John Durham Created a False Pee Tape Panic Based Off a “Literally True” Alleged Lie

Here’s how Judge Anthony Trenga explained his decision to dismiss the false statement charge against Igor Danchenko tied to Chuck Dolan, a charge alleging that Danchenko lied to his handling agent Kevin Helson when he responded to a question about whether he, “talked to Chuck Dolan about anything that showed up in the dossier,” with, “No. We talked about, you know, related issues, perhaps, but no, no, no, nothing specific.”

[A] prosecution for a false statement under Section 1001 cannot be based on a literally true statement even if that response is nonresponsive or misleading.


The government presented two witnesses that provided direct evidence concerning Count 1: Charles Dolan and FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson. Dolan identified to one occasion when he spoke on the phone with Mr. Danchenko about the dossier, specifically on January 11, 2017, the day after it was published by BuzzFeed. Dolan testified, however, that there was no discussion about anything in the dossier, precisely what Danchenko told Helson, although the dossier was mentioned.


Special Agent Helson confirmed in his testimony that he never explained to the defendant what he meant by “talked,” nor did he follow up with the defendant about what the defendant meant by his answer that he had talked about related issues with Dolan.


The standard definition of “talk” means communication through the spoken word.

Applying that definition, the evidence in this case establishes that Mr. Danchenko’s answer was literally true.


Helson asked an unambiguous question, defined otherwise would allow the government to impose the serious consequences of criminal liability under Section 1001 by divorcing words from the commonly understood meaning.


Agent Helson testified that if what Dolan said was true, Mr. Danchenko’s answer was literally true; and in light of that testimony, Agent Helson understood the question the same way that Mr. Danchenko did, as asking for verbal communications.

Trenga’s decision came after the prosecution rested Friday, and Danchenko opted not to mount a defense (he was never going to do so; he never provided a witness list). On Monday, the two sides will present their closing arguments, and the jury will move to deliberating over the four remaining charges, which allege that Danchenko lied when he told the FBI, over and over, that he believed that an anonymous caller he claimed to have spoken to in late July 2016 was Sergei Millian. I hope to do a follow-up post explaining the evidence presented on those four charges.

Judge Trenga dismissed this charge because John Durham had accused Igor Danchenko of lying when all the evidence, including the affirmative testimony of two of Durham’s own witnesses, shows his statement was “literally true.”

Trenga judged that Durham had accused Danchenko of lying when in fact he was telling the truth after Durham, the frothers, and far too many members of the legacy press spent almost a year spinning conspiracy theories based on it, most notably by claiming that Chuck Dolan (whose ties to Democrats Durham and the press also wildly overstated) was the source for the pee tape allegation, even though Danchenko had named one of his Russian associates as the source and even though (we now know) Dolan claims he doesn’t remember meeting Danchenko at the Moscow Ritz, much less talking about pee tapes.

Trenga dismissed the charge after Durham spent much of the four day trial trying to bolster the materiality claims behind this charge.

For example, Durham prosecutor Michael Keilty had former FBI analyst Brittany Herzogg testify about how, months after the literally true alleged lie (Herzogg first joined the Mueller team the month after the literally true alleged lie), she tried but was not permitted to get the Mueller team to take further steps to investigate Dolan. Similarly, prosecutor Brittain Shaw had Special Agent Amy Anderson describe how at least three and possibly as many as six months after Danchenko told the literally true alleged lie, her supervisor on the Mueller team (which had to have new predications approved by Rod Rosenstein) did not let her open an investigation into Dolan.

On at least two occasions, these efforts to bolster the materiality of this literally true alleged lie extended to attempting to introduce false or misleading testimony to the jury.

On cross, Danny Onorato caught Shaw eliciting a false claim from Anderson — that Danchenko had not revealed Dolan’s ties to Dmitry Peskov — when in fact he had revealed that during the interview where he told the literally true alleged lie.

Q Okay. And are you aware that Mr. Danchenko in June, despite what Ms. Shaw asked you and despite what you told her, actually described that Mr. Dolan knew the press secretary of Vladimir Putin? Right?

A According to this document, yes.

Q Yeah. And it came from Mr. Danchenko, right?

A Yes.

Q Okay. And so you said that if you knew there was a connection back in June of Mr. Peskov and Mr. Dolan, that would be significant, right?

A Yes.

Q And you knew it in June, right?

A Yes.

