John Durham Won’t Charge Any of Trump’s Favorite Villains

On Friday, WSJ had an article that might have been titled, “John Durham won’t charge any of Donald Trump’s favorite villains.” It reported that Durham is still considering charges against people outside of government and “lower-level FBI employees.”

Mr. Durham has been examining potential criminal charges against several lower-level Federal Bureau of Investigation employees, and people who aren’t in government, according to people familiar with the matter.

But it doesn’t note that, even if Durham does charge those involved in the dossier, it will still mean that many of Trump’s claims about the Russian investigation were investigated for longer than Mueller took, only to fall short of the crimes Trump claimed had happened.

Jim Comey was the FBI Director, not a low-level employee. In spite of Durham’s effort to prove that Comey leaked details of Trump’s efforts to protect Mike Flynn to get a Special Counsel appointed, if Durham is contemplating charges only against “lower-level” FBI employees, he has not found proof that Comey broke the law.

Andrew McCabe was the FBI Deputy Director, not a low-level employee. In spite of Durham’s apparent effort to insinuate that McCabe micromanaged the Russian investigation, pushing investigative steps FBI Agents didn’t support, if Durham is contemplating charges only against “lower-level” FBI employees, he has not found proof that McCabe broke the law.

Bill Priestap was the Assistant Director for Counterintelligence, not a low-level employee. In spite of Durham’s effort to interpret Priestap’s notes as proof that the FBI set up Mike Flynn, if Durham is contemplating charges only against “lower-level” FBI employees, he has not found proof that Priestap broke the law.

Peter Strzok was the Deputy Assistant Director when he opened Crossfire Hurricane, not a low-level employee. In spite of Durham’s extended efforts to suggest that Strzok sustained an investigation into Donald Trump out of some kind of animus or perhaps compensation for his role in Hillary Clinton’s defeat, in spite of Durham’s seeming efforts to suggest that Strzok pushed others to obtain legal process he refused to approve earlier in the investigation, if Durham is contemplating charges only against “lower-level” FBI employees, he has not found proof that Strzok broke the law.

Lisa Page was the Counselor to the Deputy Director, not a low-level employee. In spite of Durham’s efforts to suggest Page had some role in the investigation that DOJ IG already said she didn’t, if Durham is contemplating charges only against “lower-level” FBI employees, he has not found proof that Lisa Page broke the law.

Durham has interviewed few if any of these senior people, who’ve been targeted for years. Without even hearing their side, apparently, Durham has decided they’re not the villains Trump made them out to be.

But Trump’s chief villains aren’t the only targets that — if this report is correct — will not be charged.

The WSJ notes that Durham won’t charge anyone for concluding that Russia not only wanted to defeat Hillary, but affirmatively wanted Trump in power.

Beyond the role of outside tipsters, Mr. Durham’s investigation examined how the FBI first came to open the investigation, as well as a separate 2017 U.S. intelligence report that concluded Moscow interfered in the presidential election in part to help then-candidate Trump.

Mr. Durham’s team isn’t expected to bring any criminal charges in connection with that intelligence assessment, some of the people said.

So John Brennan won’t be getting charged either, in spite of calls for that to happen.

Then there are all the other hoaxes Republicans invented: Durham will not charge anyone for spying on Trump before the opening of the investigation, because it didn’t happen. Durham will not charge the FBI or CIA for setting Joseph Mifsud up to entrap George Papadopoulos, because it didn’t happen.

In spite of the seeming confirmation that four years of insinuations about these people were wrong, the right wing has responded to the seeming news that Peter Strzok won’t be charged with delight.

High Gaslighter Catherine Herridge posted the same partially unsealed footnote (footnote 350 discussed in this post) twice as well as a passage about what the FBI had learned by September 2017, three months after the last FISA order targeting Carter Page.

