John Durham Keeps Chasing Possible Russian Disinformation

Yesterday, the two sides in the Michael Sussmann case submitted the proposed jury questions they agree on and some they disagree on.

Durham objects to questions about security clearances and educational background (presumably Durham wants to make it harder for Sussmann to get people who understand computers and classification on the jury).

Sussmann objects to questions about April Lorenzen’s company and Georgia Tech.

He also objects to a question that assumes, as fact, that the Hillary campaign and the DNC “promoted” a “collusion narrative.”

I suspect Sussmann’s objections to these questions are about direct contact. For all of Durham’s heaving and hollering, while Sussmann definitely met with Fusion GPS, of the researchers, the indictment against Sussmann only shows direct contact with David Dagon. Everything else goes through Rodney Joffe. Plus, a document FOIAed by the frothy right shows that Manos Antonakakis believes what is portrayed in the indictment is at times misleading and other times false, which I assume he’ll have an opportunity to explain at trial.

As regards the campaign, as I already noted, when Sussmann asked Durham what proof the Special Counsel had that he was coordinating with the campaign, Durham pointed to Marc Elias’ contacts with the campaign and, for the first time (over a month after the indictment), decided to interview a Clinton staffer.

Sussmann will probably just argue that Durham’s plan to invoke these things simply reflects Durham’s obstinate and improper treatment of a single false statement charge as a conspiracy the Special Counsel didn’t have the evidence to charge.

But Durham’s inclusion of it makes me suspect that Durham wants to use an intelligence report that even at the time analysts noted, “The IC does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.” Nevertheless, John Ratcliffe, who has a history of exaggeration for career advancement, declassified, unmasked Hillary’s name, and then shared with Durham.

If Durham does intend to use this, though, it would likely mean Durham would have to share parts of the Roger Stone investigation file with Sussmann. That’s because the report in question ties the purported Clinton plan to Guccifer 2.0.

And as the FBI later discovered, there was significant evidence that Roger Stone had been informed of the Guccifer 2.0 persona before it went public.

That information, along with a bunch of other things revealed about Stone’s activities before this Russian report, suggest the Russian report may actually be an attempt to protect Stone, one that anticipated Stone’s claims in the days after the report that Guccifer 2.0 was not Russian.

Unless Durham finds a way to charge conspiracy in the next two months, Judge Christopher Cooper would do well to prevent Durham from continuing his wild conspiracy theorizing. Because it’s not clear Durham knows where the strings he is pulling actually lead.

59 replies
  1. Mike Stone says:

    “Georgia Tech University?”

    I believe this institution is called “Georgia Institute of Technology.”

    Does he refer to MIT as “Mass Tech University?”

      • Overshire says:

        I’ve worked with half a dozen GT grads, and they all seemed to remember it as “Four years ago I couldn’t even spell engineer and now I are one!”

    • boba says:

      No, but some GT grad’s facetiously refer to MIT as the GT of the north. (This was a play on the ancient meme of GT as the MIT of the south.)
      Somewhere near target, there’s something rattling in my head about RFC’s about IPV6 and DNS coming out of GT. With recognition this is obscure to most, suffice it to say if you want expert testimony regarding the subject at hand, GT is the pinnacle of that expertise. I’m long out of it, but IIRC back in the beginning (1998) of IPV6 discussion, the working group from GT was tasked with DNS.

  2. Traveller says:

    Does anyone else feel a little unsettled by the fact that Mr. Durham is willing to indict on the merest of evidence, whereas Mr. Alvin Bragg refused to even take to a Grand Jury the case against Mr. Trump on the strongest of Evidence? Different play books or what?!?

    I presume that everyone here knows this recent history, if not, here is a brief excerpt:

    From the New York Times:
    One of the senior Manhattan prosecutors who investigated Donald J. Trump believed that the former president was “guilty of numerous felony violations” and that it was “a grave failure of justice” not to hold him accountable, according to a copy of his resignation letter…
    The team that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors no doubt about whether he committed crimes — he did,” Mr. Pomerantz wrote.
    My question may be off topic, (or not), but the differing standard are curious and maybe this would be best addressed in subsequent post by Ms. Wheeler or someone else…but it is out there. Mr. Durham will indict a ham sandwich, Mr. Bragg will brag about convicting any low level street criminal, whereas Mr. Trump will seemingly always skate….

    There are too many angry Twitter feeds to link, but a brief review is here:

    Best Wishes, Traveller

      • bmaz says:

        The one known as “Traveller” is full of it and does not understand much. First off, he conflates a local/county investigation with a federal one. That is the move of a dope. And anybody that cites “ham sandwich” is also a dope.

        • Traveller says:

          We disagree…this is what Lawyers do. I presume you are thoroughly familiar with the facts and the resignation letter of Mr. Pomerantz. I understand that Mr. Pomerantz came out of retirement to take on this matter and all of the evidence that he had accumulated, collated, organized and studied being shopped back to the witnesses surely bothered him. It it however to be remembered the other career prosecutor, Mr Dunne, also resigned.

