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Special counsel John Durham’s success is that he was dropped into deep-blue hostile territory where the ruling elites dismissed him and managed to expose the sheer folly of the Hillary Clinton army’s dossier-fueled sabotage against former President Donald Trump.
Mr. Durham has, in effect, compiled an interim report. Read his filings in U.S. District Court cases and learn the most important dossier source of anti-Trump material did not exist, as least as an actual source; the FBI’s $1 million bounty to prove the Democrats’ hopeless dossier; a nonexistent Russian bank conspiracy; and cyber spying on Mr. Trump.
Liberals want Trump-Russia talking points to linger forever. But Mr. Durham forced them to move on, even if Clinton world has not expressed one ounce of remorse.
The target has now become Mr. Durham himself. The Guardian newspaper on Feb. 10 best summed up the left’s disgust: “Investigation into origin of FBI Trump-Russia inquiry is ending with little to show but questions over its own political bias.”
Aside from Mr. Durham, there had been a searing Justice Department inspector general report that uncovered rampant misconduct by the FBI and its dossier-inspired wiretapping during “Crossfire Hurricane,” and congressional revelations by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes and GOP Sens. Charles Grassley, Ron Johnson and Lindsey Graham.
The quartet exposed error-filled FBI affidavits, Kremlin intelligence penetrating dossier author Christopher Steele’s source network, and Mr. Steele’s paid prime source doubting his work.
But it took former Attorney General William Barr to appoint Mr. Durham to unearth, with subpoena power and sworn testimony, the final chapter, the final group of facts that eviscerated the Clinton gang’s anti-Trump influencing throughout Washington power centers.
Here’s what we learned:
This conspiracy was delivered to the FBI by Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann. He presented “white papers,” the work of a tech executive in Northern Virginia, cyber companies and a group of college IT specialists. Mr. Sussmann’s papers supposedly showed that oligarch-owned Alfa, Russia’s largest commercial bank, maintained a secret communication channel with the Trump Organization in New York.
Here is where the techno spying came in. We learned that, due to their federal contracting connections, the Sussmann sources gained special access to Mr. Trump’s non-public domain name system (DNS) tables. They were able to read Mr. Trump’s phone book and email spreadsheets that would list the identities of senders and receivers.
The collecting reached Trump Tower, the former president’s home. I’m sure Democrats don’t want right-wing computer nerds reading their private DNS feeds.
Secondly, we also learned for the first time that Crossfire Hurricane shipped the Alfa intrigue from Washington headquarters to an FBI cybersecurity unit in Chicago. The former agent who headed the investigation testified at Mr. Sussmann’s trial. She said the FBI examined huge amounts of email traffic at the suspect servers in Pennsylvania and Florida and didn’t find any Alfa-Trump communications.
Mr. Durham’s investigation racked up a “The End” on the Alfa-Trump show.
A D.C. jury found Mr. Sussmann, who always denied any wrongdoing, not guilty of lying to the FBI. “I told the truth to the FBI,” he said.
Before the trial, we did know one key fact from FBI text messages obtained and released by Senate Republicans: The email domain (mail1.trump-mail.com) at a mass-marketing server in Pennsylvania, around which news media stories rested, was never activated. It could not have been a conduit for secret Trump-Russia emails.
I have called it the biggest political hoax in American history, given how Clinton operatives delivered it to the top levels of power in Washington, including the FBI and news media. Its target was the president of the United States, and its claims were never confirmed.
What Mr. Durham did here was crucial.
The dossier report No. 95, July 2016, contained one all-encompassing 2016 election claim. It said that “there was a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between them [Trump campaign officials] and the Russian leadership.”
I believe this assertion drove the FBI, Democrats and the press to target Trump people for months, trying to prove it.
The dossier said conspiracy confirmation came from a person Mr. Steele described as “Source E.” We know subsequently that the provider of Source E allegations was Russian Igor Danchenko, a U.S. resident and Mr. Steele’s prime overall source.
Mr. Danchenko told the FBI he never told Mr. Steele that Source E talked of a “conspiracy,” according to the 2019 Justice Department inspector general report.
Source E was supposed to be businessman Sergei Millian, according to Mr. Danchenko, who told the FBI of a 15-minute phone call between the two.
Here’s where Mr. Durham comes in. He provided evidence in court filings that the phone call never took place. Mr. Danchenko never actually communicated with a man he believed to be Mr. Millian, Mr. Durham said.
Thus, Source E was a mythical figure who traveled via the dossier to the corridors of Washington, spreading the Trump-Russia conspiracy and providing the critical info for all four FBI wiretap affidavits. (Mr. Millian has always denied that he had any dossier role.)
At Mr. Danchenko’s trial, we learned two other blockbusters: The FBI offered Mr. Steele $1 million to prove his dossier. He did not collect. And after four years, with all its intelligence and investigative power as part of the U.S. intelligence community, the FBI never confirmed a single anti-Trump claim in the dossier, a senior FBI analyst testified.
A Northern Virginia jury found Mr. Danchenko not guilty of lying to the FBI in a series of interviews with agents/officials in 2017. He always maintained that he had done nothing wrong.
Without Mr. Durham, we never would have known that Source E, in essence, never existed for report 95; that the FBI put a $1 million bounty on Mr. Trump that remained unpaid; that IT experts acquired Mr. Trump’s non-public email phone book; and that an FBI office in Chicago blew up the Alfa-Bank tale.
So this is Mr. Durham’s genius. He exposed through court filings and testimony what conservatives call the Russia hoax. The Democrats’/FBI’s central piece of evidence, the dossier and its felony claims, is dead.
• Rowan Scarborough is a columnist with The Washington Times.