Jonathan Turley (who ignores the WSJ description that any FBI targets are low-level) claims that Durham’s current focus could “implicate some of the most powerful figures in politics” in his final report, while getting a slew of details (about Bruce and Nellie Ohr, especially) wrong.

The report in The Wall Street Journal said Durham is presenting evidence against FBI agents and possibly others in the use of false information or tips at the start of the Russia investigation in 2016. Those “others” could include a virtual who’s who of Washington politics, and even if they are not indicted, Durham could implicate some of the most powerful figures in politics in his final report, expected in the coming months.


This cross-pollination between the campaign and the Justice Department was evident in the strange role of Bruce Ohr, a senior Justice official who was later demoted for concealing his meetings with people pushing the Steele dossier; his wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS as a researcher on Trump’s purported connections to Russia. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz subsequently found that Bruce Ohr acted improperly and committed “consequential errors in judgment.”


Durham also is reportedly looking into information concerning Alfa Bank, a privately owned commercial bank in Russia. That information led to possible access to the Trump campaign server. The Alfa Bank controversy is likely to make a number of powerful people particularly uneasy. Clinton campaign-linked figures such as Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson allegedly pushed the debunked claim that the Trump campaign had a server linked directly to the bank, which in turn was linked to Vladimir Putin and his cronies. The Alfa Bank conspiracy reportedly was pitched to the Justice Department, including in contacts with Bruce Ohr.

Glenn Greenwald, after spending years mocking the prosecutions of Trump’s Campaign and Deputy Campaign Manager, his personal lawyer, his National Security Advisor, a foreign policy advisor, and his rat-fucker — four for covering up what happened in 2016 — and after pushing the Hunter Biden laptop allegedly funneled to a different Trump personal lawyer who is currently being investigated for influence peddling with Russian assets — speaks gleefully of “already one guilty plea: seems like more criminal charges are coming.”

The pseudonymous TechnoFog[gy] highlights the claims of a Russian, Olga Galkina, who — if the dossier was indeed filled with disinformation (and I believe it was) — was the source for much of it, while complaining, in the same breath as they magnify Galkina’s claims, that Igor Danchenko might not be aware that those like Galkina who fed him garbage were doing so for Russian intelligence.

More and more, Durham appears to be chasing what an elaborate lawfare effort from the Alfa Bank oligarchs are throwing out. The effort, like the dossier itself, is transparently problematic, particularly given that FBI debunked it early. The dossier had little to do with the investigation of anyone but Carter Page; the Alfa Bank allegations were entirely a distraction from the investigation. If Durham wants to stake his report on that, it has the potential of making it an easily discredited piece of Russian propaganda.

A focus on the disinformation in the dossier and the way that some ways the Alfa Bank claim was packaged up has a real potential to backfire for Durham, because it can only shine a light on how Russia obfuscated its efforts to get Trump elected in 2016 with disinformation about efforts to get Trump elected.

54 replies
  1. Maureen A Donnelly says:

    Do we have any idea how much Durham’s work has cost us? When will this wrap up? How much damage did he pile on to the chaos Trump brought to the justice department?

    • Rugger9 says:

      I don’t know why my comments keep getting sent to moderator jail, I’m not advocating anything out of line.

      In short, wait until the Durham investigation wraps with a final report or with actual charges before engaging in wishful thinking. Even though Durham has about as much real evidence as Mike Lindell, this has all of the stench of the Benghazi-style investigation concocted to keep “asking questions” through the next two elections.

      It would be good to know however if Durham does have a “put up or shut up” date certain, but IIRC he does not as his appointment is set up now.

      • bmaz says:

        Rugger, I freed up one, which is the only one I could find, but don’t think you are in any protocol that does that automatically.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Thanks, I had already posted the meat in separate items without the links, and that seemed to sail through so maybe that is what I need to manage.

    • John Lehman says:

      Have no idea what that “investigation” cost us but it’s minuscule compared to what we’ve spent on Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
      What did that “Commie Republican” Eisenhower warn us about again? …military industrial complex?

