Kash Patel Knew, and Did Nothing, about the Latest Durham-Related Frenzy

As predicted, the latest Durham filing has jacked up the frothy right. It even led the Former President to claim these actions should be “punishable by death.”

But the oddest statement came from “Former Chief Investigator for Russia Gate [sic]” and current key witness to an attempted coup, Kash Patel, sent out by the fake Think Tank that hosts some of the former Trumpsters most instrumental in covering up for Trump corruption.

Taken literally (which one should not do because it is riddled with false claims), the statement is a confession by Kash that he knew of what others are calling “spying” on Trump and did nothing to protect the President.

Let’s start, though, by cataloguing the false claims made by a man who played a key role in US national security for the entirety of the Trump Administration.

First, he claims that the Hillary Campaign, “ordered … lawyers at Perkins Coie to orchestrate a criminal enterprise to fabricate a connection between President Trump and Russia.” Thus far, Durham has made no claims about any orders coming from the Hillary Campaign (and the claim that there were such orders conflicts with testimony that Kash himself elicited as a Congressional staffer). The filing in question even suggests Perkins Coie may be upset about what Sussmann is alleged to have done.

Latham – through its prior representation of Law Firm-1 – likely possesses confidential knowledge about Law Firm-1’s role in, and views concerning, the defendant’s past activities.

In fact, in one of the first of a series of embarrassing confessions in this prosecution, Durham had to admit that Sussmann wasn’t coordinating directly with the Campaign, as alleged in the indictment.

Kash then claims that “Durham states that Sussmann and Marc Elias (Perkins Coie) … hired .. Rodney Joffe … to establish an ‘inference and narrative’ tying President Trump to Russia.” That’s false. The indictment says the opposite: Joffe was paying Perkins Coie, not the other way around. Indeed, Durham emphasized that Joffe’s company was paying Perkins Coie a lot of money.  And in fact, Durham shows that the information-sharing also went the other way. Joffe put it together and brought it to Perkins Coie. Joffe paid Perkins Coie and Joffe brought this information to them.

Kash then claims that “Durham writes that he has evidence showing Joffe and his company were able to infiltrate White House servers.” Kash accuses the Hillary Campaign of “mastermind[ing] the most intricate and coordinated conspiracy against Trump when he was both a candidate and later President.” This betrays either real deceit, or ignorance about the most basic building blocks of the Internet, because nowhere does Durham claim that Joffe “infiltrated” any servers. Durham, who himself made some embarrassing technical errors in his filing, emphasizes that this is about DNS traffic. And while he does reveal that Joffe “maintain[ed] servers for the EOP,” that’s not infiltrating. These claims amount to a former AUSA (albeit one famously berated by a judge for his “ineptitude” and “spying”) accusing a conspiracy where none has been charged, at least not yet. Plus, if Joffe did what Kash claims starting in July 2016, as Kash claims, then Barack Obama would be the one with a complaint, not Trump.

Finally, Kash outright claims as fact that Joffe “exploited proprietary data, to hack Trump Tower and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.” This claim is not substantiated by anything Durham has said and smacks of the same kind of conspiracy theorizing Louise Mensch once engaged in. Only, in this case, Kash is accusing someone who has not been charged with any crime — indeed, a five year statute of limitation on this stuff would have expired this week — of committing a crime. Again: a former AUSA, however inept, should know the legal risk of doing that.

Curiously, Kash specifies that the White House addresses involved were in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. That could well be true, but Durham only claims they were associated with EOP, and as someone who worked there, Kash should know that one is a physical structure and the other is a bureaucratic designation. But to the extent Kash (who has flubbed basic Internet details already) believes this amounted to hacking the EOP, it is based off non-public data.

So, like I said, the piece is riddled with false claims, but with two claims that go beyond anything Durham has said.

The statement is all the stranger given that Kash Patel knew about these allegations four years ago, at a time when he was one of the most powerful Congressional staffers on matters pertaining to intelligence.

And he did nothing about them.

Well. He did do something.

He started this line of inquiry — brought it up entirely out of the blue — in an interview of Michael Sussmann largely focused on Sussmann’s response to a hostile attack by Russia.

