John Durham Wants to Lecture EDVA Jurors about Being Played by Foreign Spies

We’ve gotten to that stage of another Durham prosecution where each new filing reads like the ramblings of a teenager contemplating philosophy after eating hallucinogenic mushrooms for the first time. This time it’s a reply filing in a motion in limine written by Michael Keilty (who I used to think was the adult in this bunch).

Before I show what I mean, I’m going to just share without comment my favorite part of the filing, where someone claims in all seriousness that hotel staffers — in a foreign country!! — don’t gossip about the kink of famous people.

It strains credulity, however, to believe that Ritz Carlton managers – with no apparent relationship to the defendant – would confirm lurid sexual allegations about a U.S. presidential candidate to a guest, let alone a stranger off the street.

Well, okay, I’ll make one comment. This is a gross misrepresentation of what Danchenko said, which is that the hotel staffers did not deny the rumor, not that they had confirmed them.

That done, I’m going to jump to the end, to where Keilty argues Durham should be able to present the allegation that led to the predication of a counterintelligence investigation against Danchenko in 2009 as well as the reason it was closed (because the FBI incorrectly believed Danchenko had left the US). Durham should be able to do that, the filing argues, so that the jury can contemplate the FBI’s obligation to consider whether they’re being played by foreign spies. [All the bold and underlining in this post are mine; the italics are Durham’s.]

The defendant asks the Court to limit the admissibility of evidence concerning the FBI’s prior counterintelligence investigation of the defendant to only the fact that there was an investigation. Limiting the evidence in this manner would improperly give the jury the false impression that the investigation closed due to a lack of evidence against the defendant. As discussed in its moving papers, the Government believes the facts underlying the investigation are admissible as direct evidence because in any investigation of potential collusion between the Russian Government and a political campaign, it is appropriate and necessary for the FBI to consider whether information it receives via foreign nationals may be a product of Russian intelligence efforts or disinformation. And in doing so, the FBI must consider the actual facts of the prior investigation. Had the FBI known at the time of his 2017 interviews that the defendant was providing them with false information about the sourcing of his claims, this naturally would have (or should have) caused investigators to revisit the prior counterintelligence investigation and raise the prospect of revisiting prior conduct by the defendant, including his statements to a Brookings Institute colleague regarding receipt of classified information in exchange for money and his prior contact with suspected intelligence officers. Whether or not the defendant did or did not carry out work on behalf of Russian intelligence, these specific facts are something that any investigator would or should consider and, therefore, the jury is entitled to learn at trial about the facts of the prior investigation in assessing the materiality of the defendant’s alleged false statements. The defendant should not be permitted to introduce the existence of the counterintelligence investigation for his benefit while suppressing the details of his conduct at issue in that very investigation.

This largely repeats the argument Keilty made in his original motion, before Danchenko responded, “Bring it!” to this request. I’ve underlined the language that appears exactly the same in both.

The Government anticipates that a potential defense strategy at trial will be to argue that the defendant’s alleged lies about the sourcing of the Steele Reports were not material because they had no affect on, and could not have affected, the course of the FBI’s investigations concerning potential coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian Government. Thus, the Government should be able to introduce evidence of this prior counterintelligence investigation (and that facts underlying that investigation) as direct evidence of the materiality of the defendant’s false statements. Such evidence is admissible because in any investigation of potential collusion between the Russian Government and a political campaign, it is appropriate and necessary for the FBI to consider whether information it receives via foreign nationals may be a product of Russian intelligence efforts or disinformation. Had the FBI known at the time of his 2017 interviews that the defendant was providing them with false information about the sourcing of his claims, this naturally would have (or should have) caused investigators to revisit the prior counterintelligence investigation and raise the prospect that the defendant might have in fact been under the control or guidance of the Russian intelligence services. Whether or not the defendant did or did not carry out work on behalf of Russian intelligence, the mere possibility that he might have such ties is something that any investigator would consider and, therefore, the jury is entitled to learn at trial about the prior investigation in assessing the materiality of the defendant’s alleged false statements.

As noted, Danchenko responded to this request by stating that he planned to elicit the fact of the investigation himself.