Q And when you testified, you weren’t trying to lie; were you?

A I was absolutely not trying to lie.

Earlier that morning, Danchenko attorney Stuart Sears caught Durham himself trying to make further misrepresentations on this topic. In an attempt to suggest that Sears had coached Danchenko handler Kevin Helson to claim (falsely, Durham wanted to prove) that Danchenko had never been asked about the report at issue in this charge, Steele Report 105, Durham asked Helson to refer back to the original Danchenko interviews where — Durham falsely claimed — Helson would find Supervisory Analyst Brian Auten asking Danchenko about Report 105.

Q Now, counsel also asked you some questions on cross-examination yesterday that you — the question was asked and you kind of adopted it. The question was essentially — and Mr. Auten never asked Mr. Danchenko about the report number, which was 2016/105. It was the Manafort report.

A Okay.

Q He asked you if Auten asked him about that, and you said no or you adopted the question no. Do you recall, sir, whether or not — in the three-day interview in January of 2017 whether or not Mr. Danchenko was, in fact, asked questions and there was reporting in the report about the Manafort part of the dossier?

A I didn’t recall that, no.

Q All right. Do you recall it now? Well, let me withdraw that. I’d ask you to take a look at Government’s Exhibit 100. It’s just for identification in the record now. You are free, of course, to look at the entirety of it, but I would direct your attention most particularly to pages 11 and 12 to see if that refreshes your recollection as to whether or not Mr. Danchenko is, in fact, asked questions relating to Paul Manafort and the like in January 2017.


A Is there a particular page?

Q Pages 11 and 12, but look through it as you want. Does that refresh your recollection, sir, as to whether, in fact, Mr. Danchenko had been asked about the Manafort matters back in January of 2017?

Here’s the passage of Danchenko’s January 2017 interviews where, Durham falsely claimed, Helson would find memorialization of Auten asking Danchenko about Report 105 — the report describing that Corey Lewandowski hated Manafort.

Not only does this passage relate to entirely different details about Manafort — his ties to Viktor Yanukovych rather than his animosity with Corey Lewandowski, not only does it address events that transpired even before Manafort started replacing Lewandowski as Trump’s Campaign Manager, not only do these events precede the report in question by five months, but this is not even a reference to what is known as the Steele dossier, paid for by Perkins Coie.

It’s a reference to the reporting on Manafort specifically that Oleg Deripaska paid for.

As Sears explained in a sidebar, Durham was deliberately conflating broader Manafort reporting (nobody pointed out what I have, that this specific reference wasn’t even to what is known as the Steele dossier) with the single report he charged.

MR. SEARS: Your Honor, Mr. Durham’s question has created the impression, I think, that the Manafort discussion, as referenced in that report, was about Report 105. My question was very specific about whether he had ever been shown that specific report. It is true that Paul Manafort came up during discussions.

THE COURT: In January?

MR. SEARS: In January. But just about his relationship with Ukraine, not about his resignation from the campaign or any of those issues. I’m concerned about the impression he’s giving to the jury because of the way the questions were asked. It is redirect.

THE COURT: On cross, he said that he wasn’t aware of —

MR. SEARS: Whether or not he had ever been shown that report.

THE COURT: So the report itself?

MR. SEARS: The report itself.

John Durham, in his attempt to prove that Danchenko lied about something that actually mattered in that literally true alleged lie, misrepresented the record, falsely claiming that Helson had misspoken.

I know! It’s dizzying even for me! And I knew this was a misrepresentation as soon as frothers falsely claimed Durham had caught Sears in a lie.

By yesterday’s testimony, Danchenko’s lawyers summarized what the Dolan charge was really about as opposed to what Durham had spun it into by mocking the idea you’d open an espionage investigation into someone because they repeated the publicly known fact that Corey Lewandowski hates Paul Manafort.

Q Okay. And I just want to ask one final question because I think you talked about Russian misinformation. Correct?

A Correct.

Q Do you think it could be Russian misinformation that Corey Lewandowski hated Paul Manafort back in July of 2016?

A I honestly don’t remember that specific allegation. Anything could be Russian misinformation.

Q Sure.

A It’s possible.

Q But I’m asking you. If you heard from me, “Corey Lewandowski hates Paul Manafort,” would you then run and open up an espionage investigation based on that fact?

A No.

The pushback from Durham’s prosecutors, discussing the the dossier in terms of “Russian interference,” “Russian-related,” and “related to Russia,” is actually a fair enough point.