      “Where have all the flowers gone….when will they ever learn..when will they ever learn?”

      Trillions compared with millions.

      • JamesJoyce says:

        I was having this exact discussion with elders this morning.

        Ike’s warning in 1961…

        People who actually lived it.

        A month away from 911’s 20th and I feel even sicker than I did with fall of Saigon; all the money and live’s.


        This money spent on political conflict and real wars is and has been leveraged against Americans
        via systemic debtor servitude which is not unfamiliar, in American 🇺🇸.

        Meanwhile the war corporations get richer like the Slavocracy, while paying no taxes.

        A take take take, taker Donald?


        Nature will call its marker.
        She always does.

        Going Clovis, can be mitigated with some planning.

        Scorched Earth 🌎 with all this water and Sun 🌞?

        Simply Dumb..

        • John Lehman says:

          Very, very simple equation:

          Military industrial complex = avarice

          -Gun runners with industrial bona fides

          “I like Ike” even though he was Republican….but so was Lincoln.

    • Peterr says:

      Back in May, the DOJ posted the costs of his office and those of related DOJ offices supporting his work for the Bill Barr-appointed work around the 2016 campaign. The total at that point was $1.5 million.

      Note that this only includes the work done after October 19, 2020 when Barr bumped Durham up from an investigator charged with looking into the handling of Russia-related campaign intelligence (the job he was given in April 2019) to a full blown “special counsel.” To my knowledge, the expenses before he was named a special counsel have never been broken out and made public.

  2. Silly but True says:

    At some point, the U.S. must fully understand Russia’s attack. We now know the unfortunate limitations of administrative investigations and associated timelines of their solutions such as OIG — OIG by design can’t even get to people outside of current agency, and in some cases DOJ OIG recommendations have been outstanding for nearly 20 years still not complete.

    Regardless of indictments or wrongdoing, or negligence, or bad-faith, or ignorance, or incompetence, willful or not by any US actor in considering information they received — it still is important to understand as fully as possible Russia’s attack, and how Russian disinformation was inserted into becoming any basis driving activities of Americans.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Putin never does anything without a purpose so your question is apt. I would be also very interested to see how entangled the GQP was and how in thrall the GQP currently is to Putin’s whims. In this thinking DJT was the useful idiot, but considering all of the dark money I would not be surprised at all if the Russians were propping up Rupert, for example.

      We’d also need the final answers regarding Page, Flynn, Manafort, Georgie P, Prince, Junior, etc. who keep popping up in these posts about the investigations.

      • Silly but True says:

        The most long-term destruction can be wreaked by and about the littlest is known about Prince.

        The others appear to be relatively simple pay-for-play mercenaries.

        But Prince is not just a simple pay-for-play mercenary but also a dreamer — his goal is to convince US that our military can be outsourced as a private army, and of course Prince’s company should be the one to get the contract.

        His dream took root in both Republican & Democrat administrations. Secretary Clinton’s State Dept. was one of Prince’s largest clients.

        But Prince’s dream is cancerous to a democratic society who needs to be invested in the fundamental act of engaging in war. Some things simply cannot be outsourced to private contractors, getting one’s hands bloody on behalf of the nation needs to be one of those.

        • FL Resister says:

          My hope and dream is that some clever screenwriter is taking note of everything that just happened and is busy putting the finishing touches on first of a trilogy. Even better, he/she is collaborating with the ‘Only I Can Do It’ authors, among others.
          The sooner this picture gets out the better.

    • JamesJoyce says:

      Putin, has hammered US.

      Trump helped him…

      Putin knows America’s political parties and players better than Americans.

      He understands our dependency.


      Like Russians and Vodka?

      Trump’s “Trumpism” being fascist divided America.

      Nazi’s divided Germany…

      Big lies..

      Slaveowner’s divided America over
      Cotton and Energy….

      Cars and gasoline?

