Special Counsel John Durham‘s bombshell court filing this week is going to make it hard to paint the FBI as a dupe tricked into investigating former President Donald J. Trump for all that election collusion with Russia we now know never happened.
Durham says shadowy Russian operative Igor Danchenko — the key source for the anti-Trump Steele dossier — was on the FBI payroll from 2017-2020. The bureau should have known by 2017, and certainly knew by 2020, that the dossier, which it used to get a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page, was full of ludicrous lies. And the bureau also knew, or should have known, that in had investigated Danchenko just a few years earlier for trying to buy classified information for Mother Russia.
If you catch a suspected spy lying to you, but keep using his information to pursue, oh, say a presidential candidate, it gets hard to blame sheer incompetence or stupidity.
That might have worked in Durham’s last case in his ongoing investigation into the origins of the FBI’s probe of Trump. In that one, high-powered Democrat lawyer Michael Sussmann was accused of lying to the bureau by denying he was working for Hillary Clinton when he met with a top FBI official to present another phony claim, that Trump communicated with Moscow through the Russian lender Alfa Bank.
A Washington, D.C., jury acquitted Sussmann, despite a damning text he sent to the official the night before, saying, “I’m coming on my own — not on behalf of a client or company — want to help the Bureau.”
Some critics were cynical enough to wonder if Durham was going out of his way to protect the bureau by painting it as gullible, but not corrupt. After all, his only FBI scalp to date is that of Kevin Clinesmith, a bureau lawyer who lied while preparing a FISA warrant application to spy on Page by saying he had not worked for the CIA when in fact he had. Clinsemith got a year’s probation and is back to practicing law again.
Danchenko is facing trial in federal court in Virginia, also on charges he lied to the FBI. Maybe Sussmann and Danchenko both lied to the bureau, but when Danchenko did, it sure seems like the G-Men knew it.
Instead of getting mad, the FBI gave the Russian a job and kept him around all through the Mueller probe and right up until the 2020 election. Maybe that’s just another reason why polls show trust in the FBI is plummeting. Durham might not smell a rat in the J. Edgar Hoover Building, but Americans do.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.