Q And in terms of — he asked you about Mr. Manafort and Lewandowski. With respect to knowing whether someone passed false information that contained allegations — not the Lewandowski part but somebody made up that they were an insider or had inside information, in the course of looking at Russian interference, as you did in the Special Counsel’s investigation, would that have been important to you?


Would it be relevant to you if that information actually had come from somebody the dossier claimed to be a Trump insider and the dossier was a Russian related — related to Russia and Donald Trump’s connections to Russia? Correct?

A Correct.

Q So would it have been relevant to know in that dossier that that information came from a Trump insider?

A Yes.

But that was an argument to investigate Dolan, not to prosecute Danchenko for his literally true statements about Dolan.

Taken on its face, too, it’s a vindication of opening an investigation to find out which of Trump’s Coffee Boys were lying about their role in a Russian influence operation. If this is your standard — and it is the standard Durham has finally adopted — then every investigation Crossfire Hurricane opened up was justified.

As I’ll show, Durham went further still yesterday, arguing that Mueller’s investigators hadn’t investigated Sergei Millian aggressively enough in 2017.

In any case, thus far, the only people who have been demonstrably lying are Durham’s own witnesses and, arguably, his own prosecution team. As Durham has been sustaining this claim that Danchenko lied even though what he said was literally true, Durham has burned two reportedly valuable FBI sources, damaged US cybersecurity efforts, partnered with a now-sanctioned Russian bank, and forced the declassification of details of multiple FBI counterintelligence investigations.

That is the damage Durham has wrought while he has been spinning tales of pee tapes to sustain his investigation.

At least with regards to Chuck Dolan, Judge Trenga has ruled, Igor Danchenko was literally telling the truth. Durham made of that literally true statement a bogus pee tape panic that has done breathtaking amounts of damage.

Update: Added more context per Frank Probst’s comment.

61 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    This has been asked and answered before: he doesn’t have that power because of the terms of the appointment.

  2. Frank Probst says:

    So for those of us watching at home, Count #1 got tossed. How many counts are there in total?

    And did the prosecution rest already? I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve never heard of a judge tossing out a charge before the prosecution is even done presenting its case.

      • Frank Probst says:

        Thank you! And thank you for the h/t!

        So basically, the defense got one false statements charge thrown out based on the testimony of Durham’s own witnesses. (And what appears to be a chunk of a 302, of all things. I’ll spare everyone my usual rant.)

        Now a question for you or @bmaz (or basically anyone else who knows trial procedure): Did this happen in the presence of the jury, or were they outside the courtroom at the time? Because this looks like a pretty harsh beat-down from the judge. If I’m on a jury and weighing the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses, this would have an effect on me. He’s not just saying that the prosecution didn’t meet the BARD standard of proof. He’s saying–without equivocation, as far as I can tell–that the false statement in question is “literally true”. That’s going a lot farther in terms of dressing down the prosecution.

        • emptywheel says:

          It was outside presence.

          And they had some discussions of how to explain that to the jury without influencing the way they view the other 4 charges.

        • bmaz says:

          Heh, you just don’t include it in the verdict forms for deliberation. Although if I was the defense, I’d probably be noisily pointing that out.

    • JVO says:

      I dislike suffering fools and hypocrites, but I do relish when they get exposed. I’m concerned that the horrific damage he’s doing will be justified if they get a guilty verdict on even a single count.

  3. Pedro P says:

    One of the FBI agents said that Danchenko was the greatest source he’s ever had and has contributed in 25 investigations since 2017.

    I’d like to see just how helpful he has been, because all of his “raw” information he gave Steele was absolute rubbish. And as much as some of the agents say he was so truthful, it’s obvious now from this trial that he lied to them too and withheld information that would of helped the investigation.

    • Willis Warren says:

      It’s quite obvious, to me at least, that Danchenko was using sources that knew he was an informant. He may have very well been acting in good faith and been burned by his sources. Steele’s loyalty to Danchenko makes a lot of sense in this scenario.

    • Jeffrey Gallup says:

      Standards are evidently different for opposition research and professional intelligence reports. Oppo can, as in the Steele dossier case, contain rumors, gossip, published reports, allegations and even facts, all vacuumed up and served up as a hodge podge of questionable provenance.