          Now then, it may be the case that Mr. Bragg did not want to spend his four years in office fighting the mighty Trump legal team, running this up and down the appellate ladder, It is also possible that the previous DA, Mr Vance was wrong in his assessment of the case and likewise that Mr Bragg’s election promise to fully prosecute this was….just wrong.

          See, I have made your arguments for you, showing my good faith and lack of dummyhood.

          Maybe you should take this up with and the recent disclosure of the returning of documents with Laurence Tribe in this recent tweet.

          I hope I have brought some additional light to this question…it certainly requires, I think, more than a curt dismissal…but maybe not. I am not conflating anything, The NY AG still has her civil matter, and I did not bring up Mr. Garland at all.

          Be that as it may, have a good weekend.

          Best Wishes, Traveller

          • bmaz says:

            Yeah, thanks for apprising me of “what lawyers do”. No, you brought no “light” to anything.

            • DrDoom says:

              IANAL. Please enlighten me regarding:
              1. the critical differences in the cases you allude to
              2. what Traveller said that prompted such an openly hostile response
              I am clueless regarding both these points and no doubt numerous additional ones as well. I am eager to learn.

              • bmaz says:

                1) I already did that. One is a county level prosecution, the other is a federal case by a special prosecutor. Conflating the two is ridiculous and meaningless.

                2) Already did that too. The run on takes of “oh my, this shows there is no justice system” are equally ridiculous.

    • Terry Mroczek says:

      Count me as one who also is unsettled about the differences I observe as well. Either we have a “system of justice” or we don’t. Either we all have an umbrella of rights and laws known as the Constitution or we don’t. Either we have a common understanding of evidence or we don’t. I don’t think it is “dope-like” to see the inconsistencies applied when these two cases are contrasted with each other. I do think that the people who abide by the rules are being overrun by the people who know no bounds and appear to be flummoxed and/or outclassed. Sooner or later, citizens will ask the relevant question – what do we have rules for if they don’t apply to some people? Sociologically, this will inspire justified anger, apathy and a degradation in our faith in democratic and legal institutions. For the rule-abiders, if they don’t take some chances with the people who play fast and loose with the rules and hold them accountable, they will be viewed as incompetent and the rules they are abiding by will be rendered meaningless.

    • civil says:

      Pomerantz didn’t suggest that the Manhattan DA has “the strongest of Evidence,” he only said that he believes “we have evidence sufficient to establish Mr. Trump’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and we believe that the prosecution would prevail if charges were brought and the matter were tried to an impartial jury.” His opinion that “respect for the rule of law, and the need to reinforce the bedrock proposition that “no man is above the law,” require that this prosecution be brought even if a conviction is not certain” certainly resonates. I am not alone in feeling that we have two systems of justice, one for the rich and powerful and another for everyone else, hitting the poor and powerless especially hard (and hitting them even if ultimately found not guilty, as many are held pending trial simply because they can’t afford bail).

      • bmaz says:

        WTF is wrong with you? By all appearances, you just troll this website with relentlessly mealy mouthed garbage. Does somebody pay you to do so? You are completely full of shit. On all fronts.

        • Traveller says:

          Let me bring this to a conclusion, because I certainly did not want to hijack this post. I suppose what I and many others would be satisfied with is Mr. Bragg would call a press conference and explain his decision.

          I see this as a lack of courage and…a cancer of sorts on the American consciousness. Mr Bragg is a public figure, making a very public decision and with some transparency might come out and say…even though Mr. Trump’s accounting firm disavowed their past 10 years of audits….Mr. Bragg could continue, Mr Trump is a smart man, he has made no gross mistakes, he has good accountants and good legal advice that shields him from most criminal liability…the IRS has had his tax returns since forever and they have not found a case to be brought against Mr. Trump.

          I haven’t either.

          I know that many of you are bothered by the fact that in certain years, Mr. Trump only paid $750.00 in federal taxes….but it was and is all legal. If you want to see something different, then vote for people that will change and tighten the tax code. It is pretty simple.

          But we have not gotten this kind of statement….and we, as a concerned pubic, should get these kind of honest, (if this be true), explanations in a whole host of white collar cases.

          This might restore some measure of faith in the US Judicial System.

          Always helpful, Best Wishes, Traveller

          • bmaz says:

            What a load of rubbish. Prosecutors do not owe you an “explanation” of what their grand jury processes entailed. That is childish baloney. And your cute little signature line is grating. Rarely “helpful”.

            • Rugger9 says:

              As you know I am no fan of what DA Bragg is doing, especially returning evidence as Daily Beast has reported (which should be taken with several grains of salt). Like several of the SCOTUS shadow docket rulings recently that provide good reason for court expansion, Bragg’s conduct would deserve scrutiny.

              It’s NYC, he will get scrutiny. What’s more puzzling is that with these being state law violations that AG James hasn’t taken the case over.