About a quarter of the way into an interview on December 18, 2017, after Sussmann debunked the frothy right’s conspiracy theory about the DNC being unwilling to share information with the FBI (which was a central focus of the interview), a staffer veered away from that line of questioning and asked about other meetings. Sussmann answered the questions that someone interested in cybersecurity would have wanted to know: how does the government share information with a high-profile victim of a nation-state attack?

Q Thats helpful. Thank you Going over to – moving on from CrowdStrike and the FBI, did you ever have any interactions with any other government agencies in relation to the DNC hack, Russian involvement in the 2016 elections, or anything like that, or any members of any government agencies?

A So.yes. For the intrusion, I believe our contacts initially and for a while were only with the FBI. And there came a time when we got involved with the Department of Homeland Security, and had a variety of ongoing meetings with them for various purposes. We reached out to State officials, to the State — Association of Chief Information Officers from the States.

But that’s not what this staffer was interested in. This staffer was thinking big.

Q Did you meet with anybody else, any members of the Intelligence Community, either officially or unofficially, to discuss these matters?

MS. RUEMMLER: With respect to the DNC?

Q The DNC, the 2016 Russia election, all things that fit under that sort of general big title.

Sussmann, perhaps sensing this staffer was about to deliver a gotcha, noted that he didn’t always know who was in a room.

A So let me provide one general exception. I had meetings and calls with the FBI when there were a lot of people in the room, and I don’t necessarily know —

Q Yeah, I don’t mean that.

A — who was there.

That’s not what this staffer was after either. The staffer wanted to know about a meeting Sussmann had with the CIA.

Q I don’t mean the FBI. I don’t mean those big conference calls or anything like that. I mean, did you have any engagements with any members of the Intelligence Community, not the FBI, one-on-one, or in small groups, or telephone calls, or communications with folks, say, such as the Central Intelligence Agency?

Sussmann responded as to the subject of the interview, the DNC hack: no, all the meetings were with FBI or DHS. That’s when the staffer in question revealed he wanted to know about other topics.

A I think as regards to the I think all of the hacking ~ I think all of the hacking stuff was limited to the FBI and DHS.

Q Okay. So you never had any communications with members of the CIA [redacted] discussing the ~ not only the hack, but also the possible Russian intrusion and Russian involvement in the 2016 election?

That’s when Kathryn Ruemmler, representing Sussmann, referred to the staffer in question by name: Kash. This line of questioning was done by Kash Patel (which isn’t surprising, seeing as how at the time he was the “Chief Investigator for Russia Gate [sic].”

MS. RUEMMLER: Kash, just to clarify, you’re talking about the 2016 timeframe here? [my emphasis]

The staffer now identified as Kash continued, making it clear he already knew the answer to the question he was asking. He already knew about this meeting.

Q Well, that’s when that incident occurred. I’m asking if you ever have from that time until today?

A So I have — I have various contacts with members of law enforcement and the Intelligence Community on behalf of a number of different clients. So I’m not sure how to —

Q Sure. I’ll narrow it down for you. Fair enough. As it relates to what you and I have been talking about here today

A Right

Q –that is, the DNC hack, the Russian involvement in the 2016 election, and any information that was derived therefrom, did you meet or discuss with any members of the Intelligence Community outside of the FBI to provide information, talk to them about these matters? Did they reach out to you? Did anything like that ever happen in 2016 or 2017

With her client having been asked about a topic that wasn’t among the topics he had prepared to discuss or among the clients whose privileged matters he had gotten prior authorization to discuss and apparently worried about ethical issues, Ruemmler asked if she and Sussmann need to take a minute to confer.

MS. RUEMMLER: Do you want to confer for a second?

MR. SUSSMANN: I just want to talk about the range of – I have a lot of different clients, and since we’ve just spoken —

MS. RUEMMLER: As long as you don’t reveal identity of them, which You’re not permitted to do under the rules, or any content.

MR. SUSSMANN: Can we step outside and talk about how to deal with the range of clients?


[Discussion off the record.]

MR. SUSSMANN: Thank you.

At this point, if Sussmann were really hiding this stuff (as John Durham claims), he could have refused to answer the question, citing that privilege and the off-topic question. But Sussmann didn’t do that. He consulted with Ruemmler (something that Durham is now making a stink about), then came back in the room, noted that Kash had asked an off-topic question, but nevertheless answered honestly.

[The reporter read the record as requested.]

