Fox News broke some big news over the weekend that was buried somewhat by the noise surrounding the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl. Late Friday, Special Counsel John Durham – who was appointed that status in the waning weeks of what became the end of Trump's term in the White House – filed a motion that suggests Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign and some associated attorneys paid a tech research group to monitor internet traffic into and out of Trump Tower in New York City. It didn't stop there; in fact, according to Durham's filing, that "infiltration" continued post-election to monitor internet traffic associated with the Executive Office of the President of the United States.
The objective behind the data mining – to quote the Durham filing – was "to establish 'an inference' and 'narrative' tying then-candidate Trump to Russia" … in order "to please certain 'VIPs,' referring to individuals at [a law firm] and the Clinton campaign."
"This is a scandal far greater in scope and magnitude than Watergate ..." (Former President Donald Trump)
In a statement released on Saturday, former President Donald Trump argued that the Durham filing provides "indisputable evidence" that both his campaign and his presidency were "spied on by operatives paid by [the Clinton campaign] in an effort to develop a completely fabricated connection to Russia." He continued:
"This is a scandal far greater in scope and magnitude than Watergate and those who were involved in and knew about this spying operation should be subject to criminal prosecution. In a stronger period of time in our country, this crime would have been punishable by death. In addition, reparations should be paid to those in our country who have been damaged by this."
"Spying on the president of the United States and infiltrating the White House to do so are criminal acts. The allegations in Special Counsel John Durham's filing are evidence of a high-tech Watergate. Concocting a disinformation campaign to falsely accuse Donald Trump of colluding with a foreign power is terrible enough, but these dirty tricks, which may have been paid for by the Clinton campaign, take the scheme to an unconscionable level of criminality."
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told Fox News the federal filing proves Trump's claim that he was being spied on – a claim that "60 Minutes" journalist Lesley Stahl pooh-poohed during an interview in October 2020.
Jordan: "… There was spying going on, and it was worse than we thought because they were spying on the sitting president of the United States. And it goes right to the Clinton campaign. So God bless John Durham. His investigation is taking a long time. But we're getting to now what we all suspected. The only thing we didn't understand was it was worse than we thought."
"… This is just simply as wrong as it can possibly be …. We do need to investigate this stuff and get to every bit of information we can if, in fact, the people give us the majority here [in Congress] in a few months."
One week before Election Day 2016, the Hillary Clinton Campaign tweeted:
"Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-owned bank."
Attached to that tweet was a statement from Jake Sullivan – who was then senior policy adviser to the Clinton campaign; and is currently Joe Biden's national security adviser – offering more details on that allegation:
"This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump's ties to Russia. It certainly seems the Trump Organization felt it had something to hide, given that it apparently took steps to conceal the link when it was discovered by journalists.
"This line of communication may help explain Trump's bizarre adoration of Vladimir Putin and endorsement of so many pro-Kremlin positions throughout his campaign …. We can only assume that federal authorities will now explore this direct connection between Trump and Russia as part of their existing probe into Russia's meddling in our elections."
Those allegations were underlying the Democrats' first impeachment of Trump in late 2019. After two months of hearings, the Democratic-led House impeached Trump. However, he was acquitted of the charges in February 2020.
In mid-2019, U.S. Attorney General William Barr had assigned John Durham to examine origins of the Trump-Russian probe. A little more than a year later, Kevin Clinesmith plead guilty to felony count of altering email, becoming the first criminal case stemming from probe. The month before the 2020 presidential election (Trump vs. Biden), Barr gave Durham special counsel status – which would allow Durham to continue his investigation regardless of the outcome of the election. Just last fall, two indictments resulted from the Durham investigation: Michael Sussmann (an attorney who had done legal work for both the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign), for making false statements to FBI (September 2021); and Russian analyst Igor Danchenko, for making false statements to FBI (November 2021).
What's happening next?
Now it appears some even more recognizable names associated with the 2016 Clinton campaign could be added to that list. Durham describes, but doesn't identify: a law partner at "Law Firm-1" (who was serving as General Counsel to the Clinton campaign); a "Tech Executive-1" (who Durham says "exploited his access to non-public and/or proprietary internet data"); and certain "VIPs" (individuals at Law Firm-1 and the Clinton campaign).
On a broadcast earlier today, attorney Jay Sekulow with American Center for Law & Justice suggested two names to look for: Jake Sullivan, the current national security adviser to President Joe Biden; and Colin Kahl, current Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and former national security adviser to Biden when he was vice president under Barack Obama.
2/15/2022 - Sidebar added.