismissed it.

Mr. Durham accused Mr. Sussmann of lying to an F.B.I. official by saying he was not conveying the tip for a client; the prosecutor maintained Mr. Sussmann was there in part for the Clinton campaign.

Mr. Scarpelli and Mr. Patel argued to Mr. Durham that the evidence was too thin to charge Mr. Sussmann and that such a case would not normally be prosecuted, people familiar with the matter said. Given the intense scrutiny it would receive, they also warned that an acquittal would undermine public faith in their investigation and federal law enforcement.

When Mr. Durham did not change course, Mr. Scarpelli quit in protest, people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Patel left soon after to take a different job. Both declined to comment.

The charge against Mr. Sussmann was narrow, but the Durham team used it to make public large amounts of information insinuating what Mr. Durham never charged: that Clinton campaign associates conspired to gin up an F.B.I. investigation into Mr. Trump based on a knowingly false allegation.

Trial testimony, however, showed that while Mrs. Clinton and her campaign manager hoped Mr. Sussmann would persuade reporters to write articles about Alfa Bank, they did not want him to take the information to the F.B.I. And prosecutors presented no evidence that he or campaign officials had believed the data scientists’ complex theory was false.

After Mr. Sussmann’s acquittal, Mr. Barr, by then out of office for more than a year, suggested that using the courts to advance a politically charged narrative was a goal in itself. Mr. Durham “accomplished something far more important” than a conviction, Mr. Barr told Fox News, asserting that the case had “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.”

And he predicted that a subsequent trial, concerning a Russia analyst who was a researcher for the Steele dossier, would also “get the story out” and “further amplify these themes and the role the F.B.I. leadership played in this, which is increasingly looking fishy and inexplicable.”

Igor Danchenko walking outside of a courthouse surrounded by a group.
Mr. Durham’s prosecution of Igor Danchenko, a Russia analyst who was a researcher for the Steele dossier, ended in acquittal.Credit...Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

That case involved Igor Danchenko, who had told the F.B.I. that the dossier exaggerated the credibility of gossip and speculation. Mr. Durham charged him with lying about two sources. He was acquitted, too.

The two failed cases are likely to be Mr. Durham’s last courtroom acts as a prosecutor. Bringing demonstrably weak cases stood in contrast to how he once talked about his prosecutorial philosophy.

James Farmer, a retired prosecutor who worked with Mr. Durham on several major investigations, recalled him as a neutral actor who said that if there were nothing to charge, they would not strain to prosecute. “That’s what I heard, time and again,” Mr. Farmer said.

Delivering the closing arguments in the Danchenko trial, Mr. Durham defended his investigation to the jury, denying that his appointment by Mr. Barr had been tainted by politics.

He asserted that Mr. Mueller had concluded “there’s no evidence of collusion here or conspiracy” — a formulation that echoed Mr. Trump’s distortion of the Russia investigation’s complex findings — and added: “Is it the wrong question to ask, well, then how did this get started? Respectfully, that’s not the case.”

The judge interrupted him: “You should finish up, Mr. Durham.”

William K. Rashbaum and Julian E. Barnes contributed reporting.


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Day Of Reckoning: In Pursuit Of All The Ex-President’s Crimes - Page 4 FsgH9PSWcAYjogf?format=jpg&name=small

Day Of Reckoning: In Pursuit Of All The Ex-President’s Crimes - Page 4 FsgISUfWYAA2Jmr?format=jpg&name=small

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Queens man indicted

March 30, 2023


By Ryan Schwach

A Queens man was indicted Thursday for allegedly making hush money payments to a porn star shortly before he was elected president of the United States in 2016.

Although the exact charges against former president and Queens native Donald Trump are still unknown, Trump will be the first former president to ever face criminal charges and is expected to be arrested, fingerprinted and quite possibly handcuffed in the coming days, the New York Times reported.

Court sources told the New York Daily News that the grand jury handed up their indictment vote around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. The grand jury had been deliberating in lower Manhattan as part of an investigation led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg into hush money payments the former president raised in Jamaica Estates made to porn star Stormy Daniels just before the election in 2016.

Trump allegedly made the illegal payments as a way to keep Daniels from going public about the alleged affair he had with her in 2006.

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen first brought the story to light in 2018, saying that he handled the illegal pay off, and that Trump did it “for the principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election, the Daily News reported.

The $130,000 payoff was taken out by Cohen through a home equity line of credit, the Daily News said, and wired to Daniels.

The charges come about a week after Trump called for protests outside of Bragg’s office and threatened “death and destruction” if charges were to be brought against him.  