              I doubt there will be a ‘perfect case’ to charge, but never let perfect be the enemy of good and Pomerantz’s experience is worth heeding here.

              • bmaz says:

                Eh, folks constantly forget that James and AG office has exactly zero criminal jurisdiction. None.

                And, even if she did, relying on Leticia James to accomplish anything is a fool’s errand.

                • Ginevra diBenci says:

                  bmaz, you just stated what I believed to be true: that James’s office can’t bring a criminal case. Period.

                  But I’ve heard more than one TV lawyer suggest, as Rugger9 did, that James “take the case over.” Is that in any way possible?

                  • bmaz says:

                    To the best of my knowledge, no, it is not. The only way the NY AG has criminal jurisdiction is if the NY Governor specifically assigns it to them on an ad hoc basis. Cuomo refused to do so, and I do not think Hocul has yet either.

          • Silly but True says:

            By all appearances, we’ve known for at least four years that this investigation was rooted essentially in difference of opinion in asset valuation: either Trump org. “overinflated” asset valuation or Trump org valued assets used for one purpose in one set of financial documents differently than they valued the same asset for different reason in different financial documents.

            It was fraught from beginning that could but not necessarily be based on fraud which would be illegal versus legitimate application of rules which might yield the same legal result, as well as resulting in different professionals applying the same financial rules to end with different results.

    • Troutwaxer says:

      I’ll be kind to both sides in this argument. Bragg’s handling of an obviously-difficult situation was, at the very least, unhelpful. Just about anything he did would have been better than what he did.

      • Leoghann says:

        I really doubt that we’ll have any idea what happened regarding Bragg and the Trump Organization investigation for at least six months. On one hand, there may have been something fundamentally wrong with the Manhattan DA Office’s prosecution strategy; on the other, Bragg may prove to be someone who is corrupt or lazy. And on the third hand, they may be working on something even better.

        However, I’ll have to disagree with bmaz on one of his statements. I believe John Durham would indeed indict a ham sandwich, if said ham sandwich were made by anyone who had ever worked for the Hillary Clinton Campaign.

      • bmaz says:

        No. Did you miss where that would be nonsense? DOJ prosecution has nothing with internet justice bullshit. Do you really want to die on the hill of stupidity?

  3. Peterr says:

    “Because it’s not clear Durham knows where the strings he is pulling actually lead.”

    I’d go farther myself. It’s clear Durham does not know where the strings he is pulling actually lead.

  4. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    Ever actually seen a dog chase its own tail? I’ve seen it just once….

    Common figure of speech and when you see it actually happening, it’s funny as hell…

    Durham comes across as the metaphorical dog chasing its own tail at this point…

  5. WilliamOckham says:

    I would have objected to question 66. The CIA is NOT part of the law enforcement community. Perhaps that’s a bit pedantic.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Does CIA have arrest authority in the USA? I don’t know, as prior military we did not off our bases/ships unless martial law was declared. The USCG being part of DHS (now) and DOT (then) did have badges and when we were on drug interdiction missions they would be on board as well. If CIA doesn’t have arrest authority they’re really not LEOs.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Agree. The CIA is not authorized to engage in domestic ops, and its foreign ops would not include law enforcement work. But as bmaz says, if it had a need, it would coordinate with an agency that had such authority.

  6. Rugger9 says:

    Totally OT. Samuel L Jackson is getting an honorary Oscar tomorrow, so each profanity in his acceptance speech gets a drink.

    • Eureka says:

      Uh, hope you kept the rules tight to that condition tonight. If you went liberal on the libations per unit licentious Oscars behavior … well cheers to the proverbial strong liver.

      Over-under on Rugger’s BAC?

  7. greenbird says:

    i’m back. i didn’t have it so i hadda read it. twas yummy. thank you, marcy. some of these sc, sw, ssw, mc and mag cases really give me an olympic-quality ride. BUT WHO COULD RESIST ! []
    “… And as the FBI later discovered, there was significant evidence that Roger Stone had been informed of the Guccifer 2.0 persona before it went public.

    That information, along with a bunch of other things revealed about Stone’s activities before this Russian report, suggest the Russian report may actually be an attempt to protect Stone, one that anticipated Stone’s claims in the days after the report that Guccifer 2.0 was not Russian.

    Unless Durham finds a way to charge conspiracy in the next two months, Judge Christopher Cooper would do well to prevent Durham from continuing his wild conspiracy theorizing. Because it’s not clear Durham knows where the strings he is pulling actually lead.”

    the bells ring out Mahler, Drhm hears sugarplum fairies. HE DON’T KNOW THE ROPES.

  8. Cosmo Le Cat says:

    I would like to remind the attorneys and others who read these comments of a lesson I learned the hard way. It is not a justice system… it’s merely a legal system… one that pretends to dispense justice.

  9. nap says:

    when is someone going to investigate Durham?

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