      A big problem is that the Steele reports were gussied up to look as if they were intelligence reports (using the conventions of style and format), when they were nothing of the kind. A real intelligence report is normally based on reliable source(s), whose work has been vetted and tested. If the source’s reliability is unknown, that is stated. The source’s access to the information is also typically explained. For example, if Olga Galkina was the source for the Cohen in Prague story, as well as the Carter page meeting with senior Russian officials story, how she had access to that information would have to be explained. If it’s just rumor, that might or might not merit a report, but the dubious sourcing would have to be noted.

      • bmaz says:

        That is baloney, Steele’s “dossier” was always raw intel, of which get reported in the intel community every day. It was blown way out of proportion for sure, but you are mischaracterizing what it was to start.

        • Jeffrey Gallup says:

          Sure, it was “raw intel” – or somewhat less than that, given that it was a compilation of (as Danchenko said) barroom talk, rumor, etc, but was given the appearance of a finished intelligence report, of which I have seen many. This made it look more weighty than it was.

        • JVO says:

          How gussied up are we talking here – lipstick on a pig? The people who viewed and used it seem like they would have known the difference like you. Supreme Court briefs look the same amount of pretty but one of them is still going to be a loser.

        • Rayne says:

          I’ve looked askance at many of your 28 comments to date but this one is bullshit. How exactly do you think *raw* intelligence is presented to clients? Dripping out of slop buckets? Hosed like sewage onto a field? Give me a fucking break.

          Spare us a response because it will be more bullshit. Perhaps I should be more blunt here: your comment is exactly what would be offered to shift the focus away from the intelligence and to the intelligence collection and consumption.

        • JVO says:

          Sorry, I didn’t mean to be insensitive, I clearly struck a nerve. My point is exactly the opposite of what you claim. Bmaz already called out your baloney. I tried to understand it from the source (i.e., you) and gain some perspective. You responded with raw farm imagery. You avoid the point that the people receiving the “report” are not uninformed or unsophisticated and should be able to read and understand and follow up. Of course, those of bad faith can also read and respond. All the best to you.

        • bmaz says:

          Oh no, she was talking to Jeffrey Gallup. Rayne (and you) is right. And he is full of it. This is occasionally a problem with threaded comments…who you are really responding to gets lost.

        • Rayne says:

          I wrote a post not long after the dossier was made public. I had a different take on it because I felt the dossier had value; there were points which deserved more attention, even as oppo research, in spite of being raw intelligence, and in spite of disinformation. The dossier as a whole was a massive red flag.

          I gave my perspective at the time based on my personal experience doing both oppo research and business intelligence. IOW, I have collected raw intelligence and reported it to Fortune 100 corps in nice, neat documents with the appearance of a finished intelligence report.

          JeffreyGallup’s comment is bullshit.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          I agree, Rayne. The Steele report included items that might have proved to be real investigative leads. But the “Russia Hoax” succeeded in convincing the public it was bathwater, so as to get whatever baby was in there thrown out too.

        • Rayne says:

          I was less worried about the public than the Democratic Party. I am still very annoyed in particular by the implication in the dossier there was an effort to fragment the Democratic Party vote by sowing dissension within the Dems and yet it didn’t look at all as if anyone took that possibility seriously.

          Every item should have been analyzed from a “what-if” perspective: what if this is true, what if it isn’t, what if this is intended to do something else if true/false. But that’s how raw intelligence is processed.

          On the other hand I’ve watched a Fortune 100 company take my raw intelligence and do exactly the opposite of what that raw intelligence told them, and get burned in a BIG way for it. I guess stupidity/naivete isn’t confined to the American political left.

        • JVO says:

          Whew, I’m old. Thanks Rayne and Bmaz. I thought it was Gallup. As a lawyer, I’ve always tried to help my clients focus on the substance and to be less concerned with the lipstick and window dressing. I still appreciate good window dressing just not as much as a good discussion.

        • Jeffrey Gallup says:

          I’m surprised (and chagrined) by the strong reaction produced by my comment.

          I can only speak to government intelligence operations. Steele was a former MI-6 officer, which may have led some (like me, perhaps) to that his work was according to government standards. (I recall a reference to “crown intelligence”.) It is not at all normal for a US government intelligence organization to disseminate “raw intelligence” outside that agency. It has to be put into a formal report in which the reliability of sources is considered by a reports officer other than the drafter and stated explicitly. And anything that was rumor, speculation, or gossip would have been identified as such.