The government seeks to admit evidence, in its case-in-chief or to rebut a potential defense strategy, that Mr. Danchenko was previously the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation over 10 years ago. On this point, Mr. Danchenko generally agrees that the proffered evidence is admissible but likely disagrees about the extent of evidence that should be admitted at trial. It is not disputed that Mr. Danchenko was the subject of a counterintelligence investigation. Nor is it in dispute that the counterintelligence investigation was closed in 2011. Likewise, it will not be in dispute that the FBI agents involved in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation were well aware of the prior counterintelligence investigation, that it was factored into their evaluation of Mr. Danchenko’s credibility and trustworthiness, that an independent confidential source review committee accounted for the prior investigation when recommending the continued use of Mr. Danchenko as a confidential human source through December 2020, and that the agents involved in the prior investigation were consulted and ultimately raised no objections, at the time, to Mr. Danchenko’s continued use as a source.

As an initial matter, those facts obliterate the government’s argument that any alleged false statements were material to the government’s ability to evaluate whether Mr. Danchenko could have been working for the Russians all along. It would be one thing to argue that the Crossfire Hurricane investigators were not aware of the prior investigation and Mr. Danchenko failed to inform them of it when asked. But, as one might expect, Mr. Danchenko was not aware of the investigation. He learned of it when then Attorney General William Barr made public a summary of that investigation on September 24, 2020. Moreover, it stretches credibility to suggest that anything else would have caused the FBI to be more suspicious of Mr. Danchenko’s statements and his potential role in spreading disinformation than the very fact that he was previously investigated for possibly engaging in espionage on behalf of Russia. Armed with that knowledge, however, and based on the substantial and “critical” information Mr. Danchenko provided to the FBI throughout his time as a source, the FBI nevertheless persisted. The Special Counsel perhaps disagrees with that decision, but Mr. Danchenko’s trial on five specific statements and this is not the place to air out the Special Counsel’s dissatisfaction.

Mr. Danchenko himself intends to elicit from government witnesses their general knowledge of Mr. Danchenko’s prior investigation. But the details of that investigation are not relevant and, more importantly, are unproven, would involve multiple levels of hearsay to establish the basis for the investigation let alone prove the allegation, and resulted in no negative action or conclusion. Indeed, the investigation was closed and to undersigned counsel’s knowledge never reopened even after the Special Counsel’s investigation and Indictment. Contrary to the Special Counsel’s insinuations and allegations, we expect the jury will hear that Mr. Danchenko was a vital source of information to the U.S. government during the course of his cooperation and was relied upon to build other cases and open other investigations. [my emphasis]

Curiously, this dispute is taking place without discussion of how Durham intends to introduce this information, other than precisely the way Danchenko proposes to: by asking the Crossfire Hurricane witnesses what they knew about it, which would lead them to explain that they knew about the prior investigation and took it into account, which would be the relevant issue as far as materiality.

Given Danchenko’s suggestion (bolded above) that the counterintelligence agents from 2011 didn’t complain that Danchenko was used as a source “at the time,” I wonder whether they’ve since decided (or been coerced, as Durham has done with so many of his witnesses) that they now think it’s relevant. That might explain why Danchenko was discontinued as a source, too: Imagine if, after Billy Barr violated DOJ guidelines by making this public in 2020, the original agents were invited to complain in October 2020, which led to Danchenko’s discontinuation. Perhaps Durham wants to have those other agents testify as witnesses about what a sketchy man they believed Danchenko to be, over ten years ago, so sketchy that they lost track of him and concluded incorrectly he had left the country.

But having learned that Danchenko not only is willing but wants Crossfire Hurricane witnesses to explain how they took this earlier counterintelligence investigation into account, Durham has doubled down that that is not enough. It is not enough to hear how the FBI personnel who interviewed Danchenko took the earlier investigation into account, the jurors must learn the details of the earlier investigation so they can take it into account.

Granted, your average EDVA jury might have one or two people who have security clearances on it. But Durham is effectively asking untrained jurors to weigh decade-old uncharged and unproven counterintelligence allegations in their deliberation over whether answers Danchenko gave the FBI five years ago should have been viewed more skeptically by trained counterintelligence personnel. He’s doing so even though (and this a key point in Danchenko’s motion to dismiss, though that MTD is unlikely to work) the FBI took action based on Danchenko’s responses on these topics as if the answer was precisely what Durham says it should have been.