MR. SUSSMANN: So I’m not clear as to the scope of what you’re asking your question, but I’m going to be sort of more expansive in my answer, because there’s nothing — you said in relation to the things that we discussed today, and this is not something we’ve discussed today.

But I did have — I don’t believe I had — s0 two things. I don’t believe I had — I didn’t have direct contact with [NSA] butI can relate to you some indirect contacts with [NSA]. And I had a meeting [at CIA] as well.

That’s what Kash was looking for.


Sussmann explained, noting that this was classified.

A The [NSA] contact related to specifically my representation of the DNC, and my contact [with CIA] did not relate to my specific representation of the DNC, or the Clinton campaign, or the Democratic Party. And I also — I’m not — I will do the best that I can with you. I think there are limits to what I can discuss in an unclassified setting.

Kash asked about the CIA meeting.

Q Okay, fair enough. What was your contact [with CIA] about?

A So the contact [with CIA] was about reporting to them information that was reported to me about possible contacts, covert or at least nonpublic, between Russian entities and various entities in the Untied States associated with the — or potentially associated with the Trump Organization.

Q And when did that contact [with CIA] occur, month and year?

A February 2017.

Q Where did you get that information from to relay to [CIA]?

A From a client of mine.

Q Why did you go [to CIA]

After Ruemmler interrupted again to remind Sussmann not to violate privilege, he explained that he reached out on this front because he knew of Obama’s effort to get a review of potential Russian involvement in the election.

Q You did say, right, that you had — you’d received information from a client — I’m not asking who — that may be germane to the 2016 election and associates of the Trump campaign or people affiliated with the Trump campaign.

So my follow-up question was, why did you go to [CIA] with this information?

A Oh, I’m sorry. And I apologize. I remember what I was going to say. It was — it was, in large part, in response to President Obama’s post-election IC review of potential Russian involvement in the election. And in that regard, I had made outreach prior to the change in administration in 2016. And for reasons known and unknown to me, it took a long time to — or it took — you know, it took a while to have a meeting, and so it ended up being after the change in administration.

The line of questioning continued later with someone else, because Kash had to leave. In those questions, Sussmann factually answered the information came from a client he had represented before the DNC, and admitted he had the information prior to the election. He explained his motive for sharing the information with James Baker (which led the FBI to be able to intervene and prevent the NYT from publishing, something Durham didn’t bother to investigate before indicting Sussmann) and CIA. He admitted that Perkins Coie still represented the DNC when he met with the CIA, though he wasn’t doing work for them anymore. And, in a passage that will be a focal point of the trial, he described how he and Joffe decided together to share this information.

Q Okay. I want to ask you, so you mentioned that your client directed you to have these engagements with the FBI and [CIA] and to disseminate the information that client provided you. Is that correct?

A Well I apologize for the double negative. It isn’t not correct, but when you say my client directed me, we had a conversation, as lawyers do with their clients, about client needs and objectives and the best course to take for a client.

And so it may have been a decision that we came t0 together. I mean, I don’t want to imply that I was sort of directed to do something against my better judgment, or that we were in any sort of conflict, but this was — I think its most accurate to say it was done on behalf of my client.

In other words, Kash and his colleagues have known the outlines of this for over four years.

At the time, and in his next job at NSC, Kash would have had ready access to the CIA for more details about the meeting — indeed, he came into this interview knowing about it already.

At the time, and in his next job at NSC, and in his next job as DOD Chief of Staff, Kash would have had knowledge of Rodney Joffe’s contracts with FBI and NSA.

At the time, and in his next job at NSC, and in his next job as DOD Chief of Staff, Kash would have had access to the DARPA contract, which got extended afterwards.

In his comment, the Former President said that “those who knew about this” should be subject to criminal prosecution. And Kash Patel was, at all moments between December 2017 and January 2021, not only aware of the outlines and the players, but he did nothing.

Whatever else this kerfuffle has done, it has made Kash’s exposure as a witness in this case quite dicey. Because not only is Kash a witness that Sussmann was not hiding what he did, but he is someone who for years was in a position to do something about it, and he did nothing.

42 replies
  1. Tim says:

    Incredibly interesting as always. And the timing of Durham and Kash seems to coordinate with both a Russian invasion & the trump potty revelations. These guys are well coordinated if nothing else.