Trump became the first man from Queens to be impeached in 2019. Two years later, he became the first man from Queens to be impeached twice.

Ryan Schwach  20 Comments
Donald Trump, Queens Man


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Day Of Reckoning: In Pursuit Of All The Ex-President’s Crimes - Page 4 TMW2023-04-03color

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The new devastating evidence against Trump in the Investigation by Special Counsel Jack Smith:

1) Trump directed others to move boxes from the storage room in Mar-a-Lago, to other locations, after the subpoena was issued by the Grand Jury.

2) Trump himself looked through boxes following the receipt of the subpoena, to determine what to keep, and what to give back to National Archives, after their initial request. Claiming what they returned “was all of it.”

3) Jack Smith has obtained Trump's daily log, covering his visitors and activities at Mar-a-Lago, from his assistant.

4) Trump directly told others to lie to National Archives and DOJ through out 2022: “Just tell them we returned everything.”

5) Trump continually ignores requests and advice from his advisors that he should return all documents.

6) Trump sought advice from lawyers and advisors about if what he was doing was illegal. And he was told yes it was. Trump chose to ignore their advice.

7) Jack Smith has been asking a lot of people, if Trump was showing off these Documents as trophies to his Donors and VIPs? Was he bragging about having national secrets, etc.?

In addition to the obvious Obstruction of Justice crimes, Trump has likely committed these violations too, according to Ben Meiselas, given these new disclosures:

18 US Code 1519 — Destruction alteration or falsification of records in Federal investigations

18 US Code 793 — Gathering transmitting or losing defense information (Violation of the Espionage act.)

18 US Code 2071 — Concealment, removal, and mutilation of Sensitive Government Documents

These violations carry with them serious penalties, including significant Jail time.


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Sound like everything Hillary did. We know what came of that.



PkrBum wrote:Sound like everything Hillary did. We know what came of that.

Day Of Reckoning: In Pursuit Of All The Ex-President’s Crimes - Page 4 7c5e7c10

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Day Of Reckoning: In Pursuit Of All The Ex-President’s Crimes - Page 4 E5126110

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Trump Pleads Not Guilty to 34 Felony Counts

The former president turned himself over to authorities in Manhattan on Tuesday
APRIL 4, 2023

DONALD TRUMP HAS pleaded not guilty to charges that reportedly include 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree — part of a complex scheme intended to cover up a hush money payment to a porn star.

Trump surrendered to authorities for arrest in New York early Tuesday afternoon, and he pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan court. He is the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges.

The not-guilty plea comes after a grand jury voted on Thursday to indict Trump, an unprecedented decision that promises to shake up the 2024 presidential race.

The Trump charges have emerged after years of legal wrangling over a $130,000 payment, made just ahead of the 2016 election, to keep Stormy Daniels quiet about her alleged affair with Trump. The payment was made to aid Trump’s presidential bid, but it was not disclosed as a campaign contribution.

Trump lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen paid Daniels out of his own pocket, funneling the money through a shell corporation. Trump then allegedly directed that Cohen be reimbursed for the payment. The Trump Organization then put Cohen on a $35,000 monthly retainer throughout 2017, ostensibly for legal services, according to Cohen’s guilty plea for violating campaign finance laws.

Trump has denied the affair and insisted that he never instructed Cohen to do anything illegal suggesting he was following the advice of his counsel. But Cohen has testified that the initial payment and the covert reimbursement scheme were both executed at Trump’s direction.

Rolling Stone reported in February that Trump’s advisers have told him to insist the payment was made to keep the alleged affair from his wife Melania, not to help his presidential campaign. Rolling Stone reported last month that Trump’s attorneys have been preparing him to lose the case.

Trump has been railing against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg since the news of his impending arrest broke last month, and especially since the grand jury voted to indict him last week. The former president has attacked the legitimacy of the case, calling it “Election Interference” and suggesting violence may be the only way to defend him against the prosecution.

“What kind of person can charge another person, in this case a former President of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting President in history, and leading candidate (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a Crime, when it is known by all that NO Crime has been committed, & also known that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country?” Trump wrote last week.

Trump responded to a report about the number of charged against him on Monday night by writing that Bragg should “INDICT HIMSELF.”


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Stormy Daniels ordered to pay Trump team another $120,000 in legal fees


Three thousand miles away from his New York legal drama, Donald Trump secured a substantial victory in another court.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the former president in his effort to recoup additional legal fees from adult film star Stormy Daniels, who had filed and lost a defamation suit against him.