      Sound familiar?

    • Robb Rogers says:

      It seems Putin’s intervention into the election was wildly successful, if his purpose was to sow division, discord, and distrust. Perhaps he knew better than most of us, Trump would bring a major tilt toward fascism.

      Rather than just learn how US citizens, banks, financiers, and government folk participated, it seems we need to begin figuring out how to recapture some semblance of our democracy.

  3. Rugger9 says:

    I’d wait to see until Durham actually charges or files his final report before making conclusions, because Barr’s DOJ was notorious for rhetorical head fakes concocted to hide the true purpose. It would be useful to know how much time Durham has to put up or shut up because otherwise I see a Benghazi-type “investigation” designed to take unsubstantiated potshots at the Biden administration through the next elections.

    OT: I for one am not surprised to see how quickly the Afghan government sold out to the Taliban (read these articles below) and am surprised about the generational forgetting by the DoD of some of the basic lessons of Vietnam: it does no good to prop up a fundamentally corrupt government and to keep on track with a clear plan going in. When this was hatched, the Vietnam vets were long gone from the DoD, leaving behind the 1991 Gulf War vets and the ambitious officers anxious to prove they’re more gung-ho than the others. The only real task in 2001 was to get Bin Laden (who Bush let get away because Cheney needed a boogeyman for the rubes) so Obama took care of that ten years ago. When Iraq was invaded in 2003, it was already clear to anyone paying attention that this was a “blood for oil” exercise without any real end or benefit to America. – this one reminds us that DJT released the Taliban president from prison in 2020, as well as all of the now noisy RWNM hypocrites blaming Biden for the collapse they screamed for. – this one reminds us of the true victims of the Kagans and other warmongers (of other people’s kids) and incidentally would also foreshadow what the GQP wants: an America of poor helpless bodies to send to war for their own jollies.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Rugger9, thank you for these links. For all that I’ve heard stories like it before, that one about Cody Wentz (LawyersGunsAndMoney) still broke my heart.

      I would like to add, however, that although we don’t often remind ourselves of them, the most vulnerable and helpless victims of this self-propagating war have always been civilians with the misfortune of living in our chosen battleground: Iraqis, Afghans, Cambodians . . . almost always those with darker skin whom we can otherize tacitly, thus rendering their lives and deaths meaningless.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Indeed, and let’s also remember the interpreters, the women who were out there (like the reporters) and others who believed we would not leave them behind. DJT releasing 5000 prisoners effective December created this situation (against all advice from the Afghan government and the DoD, btw). DJT though it would make his campaign look good, like ditching the Kurds in Iraq, cutting and running in Syria (tbf, we shouldn’t have been there but DJT thought he’d look like a war hero when he went in) and other “wtf?” military proclamations made at his whim.

  4. Rugger9 says:

    OT about Afghanistan: I commend Barkbarkwoofwoof (the Sunday column from Charlie Pierce), Digby on the selective memories by the RWNM and why the army collapsed, and LGM on casualties of war. It could be that my links lead to moderator jail.

    As far as why the Afghan government sold out (literally) to the Taliban, it’s what corrupt governments do (and would be a foreshadowing of how DJT would have sold us to Putin IMHO) when it was clear they were not taking care of their people. This was a key lesson of Vietnam: it does no good to prop up a corrupt government hated by its citizens. Other forgotten lessons covered the lack of clear missions beyond getting OBL (who GW Bush let get away because Cheney needed a boogeyman) which was addressed by Obama ten years ago (or so). Anything else required a clear plan and complete logistical support (both of which Bush did not do, remember the “hillbilly armor”). Colin Powell understood this, but was already sidelined

    That the majority of the officers would not remember this is not really surprising, since by the time 2003 rolled around the painful lessons of Vietnam (plus Beirut where Reagan cut and ran and the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan) were masked by the easy successes of Grenada and the 1991 Gulf War which did follow those precepts. Most of the Vietnam vets were nearing retirement if not already replaced in the DoD by those anxious to make their mark.