  2. JohnForde says:

    Kash “did nothing” to protect the US Govt. He did act to advance MAGA interests by continuing to probe, exploit and confabulate against real patriots.

  3. Badger Robert says:

    Mr. Patel’s testimony would be about some vague questions, and ambiguous multiple questions. And he is subject to serious impeachment of his credibility on several fronts.
    Speaking about the alleged conspiracy would be an end run around the statute of limitations
    Does Sussman counsel want to bar Patel, or does counsel think the testimony is so hair brained that the jurors will be laughing at the witness?
    I couldn’t help but think of Woody Allen’s jokes about the contents of wire tap conversations between mobsters.
    Thanks Ms. Wheeler for your intricate research.

  4. Maureen A Donnelly says:

    the intersection of the spidery webs in all this mess is something else. do you suppose we will ever know the full-range of actions planned by these folks? do you suppose they will ever face justice? it seems so grossly unfair that folks like Kash are free to continue the criming. hope i live long enough to learn the depth of the depravity against my nation.

  5. sleutherone says:

    Thank you all for your sacrifices in this morass!

    Regarding the special counsel and his minions: is Durham considered DOJ’s representative in regard to Touhy in all matters or are other guardrails/personnel in place to keep Patel (or Durham) from divulging whatever DOJ information they want?

    When Patel becomes a defendant must he lay out what documents he wants and have them approved due to his role as a former employee? I assume he would argue that he “can’t defend himself” (whine added) without the documents he wants no matter how disclosure hurts other DOJ matters. At the same time, he will fight like heck against the release of others that show him committing some malfeasance.

  6. FiestyBlueBird says:

    Fond memories of the days I was once devouring the written words of Louise, seeking as I was to understand what in the holy fuck is happening to our politics. Until it dawned on me that the woman was utterly full of shit.

    Thank you, Marcy, for authoring so much worthwhile remedial reading material.

  7. Rugger9 says:

    If Kash hasn’t already blown off a subpoena from the J6SC he needs to be hauled in now. No grace period for compliance either, he can choose between compliance and a criminal referral. Like Jeffrey Clark, Kash Patel deserves no consideration or an immunity deal.

    This latest statement (as well as the rest of his post-WH publicity tour) can be leveraged against the Sussman questions above and perhaps Patel can be sued for libel by Sussman. It won’t be Durham but it would be satisfying.

    • Rugger9 says:

      After all, if I read the sequence and post correctly, Durham’s prosecution appears to be anchored by Kash Patel’s testimony which is knowingly false (plus Patel was called out by name in the transcript). Once Sussman gets his criminal case dismissed, I would think he does have cause to go after Patel for providing Durham false information.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Was Kash Patel an investigator for Durham? It appears to me he was solely a witness who lied and so should face consequences for doing so. While Durham is untouchable I’m not so sure Patel is if he’s not officially part of Durham’s team.

          • bmaz says:

            Oh, I thought you meant Durham. Patel is different. Probably still a hard target, but no prosecutorial immunity.

          • civil says:

            No, the quote comes from a 2017 HPSCI interview, and Patel was asking questions on behalf of then-chair Devin Nunes. I don’t interpret that as Patel giving testimony. Or have I misunderstood what Patel statements you’re referring to?

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Kash Patel has failed upward so many times, he threatens to disprove the laws of gravity. I’ve read depositions where the questioning was so bad, it made my teeth hurt. But Kash’s attempt to question a competent lawyer made me want to pull them out. It makes it easier to understand why that immigration judge in the Rio Grande Valley berated him for needlessly flying in at taxpayer expense, and for being so ignorant, unprepared, and disrespectful to the court that he created the first perfect legal vacuum around him.

    I’d love to know why Patel’s patrons – who must be serious movers and shakers – find this guy so essential. He’s Scooter Libby without a brain. Is it his ignorance and obtuseness, which would make his claims of lack of intent more credible? His willingness to do anything and fall on any sword to promote their interests? Or is he just disposable?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Documents like this help establish, among other things, that Patel did not earn his absurdly high-level jobs in the USG based on competence or merit. Even by the standards of the Trump administration, which employed useful idiots like Grenell and Ratcliffe, Patel is a stand out only in sucking up to the right wing powers that be. At that, he’s a superstar.