The FBI took Danchenko’s descriptions of Charles Dolan’s close ties to Russians like Dmitry Peskov and opened an investigation into him, just like Durham says would have happened if Danchenko had not (allegedly) hidden that Dolan provided him information that showed up in the dossier. The FBI took Danchenko’s descriptions of how sketchy the call he thought might have been with Sergei Millian and concluded from that that the report in the dossier wasn’t all that credible (though they didn’t incorporate that into their FISA applications), just like Durham says should have happened. And based, in part, on Danchenko’s description of his contributions to the dossier, the Mueller team made no further use of the dossier — not to predicate the investigation into Michael Cohen, not to continue the investigation into Paul Manafort (which was premised instead on his money laundering), not to direct the focus of the investigation, which instead looked at things like the June 9 Trump Tower meeting and Konstantin Kilimnik’s role, both of which would have been in the dossier if it were a credible product.

Durham is accusing Dancehnko of lying about two topics that the FBI nevertheless responded to (Page FISA aside) as if they took the answer to be precisely what Durham says it should have been.

He’s doing it in a filing where Durham can’t keep straight basic details of knowability and truth.

For example, in one place he accused Danchenko of telling the truth, just not the truth that Durham wishes he had told. He says it is proof that Danchenko lied that he truthfully answered Christopher Steele would know about Dolan because Danchenko cleared his October 2016 trip to Russia with Steele.

Second, when the defendant was asked “would Chris know of [Dolan]?” the defendant replied “I think he would . . . . because I cleared my [October] trip with Chris.” However, as discussed in the Government’s moving papers, the defendant (1) attempted to broker business between Steele and Dolan, (2) provided Dolan with a copy of his Orbis work product, and (3) apparently informed Dolan of Steele’s former employment with MI-6.

Two of Durham’s complaints — that Danchenko provided Dolan something from Orbis and that Danchenko informed Dolan that Steele worked for MI6 (I suspect Durham is wrongly attributing this to Danchenko but let’s run with it) — have nothing to do with what Steele would know, and so would be non-responsive to the FBI question. They have to do with what Dolan would know, not what Steele would know (even there, as I have noted, the uncharged question Danchenko was asked and his response were not what Durham claims it was).

Durham similarly complains that Danchenko didn’t tell the FBI something he didn’t know but that they did: the extent of communications between Dolan and Olga Galkina.

Third, while the defendant did introduce Dolan to Ms. Galkina, the Government anticipates introducing evidence through the defendant’s handling agent that the defendant was unaware of the extent of communication between Dolan and Galkina. This is a highly material fact given that both Dolan and Galkina are alleged to have been sources for the Steele Reports.

Durham may mean to suggest that if only Danchenko had … I’m not even sure what, the FBI would have discovered the communications that he describes here and wants to present at trial that the FBI discovered. Except as I noted last year, the reason the FBI started asking about Dolan is because they targeted Olga Galkina with a 702 directive that disclosed the contacts she had with Dolan. The FBI came into the interview in question knowing what Danchenko didn’t know and nevertheless Danchenko didn’t hide what he did know. What Danchenko did not know but the FBI did is proof, Durham says, that Danchenko lied.

Perhaps the craziest claimed proof that Danchenko is lying in this filing is where Durham complains that Danchenko didn’t offer up something that his own witness, Dolan, still won’t testify to.

According to the indictment, Danchenko both visited Dolan at the Ritz on June 14, 2016 and posted a picture of the two of them in Red Square (remember, he’s claiming Danchenko was hiding this stuff — the stuff he posted on social media).

On or about June 14, 2016, DANCHENKO visited PR Executive-1 and others at the Moscow Hotel, and posted a picture on social media of himself and PR Executive-1 with Red Square appearing in the background.

He complains that when Danchenko was specifically asked if Dolan could be a source for Steele (Durham has persistently misrepresented the nature of this question), he did mention they were in Moscow together in fall 2016, but didn’t mention June 2016.

In the January 2017 interviews, the defendant never mentioned Charles Dolan. Further, during the defendant’s June 2017 interview with the FBI (which forms the basis of the false statement charge related to Dolan), the defendant only informed the FBI that he was present with Dolan during the October 2016 YPO conference. Again, the defendant conveniently whitewashed Dolan from the June 2016 planning trip in Moscow.