    • Rugger9 says:

      It will also be interesting to see how our allies (principally the British) will address the pullout. BoJo was already getting some heat in PMQs about why they were still there in Helmand Province (IIRC) which has cost them significant numbers of troops. The logistics they’ll probably get right since they generally do very good planning, but I’m not sure the populace will be happy about the sheer waste of time, treasure and lives.

    • Rugger9 says:

      As far as Russia goes, I am quite sure it felt really good to Putin to stick it to us (I’ll speculate he funded the Taliban one way or another) after what we did to his Soviets with the mujaheddin. While the Russians have wanted a warm water port for a very long time (look up “the Great Game”) there are a couple more countries in the way (IIRC Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) which will make it a bit harder.

      As Biden is quite correct to point out, we cannot help a nation unwilling to help itself. As a side observation, the word “nation” is something of a misnomer when applied to Afghanistan. I see the Taliban pissing off one of the other tribes (like the Baluchis), the Iranians (who are hardline Shia), the Pakistanis (because of the prior footsie with India), etc. so while they rule now I don’t think they will have any more success over time.

      Juan Cole over at Informed Comment is worth reading on this, he’s posted several articles about the sellout by the ANA.

  5. Rugger9 says:

    Another OT, it seems that the LAPD yesterday let the PBs run a rally in front of their HQ, stab one man and rough up some reporters to boot without the LAPD doing a single thing. The LAPD first blamed the violence on “ANTIFA” which the NAACP captured on a screen grab but then “edited” their tweet to remove ANTIFA but still not mentioning that the PBs started things. We’ll hear more about this over the next week.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Apparently some of the PBs in LA were also at the Capitol on January 6th and under release conditions. I wonder if that means they’ll go back to jail (they should)? That would depend on the terms, so let’s see if some of these recidivists get what’s coming to them.

    • Alan Charbonneau says:

      Yeah, it was sickening to see. My brother was LA County Sheriff deputy & my brother-in-law worked as a reserve officer with the LAPD. I see the PBs kicking someone who was down, attacking a woman reporter, and other despicable acts and the cops sat back and did nothing. Then they blamed it on Antifa.

      I hope this spurs another DOJ consent decree. The last one was lifted in 2013.

    • subtropolis says:

      Yeah, the cops stood around awhile, then moved in to force back the very people who were being beaten, utterly ignoring the sacks of shit who’d perpetrated the violence as they slinked away. I’m not one to paint all cops as assholes but that was a disgusting scene.

      • Rugger9 says:

        It’s stuff like this that gives “defund the police” traction, because why pay for a service that isn’t provided?

        • P J Evans says:

          LAPD in my area doesn’t seem to do anything except drive around – they’ll respond to traffic accidents, mostly for traffic control. Word is that you don’t call them for anything less than life-or-death matters, because they’re unlikely to show up, and if they do it will be in an hour or so.

  6. harpie says:

    Russia seems fine with US leaving Afghanistan:
    7:32 PM · Aug 15, 2021

    “We received these (Taliban) guarantees awhile ago: Russia says no plan to evacuate Kabul embassy – The Moscow Times
    10:51 AM · Aug 16, 2021

    Putin’s envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov: “We have long built ties and contact with the Taliban movement. The fact that we laid the groundwork for a conversation with Afghanistan’s new authorities in advance is a Russian foreign policy achievement…” [LINK]

  7. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    “on how Russia obfuscated its efforts to get Trump elected in 2016 with disinformation about efforts to get Trump elected.”

    Now THAT is one beautiful bit of writing…

    It reminds me of Richard Dawson as General Custer in Arthur Penn’s great revisionist western, Little Big Man…

    “Still trying to outsmart me, aren’t you, mule skinner? You want me to think that you don’t want me to go down there, but the subtle truth is, you really don’t want me to go down there.”