      • Badger Robert says:

        Same. This guy had a job? He was involved in the attempted coup? No wonder Mitch was able to thwart the scheme and announce we will come back and finish, and the Senators mostly went quiet.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Kash Patel is dumber than a bank box. His tortured prose betrays a struggling mind, groping with language (“perpetuate” for perpetrate, e.g.) and expressing merely an attitude of performative outrage. Concepts seem neither to matter nor even exist. He just wants to make chains of fancy words like orchestrate and fabricate, so people will think he’s a smart boy and this is a very authoritative statement.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Kash Patel’s performance seems to be on par with coffee boy, George Papadopoulos’s, except that he has much more powerful patrons. Why is beyond me. He appears to be a superlative conduit, which remains untouched by whatever passes through him. Let’s call him, PCV Man.

  9. Desider says:

    Any defamation suit opportunities against Kash? Would be at least nice to ruin his life for a couple years as he has others’.

    • Riktol says:

      I am not a lawyer, and exposure to Popehat has (mostly) cured me of thinking that I can identify what would qualify as a provable false statement of fact for the purpose of defamation law.

      Opinion based on disclosed facts is a defence against defamation, however in this case Patel keeps referring to Durham’s filing as the source, but doesn’t seem to be rephrasing Durham’s conclusions, instead he’s making other accusations. If the disclosed facts don’t plausibly lead to the conclusions of the speaker, I think that this at least limits his possible defences if he were sued.

      Now I’d also guess that anyone who could sue would be classed as a public figure, so they would also need to prove that Patel acted with reckless disregard for the truth, and I understand that’s a difficult burden to make. But if your objective is to burn his cash reserves, you don’t need to win, you just need to make it past an anti-SLAPP motion.

      Let me finish by repeating “I am not a lawyer”.

  10. Jenny says:

    Thank you Dr. Marcy for clarity. So challenging to keep up with the lengthy Durham investigation and all the characters.

    Remember, Gina Haspel, CIA director threatened to resign over Trump’s wanting to make Kash Patel her deputy director. He had many positions as a loyalist in the administration plus he was an aide to Nunes. Yep, speaks volumes.

    • John Paul Jones says:

      Glad somebody mentioned Nunes, because Patel got his information about Sussman’s CIA meeting from somewhere, and if we’re looking, the then-Chair of the House Intelligence Committee seems like a good place to start; and of course, having Patel do the questioning instead of Nunes himself is the kind of dumb-smart move Nunes seemed to specialize in.

  11. Beija_Flor says:

    It is so gratifying to read a more in-depth picture of what’s up in these times. Additionally, the comment section is a breath of intelligent air. Thank you Marcy for this lovely space.

  12. Yohei72 says:

    Slightly off topic, but not too much, I hope… A Trumpie on Twitter is trying to tell me Sussmann, Clinton, et al. got caught red-handed fabricating DNS info to frame Trump and offered this excerpt from (I believe) Durham’s filing.
    Now, I know enough to suspect strongly that he’s cherry-picking out of context stuff to fit his narrative. But I don’t have the IT savvy to evaluate this excerpt and what it means on its own merits. Anyone have some thoughts?

    • Rayne says:

      You’ve already seen both WilliamOckham’s and Troutwaxer’s explanations. That’s it, they’re fucking lying about what happened — it’s a disinformation operation and you’re falling for it.

      Don’t want to listen to Marcy or folks like WilliamOckham and Troutwaxer who’ve taken the pains to explain the technical issues? Here.

      Now quit amplifying the disinformation by regurgitating it here.

      • Yohei72 says:

        Uh, no. I’m falling for nothing. I’m aware these people are liars – once WilliamOckham and Troutwaxer gave me a knowledge base from which to start interpreting what I was reading, I spent a stupid amount of time yesterday arguing with Trumpist conspiracy nuts – and linking to David Heath’s thread.

        My question, which I may not have made clear enough, was how are they lying in this particular instance. I simply wanted to be able to specifically refute their cherry-picked excerpts from Durham. Maybe a waste of my time. Apologies if using EW commenters to crowdsource my rebuttals isn’t the proper use of this resource.

  13. Rich C says:

    Hi emptywheel. Big fan. I am curious what you think of WSJ editorial board piece about this latest Durham doc.

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