The Durham indictments prosecuting fake Trump 'collusion'

This week the Durham investigation into the roots of the Russia/Trump collusion story laid down a second indictment, this time against a lawyer for Perkins-Coie, the law firm that represented Hillary Clinton.

Remember the supposed ‘hidden server’ at Alfa Bank that was supposedly connected to a Trump server for the purposes of passing information? The story was a lie concocted by the Hillary campaign, and a lawyer for the firm that represented her has just been indicted for lying to the FBI. He gave them the manufactured Alfa Bank material, claiming that he was bringing it to them as a ‘concerned citizen’ and not as an agent for anyone. It wasn’t true. The whole thing was a fabrication, and he knew it came from the Clinton campaign when he said it.

This is the second indictment Durham has brought down, and the first has already resulted in a conviction. In that case, a government lawyer named Clinesmith doctored an FBI interview report (302 file) of Carter Page to remove information (that he was actually a CIA informant) that would have prevented the FISA court from allowing a wiretap.

Here’s the current indictment:

And here is the press release from the Department of Justice:

From the press release (I bolded some important points):

I am not a lawyer, but I have seen several analyses of this indictment which say it’s a placeholder for further conspiracy charges. A number of individuals are identified by title they held at the time, and these include current National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and other people currently in the Biden administration. I have also heard that the Durham investigation is now focused on conspiracy charges. This indictment, so I’ve been told, nullifies the statute of limitations for all those who may have been part of the effort to manufacture evidence against Trump.

I’d be interested in what the SDMB lawyers have to say to this.

IANAL, but Lawfare is filled with 'em – here’s what they say:

From your cite:

As for it being one of the ‘weakest’ cases he’s seen, apparently a Grand Jury did not agree. So fhere will be a trial, and we’ll find out how weak the case is then.

But even the Lawfare guy agrees with the basics here : That the Alfa Bank story was a Clinton dirty tricks op, and the people who knew it lied. They just aren’t sure who the liar was and whether there is evidence enough to convict Sussman.

The same people were behind the Steele Dossier. The Hillary campaign had Perkins Coie hire Fusion GPS, which then hired Steele to gin up the dossier.

Does any of this give you any pause whatsoever that maybe Teump wasn’t a Russian stooge?

It’s irrelevant to my opinion of whether Trump was a Russian stooge. He was - that’s been established by nothing more than the public record (Trump’s own words and actions as candidate and then president). The only question about it is whether he knew he was a Russian stooge, or if he was an unwitting Russian stooge.

So what was the evidence of his stoogeness again?

We can certainly agree that Trump is an asshole and all kinds of other horrible things. But I’m having a hard time putting together the Russia connection without the Clinton dirty tricks as ‘evidence’.

Oh, is there any evidence also that he acted like a Russian Stooge? Did he do any particular favors for Russia? It seems to me he was pretty hard on them. Remember the 200 Russians killed by the US in Syria? Or the sanctions on Russia?

Brookings has a list of all U.S. activity with Russia during the Trump administration:

There were 52 policy actions or statements regarding Russia during the Trump administration. Which one of those was a Putin Quid-Pro-Quo? It looks to me that they all go in one direction: Criticizing Russia, leveling sanctions on Russia, expelling Russians from the U.S. banning the use of Russian software, etc.

So what thing are you thinking of that shows Trump went easy on Russia because he was a stooge? If there’s nothing, Why didn’t Putin pull in some chips?

Do we really need to do the work for you on collating all the news immediately preceding those actions? Trump acted against Russia when his lapdog Republican congress couldn’t stomach his hesitance and forced his hand and even then it was clearly unwillingly.

Trump personally disclosed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister. That alone demonstrates his Russian stooginess. But there’s a whole lot more - chiefly insisting that Russia didn’t try to influence the 2016 election, accepting Putin’s assurance rather than US intelligence. And tons of pro Russian public statements.

Being a Russian stooge doesn’t mean that Trump does whatever Putin tells him. It means that he sometimes made statements and took actions that were in Russia’s or Putin’s interest, but not the US. Whether this was because he’s an easily manipulated clown, or because Putin had dirt on him, or something else, I don’t know. But there’s no doubt that he sometimes said and did things that helped Russia and hurt the US.

Somyou are saying that Trump’s actions may not have benefited Russia, but only becuse he was forced into them somehow?

As for denying that Russia interfered in the election, that would just be Trump’s usual MO - any elextion he won was ‘the best election ever’, and any one he lost was totally rigged. I would have expected nothing else. And that claim doesn’t help Russia at all.

But you might want to note that one of the Administration’s actions was to sanction Russia - for interfering in the 2016 election.

Again, from Putin’s point of view, just what did Trump do that unexpectedly benefited Russia? Where did Trump go easy on them? What things did people call for against Russia that Trump didn’t do?

Honestly, I’m open to the idea. I do not like Trump. But it’s getting really hard to piece together the ‘collusion’ narrative as big chunks of the ‘evidence’ turn out to be Clinton dirty tricks.

That’s not a very high bar. As the old saying goes, “A grand jury would probably indict a ham sandwich.”