          On the rare occasions when it might seem necessary to disseminate “raw intelligence” because of the critical or urgent nature of the information, uncertainties concerning the validity of the information would be clearly stated, in writing. I didn’t see that with any of the Steele reports.

          That’s not to say that some, maybe much, of the Steele dossier might be true or at least worth investigating. But Steele was clearly doing something much different than he would have as an MI-6 officer, using different standards. That was the point I was trying to make. What he wrote would never have passed muster in a USG agency, which means, yes, some potentially important information might have been hidden which should have been revealed.

        • Rayne says:

          Steele was a former MI-6 officer, which may have led some (like me, perhaps) to that his work was according to government standards.

               He was a private contractor doing work for private citizens.

          It is not at all normal for a US government intelligence organization to disseminate “raw intelligence” outside that agency.

               Private contract’s terms dictates the presentation of the materials.

               Again, private contractor working for private citizens.

          It has to be put into a formal report in which the reliability of sources is considered by a reports officer other than the drafter and stated explicitly.

               I think that graf alone spells out a lot of your perception problems, OR the lens through which you are expecting everyone else reading your comments to view Steele’s work.

               There’s one more point about private contract work you don’t make about which I am wholly aware as a former private contractor to corporations: there’s a lot of information exchanged between the parties which is not contained the print shared in a report which was never intended for public consumption.

  4. Rugger_9 says:

    Strange how the truth keeps coming out when the strings are pulled apart. I don’t know how or when sanctions on the USG attorneys will occur due to their gaslighting the court but in terms of justice this prosecution has all of the legitimacy of the Iowa turret explosion trial. Since Durham himself has joined in the misleading, I think he should be first in line if/when sanctions are handed out. Judge Trenga has already signaled his displeasure with the dismissal of Count 1 (so far), and I don’t know how much more patience he will have with a repeat offender like Durham. I’m sure Trenga is aware of the Sussmann antics by the Special Counsel.

    However, as I’ve said before, this trial isn’t about getting a conviction but about publicity and using the Cokie Roberts rule to smear Mueller, et al to deflect away from what appears to be dropping about the USSS and Individual-1 in general. The reaction by the RWNM for the fleeting news that Sears had been caught lying until proven Sears wasn’t is proof of the true purpose. I haven’t seen any retractions yet, but haven’t dug too deep into the mire either.

      • Christenson says:

        Hypothetically, what would Durham need to do here to get himself sanctioned? I’m aware of the bar discipline context, where you need to either steal your client’s money or have physical sex with the client.

        • bmaz says:

          In EDVA, with a designated special prosecutor, probably nothing would result in that. Durham just needs to go away.

        • emptywheel says:

          Durham picked up the role Andrew DeFilippis had in the Sussmann case. DeFilippis left weeks before the Danchenko trial with no explanation — he claims he’s returning to Sullivan & Cromwell but has not shown up yet.

          There were substantive complaints made about him and there was rumor, at least, that he left before having to answer for his actions.

          That could hypothetically have repercussions down the road (except the legal community doesn’t police its own very well), but he’s going to be very valuable for S&C bc he was a hack for Trump.

          In Durham’s case, though, he’s just going to retire so there’s not much you could do.

  5. The Old Redneck says:

    God Almighty! This is worse than Sussman, and Durham is personally participating in this travesty. And we now know that one of the charges was never true and could never have been proven. At this point it seems like the FBI guys are undermining Durham every time Danchenko’s lawyers give them an opening. They may not be thrilled about their sources being burned.
    BTW, even if Pedro were right that all the “raw information he gave Steele was absolute rubbish,” who cares? It’s not a crime to provide rubbish information to some guy putting together an opposition research dossier. It has nothing to do with lying to the FBI.

  6. Shadowalker says:

    The thing about the “pee tape” is the subject matter is largely irrelevant. What is relevant, is the fact that Trump stayed at a hotel in Moscow, that is known for the Russian FSB (successor to the KGB) documenting high profile visitors for possible material they can use to compromise them with in the future. Do tapes of his stay(s) exist? Probably. More importantly, were those tapes useful? Probably not. Remember the Access Hollywood tape? Besides all you have to do is keep complimenting and praising Trump and you’ll get everything and more than you would with what is essentially blackmail.

