Special Counsel John Durham dropped a bombshell allegation over the weekend: Hillary Clinton and her 2016 presidential campaign used law firm Perkins Coie to hire a computer specialist to spy on Donald Trump’s campaign for information they could use to claim he was “colluding” with Russia.
Even worse, the allegation suggests, that spying may have continued when Trump entered the White House as president.
Durham’s role as special counsel is to basically investigate the investigators. He is tracking down the origins of the “Russia collusion” allegation against Trump after the public learned last year the FBI ignored evidence Trump was the victim of a dirty, politically-motivated campaign by Clinton and her cronies, and not a traitor to his country.
To date, Durham has indicted two people so far. He charged FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith for changing a key email in an effort to convince the super-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to continue spying on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. Clinesmith, who never revealed why he doctored the document or if someone ordered him to do it, pleaded guilty last summer to changing it. He received only probation.
Durham has also indicted Michael Sussmann, a Washington, D.C. attorney, for lying to an FBI agent. Sussman claimed he was not working for a client when he met with the FBI to hand over documents that he said tied Trump to Russia and a U.S.-based bank. In fact, Sussmann was employed by Perkins Coie, the powerful D.C. law firm that was overseeing the Clinton presidential campaign and was heavily involved in pushing the "Russia collusion" claims in the Trump-hating national media and at the Dept. of Justice.
The public was never supposed to know about that backroom political machine, GOP lawmakers have pointed out, because Donald Trump was never supposed to win the White House. But he did and now the truth is coming out thanks to Durham's probe.
Fox News reported on 'Factual Background'
So the latest court filing from Durham --- a computer hacker was paid by the Clinton campaign, via a powerful D.C. law firm, to spy on Donald Trump --- should make for some pretty big news, but Curtis Houck of the Media Research Center says the public heard nothing but crickets for hours and days. The major networks ABC, CBS, and NBC sat on the story over the weekend, he says.
“But in contrast we found that they spent over eight minutes,” Houck says, “talking about a possible Russian doping scandal at the Olympics.”
The media, in fact, sat on the jaw-dropping allegation while Fox News solely reported on the key “Factual Background” from the Friday court filing. It is that “Background” information, a Fox News story explained, where Durham’s investigation goes into great detail to tie Sussmann to an unnamed tech executive from an Internet company. The court filing alleges Sussmann and the tech executive used several Internet companies, and a U.S. university with a cyber security contract, to spy on the Trump campaign’s computers.
According to the Durham indictment, Sussmann and that executive later met with attorney Marc Elias, who was general counsel to the Clinton campaign, to share the allegations Sussmann later handed over to the FBI.
American Family News, which uses the Associated Press wire service for national news, published its own story on Durham's probe, citing the Fox News story.
The AFN story also linked to an eye-opening 2016 Twitter post from Clinton that praised "computer scientists" for linking Donald Trump to a Russia-owned bank.
Times and Post published 'analysis'
On Tuesday, four days after Fox News broke the news about the computer spying, NBC News summarized Durham’s allegations in an accurate Twitter post. The news outlet describes how a tech executive is accused of using his access to the White House to dig up “derogatory information” about then-President Trump.
That belated news story set off a flurry of social media posts asking why the news network had sat on the story throughout the weekend.
“They took three days to come up with a carefully coordinated propaganda response,” The Federalist editor Mollie Hemingway wrote, “and hoped to avoid even acknowledging [it].”
After jumping out in front of the story late last week, Fox News pointed out today that the media was belatedly reporting on Durham’s allegations with some tricky gimmicks that downplay or ignore Durham's allegations.
The New York Times skipped right past reporting on the allegations but published a “news analysis” that faulted “right-wing outlets” for pushing a narrative that is “off track.”
The Washington Post went with the “analysis” angle, too, that suggested Trump may have been the victim of “very broad sort of spying” that cannot be tied directly to Hillary Clinton.
Over at liberal NPR, the news outlet downplayed the Durham probe itself as a big flop. Clinesmith was a "low-level" FBI attorney, NPR said, and Sussmann is facing just one count of making a false statement to the FBI.
Both the Times and the Post, Fox News pointed out, won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the Trump-Russia allegations and were praised for their “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage."
Four years after Donald Trump took office, all of that prize-winning "coverage" is now being revealed by Durham to be baseless claims that originated with the Clintons.
According to MRC, which watched the media go wild over Trump-Russia collusion, those allegations were eagerly lapped up by the same national media that is now ignoring how it was used to hurt Donald Trump.
Every single allegation and innuendo about Trump, Houck says, "turned out not to be true."