First, as discussed above, the defendant did not inform the FBI that Dolan was present at the Ritz Carlton in June 2016. Again, this is a material omission because the defendant informed the FBI that he collected information for the Steele Reports in June 2016, but not during the October 2016 trip. Dolan’s proximity to the defendant during this time period is a highly relevant fact.

Durham wants to prove that Danchenko told an affirmative lie in June 2017 by denying that he had spoken to Dolan about topics that showed up in the dossier (in reality, Danchenko told the FBI, “We talked about, you know, related issues perhaps but no, no, no, nothing specific”). And to support that claim, he offers as proof that Danchenko offered up true information but not the information that Durham himself would have wanted him to offer up. Again, he’s arguing that Danchenko lied by pointing to his true statements.

And he’s making that argument even though his primary witness to all this — Dolan — apparently continues to testify that he does not remember meeting Danchenko at the Ritz.

[T]he Government anticipates that Dolan will testify that he has no recollection of seeing the defendant at the Ritz Carlton in June 2016.

Durham will prove that Igor Danchenko lied, he says, because along with offering true information, he didn’t offer up something that his star witness still won’t testify to remembering.

Let’s go back, shall we, to where we started: The urgency of letting EDVA jurors consider whether FBI’s counterintelligence personnel weighed Igor Danchenko’s past counterintelligence investigation adequately before they decided he was credible and took exactly the actions they would have taken if Danchenko had testified the way Durham claims he falsely did not.

It has been clear from the start that they did take the past CI investigation into account. Indeed, when his interview transcript was first made public, I observed that Danchenko’s interviewers were most skeptical of his evasions about ties to Russian spies. And Danchenko reveals that “an independent confidential source review committee” gave that earlier investigation particular focus when they did a source review of Danchenko’s reporting.

The Crossfire Hurricane team considered it and found Danchenko reliable. The confidential source review committee considered it and found Danchenko reliable. But Durham knows better, and he’s betting that an untrained EDVA jury will agree with him on that point.

But it’s not just Danchenko’s credibility that is at issue. As I previously noted, one reason Durham wants to get into the nitty gritty details of the predication of the investigation against Danchenko is because he expects Danchenko will look at the investigations of others on whom Durham is relying as sources.

[T]he Government expects the defense to introduce evidence of FBI investigations into other individuals who the Government anticipates will feature prominently at trial. Thus, the introduction of the defendant’s prior counterintelligence investigation – should the defense open the door – does not give rise to unfair prejudice that substantially outweighs its probative value.

Durham wants to be able to talk about the earlier counterintelligence investigation that the Crossfire Hurricane team did consider, because Danchenko is likely to raise the counterintelligence investigation into Sergei Millian and Dolan and probably some other people too. There’s no evidence Durham considered those counterintelligence investigations before building elaborate conspiracy theories based on the claims of those witnesses.

Durham said that in the same section where he also said,

[T]n any investigation of potential collusion between the Russian Government and a political campaign, it is appropriate and necessary for the FBI to consider whether information it receives via foreign nationals may be a product of Russian intelligence efforts or disinformation.

That is, shortly before Durham said that he has to talk about the predication of the counterintelligence investigation into Danchenko to even things out if he decides to raise the counterintelligence investigations into Millian, Dolan, and who knows who else, Durham said it is necessary to consider whether someone is being played by Russian intelligence.

In fact, he originally made this claim in a long filing in which he laid out how he had had his ass handed to him by Sergei Millian (though he didn’t confess how badly Millian had played him).


Before Durham charged Danchenko, he had not obtained the evidence from the DOJ IG investigation; he shows no familiarity with either the Mueller Report or the Senate Intelligence Committee Report. He never once made Millian substantiate his claims in an interview in which he could be held accountable for false claims. And he never once interviewed George Papadopoulos to learn how Millian was cultivating him during precisely the period that Durham is sure he didn’t call Danchenko. But he wants a jury to decide that the Crossfire Hurricane team didn’t consider the reliability of someone about whom the FBI has opened a counterintelligence investigation.