    To understand how Durham got to this point where he’s bringing very weak charges, you have to look back to where he began this assignment. One of the first things he did was visited foreign countries to look at the evidence they had collected on Trump and his possible ties to Russia. It was their intel agencies that first raised alarm bells on Trump. It became so alarming that their intel agencies contacted our own and explained their concern in late 2015. This was the precursor to crossfire hurricane and the dossier (itself only a collection of rumors) was only one small piece.

    The first country Durham visited was Italy to look at the case files they had on Trump, at first they were very obliging until parliament got wind of it and blocked any further sharing (their legislature has more control over INTEL than we in the states do), and even threatened to begin investigations into how it was they weren’t even notified to give their assent as the law required. His next stop was Austria (not sure about this being the country) where he didn’t stay long. Next was Great Britain, who kept him waiting for a day until finally a low level staffer informed him they had no further information they could give him. He then went to Japan (which may have been a stopover) then to his next target, Australia, who were at first like the Italians in giving the appearance they were going to give him what he asked for, but their parliament got wind of it and just like the Italians, they were going to launch investigations and put a stop on the whole thing. Couple weeks go by and both Durham and Barr try yet again to gain access to these foreign INTEL files. The first stop in Italy failed even with both Trump and Barr applying pressure. Durham returned to the states with Barr making a stop in London where he was told that, “We have provided you with everything we have on the subject back in 2016.”

    Not sure how much of these foreign INTEL assessments and datapoints are incorporated in crossfire hurricane but they would be protected by our cross sharing agreements.

    Durham failed to gain any of the information he sought from our allies of what they have on Trump and was left with the Steele dossier and the “pee tape” to build a grand conspiracy from.

    Our allies did this not because they didn’t like Trump, but because he was a possible threat to their own national security. Which was confirmed valid and warranted when Trump shared the cross share agreement Israeli (classified) INTEL with the Russians in the Oval office with only the Russian press present. That was INTEL that the Israelis wouldn’t permit us to share with Great Britain.

    That man should not be 100 miles from any classified material either our own or our allies.

    • Bombay Troubador says:

      “all you have to do is keep complimenting and praising Trump and you’ll get everything and more”.
      That, or buy a few condos in Trump Tower with cash.

  7. harpie says:

    Could one of ew’s very creative resident wordsmiths write a poem called
    “The Great False Pee-Tape Panic”, pretty please?

    • Benji says:

      I dunno – still wonder if ‘Pee’ is actually ‘P’ – as in Putin tape. Anything at all that points to the existence of a tape involving the former guy and golden showers?

      To that end I will take a haiku stab at your request Harpie:

      In the toilet bowl
      of life – strive to be the one
      who does the flushing.

      • GB says:

        Maybe “P” is short” for “Pedophilia.”

        Trump was friends with Epstein, and he loved walking through the Miss Teen USA dressing area when the contestants were undressed.

        [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next. Select a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. Thanks. /~Rayne]

        • Benji am Groot says:

          Hard to say GB – given the persphinctery behavior of all the former guy defenders and appeasers it could be any number of things if it exists at all.

          But since I am here I may as well have a second go at toilet haiku:

          Birds fall from the sky –
          small animals sneer at me.
          I have shat outside.

          To quote Douglas Adams creation Marvin “I am in particularly scintillating form today.”

          (Rayne – changed up a bit to get ahead of the curve of 8 letters.)

          Your name was likely fine, but thank you! – bmaz

          [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

      • JVO says:

        I remember when his “secret pee tape version” dropped and was pretty quickly exposed – the froth was grew very fast for a hot moment for some.

    • says:

      –>Harpie – I assume you meant from the voice of the frothers? My first attempt to find that voice is below.
      Hopefully I’ll be able to get the voice out of my head before bed. Don’t want to have nightmares! <–

      ***The Great, False, Pee-Tape Panic***

      ‘No pee tape!’ ‘ No pee tape!’ ‘No pee tape!’ We shout!
      We must; we must, get this story out!

      We must now show HE'S been dishonestly smeared;
      we have to, you know, because he's unfairly been jeered.
      He's POTUS, for Christ's sake, OUR POTUS, our GOD.
      How dare they attempt to make HIM their clod?

      It's *us*versus them, no reason to lie,
      and we've got to win or our country will die.

      We want to untangle their great web of 'lies'
      and therefore must show there're no 'Russia ties.'
      Their web of big lies, made up by our Fed,
      their Fed, I mean, who we've slandered their cred.
      their Comey, McCabe, the lovers…. you know
      their Rosenstein (our Rosenstein?)
      their Sessions (our Sessions?) …

      on teams, I'm confused,
      but no matter what, he should've never recused.