    A couple of thoughts about the Afghan situation…

    Seeing just how quickly the ‘official’ Afghan government, including the army, closed up shop and left town, it seems like it never had that much real support in the first place.

    And second, who’s financing the Taliban?

    Guns… ammo… vehicles… fuel… could they make enough money selling opium on the side to finance all that, or are other parties paying behind the scenes?

    • P J Evans says:

      Apparently the money and supplies intended for the Afghani soldiers were not getting to them because massive corruption at the upper levels; the Taliban were offering both.

      • TooLoose LeTruck says:


        An inside job…

        In effect we spend two decades setting up a puppet government, pour billions into arming it, and then insiders turn around and run those very same weapons and supplies right out the back door to be used against us?

        Damn… talk about American exceptionalism…

        • John Paul Jones says:

          Look at it from the grunt’s POV. A force which is armed at least as well as you and your squad is approaching. They have said they will not deal well with “collaborators.” Do you fight them, knowing they have already taken several towns and beefed up their forces with the local militias, knowing that they have a lot of support, and knowing that they are backed by the local warlord, or on the other hand, do you take off your uniform and wait to greet these soldiers, who are, after all, your countrymen, and who will be around for a long time, whereas the government which trained and equipped you is either going or already gone? To me, that would seem to be a no-brainer. In order for the troops to fight, their officers and staff have to give the impression that they too will fight, otherwise, what’s the point?

          • P J Evans says:

            The government which hasn’t paid you and isn’t feeding you, or the people who are promising you food and money?

    • gmoke says:

      Richard Dawson was the Brit comedian/actor in “Hogan’s Heroes” and “Family Feud.” Richard Mulligan played Custer in “Little Big Man,” right muleskinner?

      • John Paul Jones says:

        A fascinating movie, which I could have wished longer. And based on a great book, by Thomas Berger, with one of those memorable opening lines (if memory indeed serves):

        “I was born white and I never forgot it, but from the age of ten I was raised by the Cheyenne Indians.”

        Or something like that.

        • Kevin Bullough says:

          I got to spend an afternoon with Chief Dan George just after the movie came out. He was eloquent and charming and gave this Boy Scout a life-long appreciation for our First Nations citizens. A very soft-spoken man with a cuttingly dry sense of humour.

      • TooLoose LeTruck says:


        Commenting too fast on my part…

        Right actor, wrong name…

        I sit corrected, sir!

  8. TooLoose LeTruck says:


    Listening to Biden talk…

    Not sure I’ve ever heard a more honest speech in my entire life…

    • P J Evans says:

      And the RWNJs want to either impeach him or use the 25th, because they think the former guy was somehow doing everything better.

      • TooLoose LeTruck says:

        Well, that, and they simply hate the rest of us to a degree that’s hard to understand…

        I was under the impression Biden was tearing up at times…

        I hate to sound crude, but I’d bet more than one elected Republican came in his pants today looking at this mess…

        One of the great human tragedies of our time is unfolding, and undoubtedly there are some who can only think about how they can use this to their advantage…

        At the very least, it provides them with a distraction from Jan 6…

  9. FL Resister says:

    I am very much looking forward to the day when the world is set back on its axis and things begin to work generally for the greater good. Unfortunately, that time is nowhere in the near future.
    We have huge issues to deal with, and by all indications the Democrats are identifying them and diligently coming up with educated solutions to address the problems that profoundly affect the real lives of millions of people, as is our practice, past-present-future.
    However, we still have guys like Durham poking around in the details of our efforts, looking for anything they can find to discredit reputable people and processes in order to justify their pathetic and myopic existence.

  10. surfer2099 says:

    The most telling thing about the Greenwald tweet is the fact he only got 65 retweets. People should not be listening to him RE Russia. Greenwald has painted himself into a corner and will not come out of it for fear of his detractors and critics and his God complex.

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