Daniels was ordered to pay Trump’s attorneys just over $120,000 in legal fees. That’s on top of the more than $500,000 in court-ordered payments to Trump attorneys she’s already been ordered to pay.



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@6:00...a very important fact.

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The explosive new evidence of Biden family's breathtaking corruption

The sheer magnitude of Biden family corruption uncovered by the House Oversight Committee can only be described as breathtaking. It is also deeply alarming. If the fruits of Chairman James Comer’s investigation are exactly what they appear to be, Joe Biden may have jeopardized our nation’s security by selling out America for cold hard cash.

Documents show that over $10 million in foreign money flowed like a river into more than 20 shell companies and LLCs created for the Bidens’ financial benefit, said Comer. Much of it was then surreptitiously shuffled around various accounts before it landed in the hands of nine members of the president’s family. Those companies have no apparent business purpose other than to serve as a receptacle for hiding cash derived from suspected influence peddling schemes overseas.

The incriminating evidence comes from thousands of subpoenaed banking records, wire transfers, and electronic transactions contained in more than 170 suspicious activity reports (SARs) that were flagged by banks and sent to the criminal division at the Treasury Department. The Biden administration refused to cough up those records until the Committee recently forced its hand. There are still more documents to be examined, suggesting that the Biden profiteering could far exceed the millions of dollars already tracked.

In Washington, where corruption and graft are endemic, the Bidens appear to have taken it to dizzying heights. While greed was the likely motive, concealment was the key to success. In just one deal alone more than a million dollars involved 16 different wire transfers ran through five different bank accounts before the funds eventually landed in Biden family hands. This and other transactions were well hidden "in a web of deception and corruption," noted committee member Rep. Byron Daniels. Cycling through this many companies serves no other purpose but to disguise illicit, if not illegal, payments, he concluded.

It has always been a misconception that these shady deals never occurred while Joe Biden was in office. The committee discovered that a stunning number of wire transfers happened when Biden served as vice president. It is no coincidence that the money sources came from the very countries over which the VP exerted control over foreign policy decisions. What was being bought? More to the point, what were the Bidens' selling? Access, as well as promises of future influence that would benefit America’s adversaries?

A partial answer may reside in a specific document Comer is seeking from the FBI. A "credible" whistleblower informed the committee that the unclassified record depicts a "criminal scheme" involving then-Vice President Biden and a foreign national in "the exchange of money for policy decisions."

Biden’s repeated claims of innocence and his efforts at misdirection are belied by the known facts. He maintains that he knew nothing about his son’s nefarious activities. Yet, visitor logs prove that Hunter’s partners and clients visited his father at the White House more than 80 times when he was vice president.

Biden also insists that his family never took money from China. But the committee’s newly revealed records show that roughly $6 million was banked by the Bidens from just one of the copious deals with Beijing operatives who had close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and its intelligence apparatus. Citing the president’s soft China policies, Comer has drawn a nexus to Biden’s questionable handling of COVID, TikTok, the spy balloon, theft of intellectual property and China’s manipulation of U.S. currency. Perhaps this explains his utter indifference and no meaningful action to protect vital American interests.

The explosive new evidence seems to confirm what has long been suspected — Joe Biden and his family aggressively exploited his public office to confer benefits and favors on foreign entities or governments in exchange for money. If this was done to the detriment of our own interests as a nation — as it surely seems so — these schemes could well constitute a variety of crimes that include bribery, fraud and felony violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The use of multiple accounts to conceal cash activities would qualify as money laundering.

Despite his lucrative overseas enterprises, Hunter Biden deliberately ignored the legal requirement that he register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). His own emails show that he intended to evade compliance. As former federal prosecutor and Fox News contributor Andrew C. McCarthy explained, such a failure would make his transactions illegal under the law.

Beyond the crimes identified under federal statutes, the actions of Joe Biden may rise to the level of an impeachable offense. The U.S. Constitution specifically states that a president can be removed for treason and bribery. Both would apply if the accusations against him are true and supported by credible evidence.

This is exactly what our Founding Fathers feared the most. They worried that a future president might violate his sacred oath of office by secretly conspiring with malign foreign actors to betray our nation for self-enrichment.