Durham charged two men as part of a larger uncharged conspiracy theory that the Hillary campaign “colluded” [sic] with Russia to say bad things about Donald Trump. And yet he never “consider[ed] whether information” he received from Millian and others “may be a product of Russian intelligence efforts or disinformation.”

And because he charged this case without considering that, Durham is demanding that he get to present why the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation against Danchenko 13 years ago.

72 replies
  1. Scott says:

    If this is the best Durham can scrape up after years of investigation, it’s seriously time to pack it in. Next thing you know, Hunter Biden’s laptop will get in here somehow…

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Scott” or “Scot.” Please use minimum of 8 letters when formulating your unique username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • bmaz says:

      Not long after we started this here blog, I argued (in the face of credulous Washington Post reportage) that the “Durham investigation” (then involving torture things and obstruction) was a joke. Nearly 16 years later, and a different investigation, it is still a joke.

  2. Unabogie says:

    OT here, but I just saw a clip from Trump’s Hannity interview in which he claims that the Secret Service “watched over the documents to a large extent.”

    This is a new claim, isn’t it? As far as I know, the Secret Service would not have watched over that pool closet because there was supposedly not common knowledge that top secret documents were stored there. So is the new claim that Secret Service was explicitly told to guard these documents in at least two locations? Doesn’t that make them witnesses and possible accomplices? And if they were told to guard these two locations, what other locations were they told contained top secret information?

    And of course, no one at Fox ever asked these obvious questions, but that’s to be expected.

    • Rayne says:

      Since when is it the Secret Service’s mission to guard records? There’s a lot more here which should be investigated – and of course the USSS has deleted a bunch of its communications.

      • P J Evans says:

        I’d want to look at that lot to see if they’re cult members, or if the former guy had them convinced that he could order them to guard records.

        • Rayne says:

          Or if they’d received orders from Treasury to guard the records because Treasury was aware there was a national security vulnerability. There are so many other scenarios, including a corrupted USSS helping sell access to the records, or protecting records about January 6 which implicated USSS, or…it just doesn’t seem to have an end.

          This mess is just so damned big.

          ADDER – Correction: USSS is now a subset of DHS, has been since 2003 when DHS was created. DOJ would have had to coordinate with DHS about guarding records, unless the USSS knew of records in Trump’s possession which fell under the section of its mission which is a holdover from its function as part of Treasury (reference: 18 USC 3056)

      • Unabogie says:

        That’s just it. If he did, in fact, task the Secret Service with guarding documents in specific locations, this makes them witnesses who can answer:
        1. What other locations were there for which they needed guarding of documents?
        2. Were they told the nature of the documents? If so, what were they told about classification. If they were told they were declassified, why the necessity of guards?

        This just rams a giant hole in Trump’s excuses here. It’s crazy that his lawyers let him say this stuff.

        • Rayne says:

          Trump as a former president can’t task the USSS. They have a specific duty outlined in 18 U.S. Code § 3056 – Powers, authorities, and duties of United States Secret Service.

          They might have an obligation leftover from USSS’ former role as an investigatory body under U.S. Treasury, but we don’t know that any of the presidential or federal records or classified materials in Trump’s possession at Mar-a-Lago fell under this purview *if* the USSS knew about them.

          If USSS was following FPOTUS’ orders, they’d gone rogue.

          • DAT says:

            I think we are arguing about two separate things. One is what the USSS is charged with, when it stays in its lane. The second is what individual, (or group…) members of the USSS might do outside of their lane. Today, my confidence that all members of the USSS only act within their lane is low…
            P.S. should I lengthen my user name?

            • Rayne says:

              I don’t think the USSS team assigned to Trump had enough personnel or hours to do an effective job of guarding him and guarding records whether either of us are correct about in lane/out of lane activities.

              As for username: eventually everyone (except for grandfathered moderators and contributors) will need to have usernames which are a minimum of 8 letters and unique. Take your time picking something memorable, it will be a while before I go HAM on short-named users. :-)

              • Unabogie says:

                If you require 8 characters I’m liable to go with Unabogie! like Jeb!

                I’m not sure the world is ready for that.

    • emptywheel says:

      It’s not a new claim. But Trump will take what he can get at this point.