      Important, the web, the web that they spun,
      because they don't like that OUR TRUMP INDEED WON!
      He won and they hate him, that’s the reason they [WE] gave,
      when the lover was anointed to be their [OUR] main knave.

      They plotted a plan to make up a hoax,
      spent precious millions, subpoenaing witnesses to coax.
      Witnesses who thought OUR GOD was mere scum —
      their 'scum,' OUR GOD, under big Putin's thumb.

      He's orange, we know, because of the sun.
      God brought him, you see, so lies could be spun.
      He's OUR ORANGE JESUS and therefore we must,
      worship his GODSHIP because *in god we trust*.

      Barr tasked his 'team Durham' for Trump to defend.
      They are men of the bar, so won't lie, won't pretend.
      They'll be honest and forthright, that much we know,
      because on OUR TEAM there's much shade to throw.

      Shade is their loss and our rightful win,
      we'll own them, we'll teach them… reveal their thin skin —
      those fools on the left, those self-righteous buffoons
      who hate us, who mock us, who draw mean cartoons.

      Durham will own them, we know that he will.
      Truth be not bothered, a witness to grill.
      It's OUR TURN now, our turn at bat.
      No pee tape, no pee tape, no pee tape — out flat!

      We'll own them, we will, when Danchenko's exposed
      when, by God's will, OUR MARTIAL LAW is imposed.
      Divine right of kings (OUR KING) and not rule of law
      must rule us forever because of their flaw.

      What flaw? do you ask. Of what flaw do I speak?
      The pee tape! The pee tape! The pee tape they leak!

      Durham will twist just a little and 'white-lie' if he must;
      but his sins are forgiven because *in god we trust*.
      We lust for all power, all might, and all strength.
      We know Durham will fight; he'll fight at great length.

      We'll own them, we will, when the verdict is done.
      The "pee tape" choir — THEIR choir — should never have sung.

      No bother with truth, there's many versions, you know.
      No bother, our country, we won't reap what we sow.
      What matters is winning, so we fight to the end.
      We must force them to worship, until at HIS KNEE they bend.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Bravo, tje! Now that you captured the bloodlust of theocracy at such epic length, you need some deep breathing exercises–at the very least!

        I would have a drink, so several.

  8. Yogarhythms says:

    Johnny Johnny Johnny, Ticonderoga No 2 pencil just sharp as ever. Only after resting “ Judge Trenga dismissed this charge because John Durham had accused Igor Danchenko of lying when all the evidence, including the affirmative testimony of two of Durham’s own witnesses, shows his statement was “literally true.”So can a Luddite or No 2 pencil hunt with a 2022 jury?

  9. Todd Gee says:

    Here’s how Judge Anthony Trenga explained his decision to dismiss the false statement charge against Igor Danchenko tied to Chuck Dolan, a charge alleging that Danchenko lied to his handling agent Kevin Helson when he responded to a question about whether he, “talked to Chuck Dolan about anything that showed up in the dossier,” with, “No. We talked about, you know, related issues, perhaps, but no, no, no, nothing specific.”

    Maybe a period or two?!?!

  10. JonathanW says:

    Meanwhile, in the bubble, people like Turley are spinning it as a good result for the prosecution, because it strengthens the other 4 charges somehow. I know this is bubble-speak, so please chastise me for even entertaining the argument for a second. But for all you experienced trial lawyers out there, is there even a remote chance he has a point? I’ve never served on a jury, but I would imagine hearing the judge dismiss a charge about lying as “literally true”, as well as seeing the prosecutions own witnesses make a case for the defense, as well as be exposed to the amount of chicanery by the prosecution, and have serious doubts about the other 4 charges.

    • skua says:

      Turley might be one of those who claim that heavy drinking improves (their) neural functioning because alcohol kills off the weaker brain cells.

    • Shadowalker says:

      “ but I would imagine hearing the judge dismiss a charge about lying as “literally true”, as well as seeing the prosecutions own witnesses make a case for the defense, as well as be exposed to the amount of chicanery by the prosecution, and have serious doubts about the other 4 charges.”