The money trail uncovered so far is a damning indictment of corruption at the highest level of government — the current occupant of the White House.



lol! Only teet sucking, tennis queen, Michigan drug abuser, poker cheats pay attention to Fox News. jocolor

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Here's the link to the indictment:

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Day Of Reckoning: In Pursuit Of All The Ex-President’s Crimes - Page 4 OIP

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NYT Uncovers Another Trump Campaign ‘Fake Elector’ Memo

New Details

Brett Bachman
Night Editor
Updated Aug. 08, 2023 11:32PM EDT /
Published Aug. 08, 2023 11:26PM EDT
Donald Trump
Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

The New York Times published in full a previously unreported internal Trump campaign memo from December 2020 Tuesday night, which laid out the team’s efforts to organize alternate slates of false electors to overturn the election. The existence of the memo was first revealed as part of the four-count indictment against Donald Trump handed down last week, though its contents were not made public. Even in the memo, its author, Kenneth Chesebro, wrote that the plan would likely fail and be rejected by the Supreme Court—though he insisted that it would accomplish other goals, namely buying the campaign time “to win litigation that would deprive Biden of electoral votes and/or add to Trump’s column.” Neither Chesebro nor the Trump campaign responded when contacted by the Times.

Read it at The New York Times


And it appears that Fani Willis in Georgia will indict as early as next week.

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Jack Smith proposes Jan 2, 2024 date for Trump J6 trial!

Rob Zuber, author
by Rob Zuber
Community (This content is not subject to review by Daily Kos staff prior to publication.)
Thursday, August 10, 2023 at 1:03:30p CDT


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"Stable Genius" drawing by Siegfried Woldhek, 2019

"...utterly devoid of shame for his moral and spiritual bankruptcy."
"... you see your dark, twisted, resentful dreams in him. To renounce him is to renounce yourselves."
- Advocatus Peregrini

Day Of Reckoning: In Pursuit Of All The Ex-President’s Crimes - Page 4 366514232_10159032719821862_1851212595847956818_n.jpg?stp=dst-jpg_p526x296&_nc_cat=105&cb=99be929b-59f725be&ccb=1-7&_nc_sid=dd63ad&_nc_ohc=pG7DE5WbJf8AX8BmcRU&_nc_ht=scontent-atl3-2

Posted by Richie Vitale

“Talented and well-practiced in every vice, a stranger to compassion or empathy, a liar and a cheat so complete in perfidy that he has elevated his dishonesty to hold it up as an ersatz moral principle, violent, so long as he can order someone else to do the dirty work, grotesque in body, graceless in action, in possession of a wounded self-regard so colossal as to smother any spark of grace, treasonous, not only to country, but to every ally he has ever had, the poisoned fruit and rankest flower of racism and contempt for women, and utterly devoid of shame for his moral and spiritual bankruptcy.
That is your leader. That is to whom you give your money. That is who you follow and laud. That is whose banner you willingly carry. Why? Because he is a mirror, not a lighthouse. You see yourselves in him. He is what you would be, if you had inherited money and could shed the last vestiges of conscience and shame.
No, I do not “respect your choices,” nor do I admire your loyalty and dedication to this miserific, demoniac vision. You have demonstrated not only a lack of civic virtue, loyalty to the Republic and to the rule of law, but a willingness to engage in violence and sedition at his slightest expressed wish. And you will never, ever admit you were wrong.
Because you see your dark, twisted, resentful dreams in him. And to renounce him is to renounce yourselves.”
~ Advocatus Peregrini
Drawing – Stable Genius by Siegfried Woldhek, pen & ink, October 12, 2019.


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The 19 defendants, including Trump, charged in Georgia

By Marshall Cohen and Devan Cole, CNN
Updated 11:53 PM EDT, Mon August 14, 2023

John Dean reacts to Georgia election interference indictment

An Atlanta-based grand jury on Monday indicted former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants on state charges stemming from their efforts to overturn the former president’s 2020 electoral defeat in the Peach State.

Here are the 19 people charged in the Georgia case, according to the indictment.

Donald Trump, former US president
Rudy Giuliani, Trump lawyer
Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff
John Eastman, Trump lawyer
Kenneth Chesebro, pro-Trump lawyer
Jeffrey Clark, top Justice Department official
Jenna Ellis, Trump campaign lawyer
Robert Cheeley, lawyer who promoted fraud claims
Mike Roman, Trump campaign official
David Shafer, Georgia GOP chair and fake elector
Shawn Still, fake GOP elector
Stephen Lee, pastor tied to intimidation of election workers
Harrison Floyd, leader of Black Voices for Trump
Trevian Kutti, publicist tied to intimidation of election workers
Sidney Powell, Trump campaign lawyer
Cathy Latham, fake GOP elector tied to Coffee County breach
Scott Hall, tied to Coffee County election system breach
Misty Hampton, Coffee County elections supervisor
Ray Smith, Trump campaign attorney
Read more here.


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