      Not only are these agents not cleared into much of this information, but even assuming they were guarding the secrets, they were not checking the facilities with the regularity required by regulation.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        There’s also the possibility that by “secret service” Trump meant Tony Ornato, who recently retired from USSS after serving the Trump campaign and performing a nebulous set of other duties not covered by SS guidelines–like scrubbing data.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It didn’t describe Durham as the exception to the rule, “All children, except one, grow up,” or his work to be, “about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food cake,” but it’s a contender.

    • Peterr says:

      I have this vision of some college freshmen interns (members of Turning Point USA and future members of the Federalist Society) in Durham’s office doing the drafting.

  3. TKM says:

    Way OT, but MW presents the most comprehensive and compelling analysis of the Durham investigation anywhere. Is there any indication that Durham or Danchenko’s defense team visit here to read it? Why I ask, she was spot-on in offering reasons why Sussmann could be acquitted, and to me, the Danchenko facts are perhaps stronger for acquittal. This site must be embarrassing for Durham and at the same time valuable for Danchenko’s defense team.

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. Usernames should be unique and a minimum of 8 letters long. I want to point out the IP addressed used for this comment has been used at least one other time under a different username; perhaps you’ve shared a device or network, but it’s important you use a unique username and then stick with it each time you comment. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • FL Resister says:

      Special Master Raymond Dearie in Mar-a-Lago document case, and Special Counsel John Durham, William Barr’s appointment to do whatever he’s doing, could not be more different.
      (Does Durham share Manhattans at lunch with Rudy or something?)

      The demand for facts from Dearie in his case and the obfuscation of them by Durham in Bill Barr’s is very obvious if you read Emptywheel.

      Marcy wrote a while ago that if Durham continued down this road with Danchenko then Crossfire Hurricane would be exposed.
      (Perhaps not to Trump’s benefit but maybe to ours?)

    • skua says:

      I just bet the 8-tracks are somewhere in those clowns’ trousers.
      We’ll need the best, real professionals, on this case.
      Get me Mo, Larry and Curlie.

    • skua says:

      A previous case involving pants solved by Larry, Mo and Curlie:
      (For the elucidation of today’s youth.)

        • Desider says:

          Had a Betamax v VHS case study for my MBA, forget details but it was mostly mktg missteps on a better product. The market doesn’t always choose “best” but it has its reasons.

          • bmaz says:

            Yes! I’d love to see that thesis, any chance it is still around? The Beta really was far superior. But, yes, the market killed it relatively. And that is okay, but still…

            • Hika says:

              Those of us that had them really did have the most expensive digital clocks we ever owned.
              The bottom line was that Sony went with VHS and simultaneously moved to lock up a lot of good movies to deliver on their system, while betamax was technically superior (used by TV production for video tape for decades before high quality digital finally overtook it) but the makers of the superior technical system failed to grasp that the product was useless without rights to the movies people wanted to watch. It’s a good example of the better engineers losing out to a business with a broader view of what they were doing (and the commercial lawyers to deliver the rights to content that customers would pay for while denying that content to their rivals).

  4. Pedro P says:

    Say what you will about Durham, I’m still rooting for him to succeed here. Danchenko, Nolan, Steele, Fusion GPS et al deserve to be punished for all the Russian disinformation they were feeding the fbi and media.

    How and why the fbi, doj and media let these opposition research lies fester for so long is a whole other question.

    • Zinsky says:

      Who needs to be punished for the GRU hack of the DNC servers and the dump of the Podesta and Clinton e-mails on Wikileaks?

    • emptywheel says:

      Hi Pedro.

      Welcome to my digital living room. Pray tell, how long did FBI and DOJ “let these opposition lies fester”? Because, PERHAPS, you just confessed to being ignorant about the subject.

      • Xboxershorts says:

        Oh, there is no perhaps here.

        And Pedro, as Dr Marcy has made clear here years ago…the Steele Dossier wasn’t the basis for the opening of the TrumpRussia investigation. It was always seen as a political document, and always taken with a grain of salt, as Steele himself made clear, he would not vouch for the veracity of the information contained therein, knowing full well as an MI6 analyst with British intelligence, that the injection of misinformation has been a Russian specialty for many decades.

        And, as I like to tell folks…

        The Obama admin wasn’t spying on Trump. They were spying on Russia, as we’ve been known to do for the past 70+ years, and they found Trump and the Trump campaign. Over and over and over and over…ad infinitum.