      Not a lawyer, but I did serve on a jury once. My understanding is that the jury was not present when that charge was dismissed. The reason why the judge dismissed the charge was because the defense raised an issue of the technical phrasing of the question by the agent. The agent asked if he had ever had any “calls” with a Democratic operative about the dossier, to which he said he never had one, which was technically true because the defendant only used email and not via voice in those communications. Poor phrasing by the agent, and even poorer performance by Durham in failing to produce any evidence like phone records to dispute that defense, burden of proof is on the prosecution. Durham must be desperate to include that charge.

      • skua says:

        More specifically:
        FBI: “But you had never talked to [Dolan] about anything that showed up in the dossier right?”
        Danchenko: “No.”
        FBI: “You don’t think so?”
        Danchenko: “No. We talked about, you know, related issues perhaps but no, no, no, nothing specific.”

    • emptywheel says:

      Durham spent much of his focus at trial (and 3 witnesses, two of whose testimony Trenga may tell the jury to ignore) trying to prove that one count. He admitted weeks ago his case re Millian is weak. And he sort of forgot to make his materiality claim for the Millian charges.

      I’m not going to predict how the jury rules–you never know! and I suspect at least one juror has security clearance, and who knows how the various spy vs spy claims will play.

      But having the charge dismissed after focusing all your energy into it doesn’t help.

      • JonathanW says:

        Thanks all for the replies. Skua, I’m sorry to say I’ve heard people make the weaker brain cell argument and (I think) mean it. And Shadowalker, thanks for the jury context, I didn’t realize the jury wasn’t there when the charge was dismissed.

        Dr Wheeler, I’m curious about why the focus on the Dolan charge vs the 4 Millian ones. My amateur read of this is that the Millian ones are harder to prove beyond a reasonable doubt (you’ve made the point about how many other apps make calls, etc). But is it a stretch to assume that, given that the main audience is the foxnews dot com bubble, the Dolan charge was a little more, to use your term, frothy? Hence the focus? Dolan is a Democrat with ties to The Evil Clinton Machine ™.

  11. Zinsky123 says:

    From broader mainstream media reporting, there are indications that Donald Trump is particularly tweaked by the “golden showers” allegation in the Steele dossier, whether true or not. He reportedly spent a year convincing Melania that there was nothing to it. I’m sure if Mr. Durham ever met the Orange Menace in person or talked to him on the telephone, Mr. Trump has conveyed to Mr. Durham his displeasure with this allegation. In Trumpworld, that meant Mr. Durham was assigned a task not unlike the quest for the Holy Grail and he has set out on a Holy Crusade for the Orange Menace to make sure no one ever equates the name Donald John Trump with urolagnia, ever again!

  12. Savage Librarian says:

    Deza Trap Ease

    We float to err with greatest of ease,
    skills of those who shoot the breeze,
    We may be part of the deza trap ease,
    That’s how we click, bait and hook.

    We can mine the Q’s & P’s,
    and recite the ACB’s,
    reflect on a klan’s diocese,
    That’s how we click, bait & hook.

    If we’re paid some fancy fees,
    we can do our best to squeeze
    out some flippant expertise,
    That’s how we click, bait & hook.

    As for the rule of law’s trustees,
    ratings are foolish degrees
    that some feel compelled to appease,
    That’s how we click, bait & hook.

    Democracy smiles and says cheese,
    with a selfie for a tease,
    The more it looks the less it sees,
    That’s how we click, bait & hook.

    We float to err with greatest of ease,
    skills of those who shoot the breeze,
    We may be part of the deza trap ease,
    That’s how we click, bait and hook.

    12/4/21; rev. 10/16/22

    “1928 Themola London Pianola – The Man On The Flying Trapeze”

  13. Franktoo says:

    With all of the shifting information, I would like to know if it is still correct that Dolan heard rumors about a pee-tape while in Moscow? If so, how authoritative is the source? Was that statement made by Durham or Dolan in a legal document?

    It’s my understanding that a text message proves Cohen heard the same rumors from potential business partners and that Hope Hawkins told the Mueller investigation she had heard the same rumors before the Dossier was published – though I’m not sure whether she heard this independently or from Cohen.

    I think the issue is important because it demonstrates that such rumors were present in Moscow for Danchenko to have heard, making it unlikely that Danchenko made up exactly the same rumor that existed independently. A source of raw intelligent can only report what the source hears, whether the consumers of that raw intelligence like it or not. Of course rumors don’t prove a pee tape exists, but Trump’s usual deference to Putin and past behavior make such allegations plausible.

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