What Americans heard in the hallowed halls of the Capitol should chill them to the core
Special Counsel John Durham recently appeared before Congress to answer questions about his bombshell report on the FBI’s botched handling of Donald Trump’s alleged Russian collusion in 2016, and what Americans heard in the hallowed halls of the Capitol should chill them to the core.
Durham told the House Judiciary Committee, “The FBI was too willing to accept and use politically funded and uncorroborated opposition research, such as the Steele dossier. The FBI relied on the dossier and FISA applications, knowing there was likely material originating from a political campaign or political opponent.”
And whose political campaign you might ask was funneling this false information to the FBI? Why that would be Hillary Clinton’s, Trump’s 2016 presidential opponent.
As if this weren’t bad enough, and it most assuredly is, at almost the same time as the same FBI was opening a case on Trump under false pretenses, it was closing its investigation on Clinton’s mishandling of classified materials with no charges.
In the report, Durham called the treatment of Democrat Clinton and Republican Trump “markedly different,” which is a nice way of saying it stinks to high heaven.
Put bluntly, according to Durham, the FBI had ample evidence to believe that the dirt dug up on Trump was coming from Clinton’s camp, that it was opposition research, not the product of a legitimate investigation, but they didn’t care.
In another stunning revelation, we learned that the original head of Crossfire Hurricane, as the probe into Trump was known, was never shown key information that pointed to the Clinton campaign as the source. Apparently, upon learning this, that agent, Joe Pientka, was absolutely furious. Who wouldn’t be?
This all came around the time, as you might remember, that FBI employees and star-crossed lovers Peter Stzrok and Lisa Page were texting love notes about how they would never let Trump become president.
Democrats on the committee who have no curiosity whatsoever about the Durham report, even though the FBI itself admits wrongdoing and says it has made corrections, spent the morning berating and insulting the witness.
Durham was called a political hack, and one Democrat lawmaker suggested that his reputation had been sullied by allegedly helping Trump, to which an unbowed special counsel replied, “My concern about my reputation is with the people who I respect and my family and my Lord. And I’m perfectly comfortable with my reputation with them.”
What makes Durham’s discoveries so damning, both in the report and in his testimony, is that the very same Department of Justice he so deeply criticizes for playing politics is not just once again investigating Trump as he runs for president, but indicting him this time.
Think about that. Durham has proven that the Russian collusion investigation against Trump in 2016 was poorly predicated and politically motivated. Why should any American have the slightest bit of faith that anything has changed?
Maybe if Democrats took this matter remotely seriously, if they were able to admit the wrongdoing, as the FBI has done, then we could start to rebuild faith in these institutions. But instead, committee Democrats ignored it and amazingly used their time to continue their farcical harping about Trump and Russia.
As committee Chairman Jim Jordan put it, “Sixty percent of Americans now believe there is a double standard at the Justice Department. You know why they believe that, ’cause there is! That has got to change.”
The United States is in uncharted waters. The leading GOP candidate for president is headed to a federal trial that could lead to him campaigning from a jail cell and the majority of Americans do not trust the agency running that case. That is frankly terrifying.
Thankfully Republicans, including many who aren’t named Trump, are sitting up, taking notice and promising to deliver change. That includes Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has made DOJ reform a center of his presidential campaign, and Sen. Tim Scott, who says as president he would fire FBI Director Christopher Wray.
All of the GOP candidates and indeed every GOP elected official need to keep the focus where it belongs — on a Department of Justice that far from being blind glares at conservatives like Trump and his associates, while winking at Democrats like Clinton and Hunter Biden.
When there are two sets of laws in a society, there is no law at all, there is only power. John Durham has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is exactly what is going on in the Department of Justice, and if that doesn’t change then nothing else will.
By David Marcus: a columnist living in West Virginia and the author of “Charade: The COVID Lies That Crushed A Nation.”