        Turn off Fox News, bro…it’s toxic.

        • Pedro P says:

          Where did I say it was the basis for opening the investigation?

          The Steele Danchenko BS began to fester in May, June, July 2016. It was still festering in January 2017, when the director of the FBI decided to brief the newly elected president of the United States about about a pee tape with him and hookers at the Ritz in Russia.

          The festering continued with the Page FISA application in October 2016 and the subsequent renewals in January 2017, April 2017 and June 2017 during the Wiesman special council.

          Even IG Horowitz’s report is very critical on how Steele and Danchenko were handled and PERHAPS Durham will fill in the blanks.

  5. Savage Librarian says:

    I’m So Dim-sighted

    This time’s the TIME we’re gonna make it happen,

    This time we’ll put all other things aside,

    Give in this time and let me show connection,

    We’re gonna break measures in this fight.

    I want to shove you, spiel you,
    Backslap myself around you,

    I want to squeeze you, sieze you,

    I just can’t get enough,
    I have a surreal show, I can’t take no.

    I’m so dim-sighted
    and I just can’t hide it,
    My MAGA conspiracy troll
    is still unrequited,
    I’m so dim-sighted
    and I just can’t hide it,
    And you know, you know, you know,
    you know, you know I want it, too.

    “The Pointer Sisters – I’m So Excited”

      • Rugger9 says:

        Any insider information on what happened with Herm at ASU? If he thinks he’s getting back into the NFL like Pete Carroll did this wasn’t the way to do it.

        • bmaz says:

          No, not really. But they are still under NCAA investigation for some recruiting issues. It just was a failing program. How Edwards even came back this year was puzzling.

      • Benji says:

        Yeah – I can see it now; local news – commercial during Jeopardy! – cheesy law firm ad (Complete with non-attorney spokespersons) showing field goals bouncing off of uprights, mostly empty seats and desert-like parking lots: “If you were a Lions fan you may be entitled to compensation…contact us now!”

        A mind is a terrible thing.

  6. FLwolverine says:

    OT but a subject dear to everyone’s heart: on Friday, a former US District Attorney for EDNY, Jim Walden, appeared on MSNBC to present the RICO case he thinks DOJ is preparing against Trump and others. I read about it in a diary* on DailyKos. Walden presented a diagram showing Trump, Stone, Manafort, and others in a central circle, with little pods sticking out all around it, each pod containing one of the crimes Trump & friends might be charged with. Imagine a schematic of the coronavirus and you’ll have the picture.

    I’ve tried before on DKos to say “it’s not RICO” (which BTW I wouldn’t have known but for bmaz’s ranting) but got shot down by people who really want it (whatever it is) to be RICO. This time I took a different tack and explained that Walden’s schematic is not the type of structure RICO was designed for. Rather, RICO covers a pyramid structure organization, where the guys at the top direct and profit from the criminal acts of the little guys at the bottom, but there are so many layers and cutouts in between that the criminal acts can’t be attributed to the top guys. That’s nt the situation with Trump.

    Who knows? Maybe this time someone will agree with me.

    * https://www.dailykos. com/stories/2022/9/24/2124992/-Must-see-TV-MSNBC-guest-describes-potential-RICO-case-against-DJT-et-al?utm_campaign=trending (I inserted a space before “com”; should I have deleted everything after the “?”)

    • nedu says:

      META(*) Not sure sure if I should respond to a post marked OT.

      But strictly as far as the url goes, delete the “?” and everything following it. Then TEST the url yourself(+). For that site, deleting the “?” and entire query string works for me.

      (*) QUERY: Meta-discussion always on topic?
      (+) In software or hardware, nothing ever works until it’s tested.

    • Arteberry says:

      Saw the Alex Wagner interview with Walden. He seems to be a level-headed guy but I found myself questioning his judgment on one item I’ll describe in a moment—not his RICO theory but something else.

      But first, his RICO theory. Walden believes DOJ has for a long time been working towards a charging strategy of a hub-and-spoke RICO framework (Trump and a number of his better known co-stars in the middle) attaching to crimes by others ranging from conspiracy to murder Mike Pence to money laundering to obstruction of Congress and so on. In short, all the separate crimes that might be charged to Trump or others are brought under the RICO tent. DOJ has not been leaking, so none of us know what’s going to come out in the wash. The charging strategy, whatever it is, is going to be shaped by what DOJ has in the way of evidence and witnesses. It’s possible that a RICO approach might flip more defendants (or would-be defendants) faster. Walden’s speculation, an idea that has also been articulated by others for some time, is not implausible but there’s not much more anyone outside DOJ can say right now.

      However, Walden added another point that made me say, “huh?” He asserted DOJ would bring the January 6/coup case but the MAL documents case would disappear. If I understood him correctly, he was saying that stolen (classified and other federal) documents and lying about it to DOJ was simply too lightweight a case to be brought against a former president. Seems pretty damn serious to me. And pretty easy (relatively speaking) to prove.

      I get no sense from Garland, now that he is going public in various ways and the evidence is mounting, that he is inclined to give Trump a pass on MAL or anything else that can stick. In fact, I get pissed off when I hear people discuss the “momentous” or “historical” decision Garland has to make about indicting a former president that might “rip the country apart.” [Really, that’s the kind of clap trap we’ve come to love from Aileen Cannon.] Garland wasn’t elected, he was appointed. His brief is to enforce the law in the most even-handed way possible. Garland isn’t supposed to be the United States government’s Solomon or Cassandra. The historical or political considerations of indicting Trump are above his pay grade. If historical or political considerations should be factored in, the only guy positioned to do that factoring is Joe Biden. He was, I believe, elected by a majority of the voters (and by the not-fake state electors). He is the one with the pardon power. If Biden wants to play Gerald Ford and pardon Trump in the interest of national healing, that is his call (not Garland’s) to make. Of course, I don’t really picture Joe warming up his sharpie for that task. But for God’s sake, guys like Walden need to STFU about Garland’s supposed job of making papal dispensations.

    • Tom R. says:

      The “pyramid” argument is not valid.

      You can represent a hierarchy in terms of a pyramid (with rank increasing as you go up) or in terms of a hub and spokes (with rank increasing as you move radially inward). The meaning is the same either way. The two representations are mathematically the same. Topologically the same.

      The law cares about the relationships. It doesn’t care how you diagram them: pyramid or hub-and-spokes or both or neither.

      • FLwolverine says:

        I can’t argue topology, but the hub and spoke format as Walden presented it doesn’t give readers the sense of the various layers of operatives between the guys at the top and the guys (and criminal acts) at the bottom. That’s what I was trying to get across – that RICO is intended for situations where the connection between the top and bottom was intentionally obscured through multiple layers so the top guys were hard to reach.

        Since DKos doesn’t have a bmaz, and most of the people bleating about RICO over there wouldn’t know Popehat from a top hat, I was looking for some way to illustrate the point that “it isn’t RICO” and “you don’t need RICO in this case”.

    • P J Evans says:

      That DKos poster seems to be mostly silent. (Over there, status is partly how long you’ve been there, and mostly how much you participate. This one…doesn’t.)

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      I saw the original Walden interview. Thought of bmaz as soon as the RICO strategy came up, and Walden’s hub ‘n’ spokes diagram did not persuade me (it looked like something a ninth-grader came up with after watching too much cable TV). When he included conspiracy to commit murder (of Mike Pence), I dismissed it out of hand as fantasy.

      Maybe Walden’s theory should get as much credit as Andrew Weissman’s structurally similar one. At least Weissman didn’t mention murder.

      • bmaz says:

        The funny thing is I have been saying that forever about RICO, even before Popehat or the Emptywheel blog being around much. But Ken’s explainer piece is too perfect, and I cannot improve on that, so I have adopted it ever since.

  7. bacchys says:

    “We’ve gotten to that stage of another Durham prosecution where each new filing reads like the ramblings of a teenager contemplating philosophy after eating hallucinogenic mushrooms for the first time.”

    Or a Jordan Peterson book…

  8. Thomas says:

    The defendant lied because he didn’t tell the FBI info that the FBI should have asked him about when they knew it at the time and he didn’t.

    When you cross your eyes, it all becomes clear. Unless I’m lying.

    Durham just really wants Fox News to be able to say that someone is being prosecuted for lying to the FBI when HE was investigating the investigators of Trump.

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