So if I found another President who disclosed classified information to another government would that also be evidence of ‘stooginess’? What was the classified information anyway?

Giving up a secret in conversation with another government is perhaps evidence of carelessness, but absent a quid-pro-quo it’s not evidence of being a stooge.

What actions did he take that helped Russia against US interests? For example, maybe he closed down a major pipeline project at home, then waived sanctions on Russia to allow them to build one? Not saying Biden is a stooge, but if Trump had done that we all know what the Democrats would have screamed. So what favors did he actually do?

To a strategic opponent like Russia? And doing it in casual conversation without the full involvement of the US intelligence community? Yes.

Do you have some official criteria for stooge status? IMO it’s a pretty clear sign of stooginess.

He repeatedly denied Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election, and resisted efforts to investigate it. He attempted to destroy the American system of democracy 9 months ago (forgot to mention that part - very clearly his most significant pro Russian and anti American action of his presidency). It’s very hard to imagine any US president ever doing more to help Russia at our expense than Trump did.

Two years of investigation and they’re just now getting “focused on conspiracy charges”?

Good for them for getting probation and community service for Clinesmith. And, once we get more facts, maybe good work for getting Sussman. We will see. Then we can compare those indictments with the ones for Manafort, Stone, Gates, Cohen, Flynn, Papadopolous, VanderZwaan, and the rest.

I still don’t see how this new indictment negates the findings in those cases and the Senate and intelligence reports of links between the Russians and Trump’s campaign. YMMV

That is literally what I wrote, yes. Here’s one example: The Republican controlled congress enacted a law for imposing sanctions of Russia and Trump’s administration went: “We’re not going to impose any. Just the existence of the law is enough of a deterrent.”

If you ignore the multiple reports from intelligence agencies of Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Mueller report’s setting out 140 instances of close interaction between the Trump campaign and Russia and the bipartisan GOP-led Senate committee report that corroborated and expanded on the Mueller findings and the fact that six people associated with Trump and his campaign were convicted of felony perjury due to lying to cover up their meetings with Russia and Jared Kushner “forgetting” multiple times to report his meetings with Russia on his security clearance form (itself a felony) and Trump repeating lying to downplay his personal and business interests in Russia and Trump giving the Russians classified information and ongoing extensive Russian efforts to support Trump on social media and so on and so forth…

…why, there’s no evidence at all! Sam has picked up a rock from a mountainside and is loudly declaring “THIS ROCK DIDN’T COME FROM HERE, THEREFORE THE WHOLE MOUNTAIN IS FAKE!”

Admittedly it is certainly possible that there was no collusion and that Russia just worked to put Trump into office knowing that he’d weaken America and help Russia just by being Trump…which is hardly a stirring exoneration.

Well, it isn’t necessarily collusion between trump himself and Russia, but collusion between elements of the campaign and Russia. I said, even at the time, that this was the kind of knowledge that would normally be kept from a candidate. Probably, ditto with any wrong doings, actual or alleged on the part of the Clinton campaign.

Seriously. I’m willing to bet the judge throws it out before it gets to trial. They were just desperate to show something for years of digging through a perfectly legitimate investigation looking for wrongdoing -apparently they issued the indictment on the last possible day before the statute of limitations expired.

The Alfa Bank thread of the Russia scandal was really minor, and there’s plenty of wrongdoing exposed in the Mueller report ( which was intended as an impeachment referral) and the even more comphrensive and damning Senate report.

But here’s a news flash. There’s nothing wrong with the FBI or any LEO agency getting tips or information from someone that has an adversarial relationship with the target of the investigation, be it political, business or personal. They can be a good source of information. And there’s nothing wrong or illegal about knowing or working with Hillary Clinton and I don’t know why you think her “people” would be doing anything wrong by bringing potential crimes to the attention of law enforcement. It’s not their job to investigate before they pass information on to law enforcement. The passed the information on, the FBI investigated and found there was nothing credible.

That’s how the system is supposed to work, whether it’s a political operative with information that might indicate that their opponent is cheating, or a losing Presidential candidate passing on allegations of voter fraud. The people informing to the FBI often have substantial conflicts of interest. As long as the FBI agents don’t, they system is working properly.

I don’t know where the idea that investigations can only be conducted by people that like the target came from but it’s ridiculous. Of course law enforcement officers want to “get” the person they’re investigating. That’s how the system works.

Nope. The problem isn’t getting information from someone in “an adversarial relationship”. The problem here is said person lied (or. at best, failed to disclose) about it to the FBI. That’s distinctly NOT how the system is supposed to work. Any potential conflicts of interest should be given to the investigating body beforehand, not lied about or covered up, as it is alleged Sussman did.

From what I can glean from the Lawfare blog, the evidence of this supposed lie is awfully weak.

Well, to some people a weak lie they want to believe carries more weight than strong evidence they don’t.

Some details from your Lawfare link, though IANAL and am not qualified to determine how accurate they are:

Sam, you failed to notice the very next sentence in the portion you quoted that considerably undermines how you’re trying to portray this behavior:

Emphasis added.

The analysis continues: