U.S. Attorney John Durham
FPI / October 4, 2019
The 2019 impeachment "inquiry" has focused on President Donald Trump's communications with foreign leaders. Trump has forcefully responded that the "real" foreign collusion was done by the Obama administration and is, he says, still being weaponized against him and the 65 million American voters who support him.
Attorney General William Barr appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate something former special counsel Robert Mueller ignored: The depths of FBI spying on the Trump campaign, whether that spying was justified, and any assistance the Hillary Clinton team obtained from foreign governments.
That investigation has taken U.S. officials far afield leading sources to suggest the questions being asked may have triggered the "whistleblower" complaint about the president's phone conversation with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia hoax “is taking investigators to Australia, Ukraine, Italy and the United Kingdom to examine spies and their Trump targets,” Rowan Scarborough noted in an Oct. 3 report for The Washington Times.
While some in the corporate media are trying to pass the Durham probe off as merely an investigation of the Mueller report, Scarborough noted, in actuality, it is looking into how the Obama administration “started an investigation in 2016 into the opposing campaign of Republican Donald Trump.”
One major question being asked by Republicans is: Did the FBI assign an informant to plant information with a Trump adviser that, when repeated as gossip, triggered the Russia investigation which lasted for more than two years and cost U.S. taxpayers more than $30 million?
In a May interview with CBS News, Barr explained why he opened the investigation: “Republics have fallen because of Praetorian Guard mentality where government officials get very arrogant, they identify the national interest with their own political preferences and they feel that anyone who has a different opinion, you know, is somehow an enemy of the state. And, you know, there is that tendency that they know better and that, you know, they’re there to protect as guardians of the people. That can easily translate into essentially supervening the will of the majority and getting your own way as a government official.”
In his Oct. 3 report, Scarborough listed the connections being investigated by Durham’s team:
• Australia: Alexander Downer, the Australian ambassador to the United Kingdom, is the person who triggered the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe, according to the official Obama Justice Department timeline.
Australia notified the U.S. in July 2016 about a conversation Downer had with George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser. Papadopoulos, over drinks in London, told the ambassador about gossip he heard about Russia having dirt on Clinton. Papadopoulos today believes Downer was an informant, which the ambassador denies.
• Italy: Barr and Durham visited the U.S. Embassy in Rome last month to investigate Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, a Daily Beast correspondent reported. Mifsud played a crucial role in starting the FBI probe. Papadopoulos met Mifsud where he taught — Link Campus University in Rome.
Rome is also where the FBI sent a team of agents in the fall of 2016 to meet with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who created the Democratic Party-financed, anti-Trump dossier.
• Great Britain: A nexus of Trump-Russia intrigue. Mifsud told Papadopoulos in April 2016 that he had returned from Russia where he learned Moscow owned “thousands” of Clinton emails. It was this gossip, relayed to Downer in May 2016, that reached the FBI after WikiLeaks dumped its first batch of stolen Democratic Party emails.
The Mueller report listed only Mifsud’s Russia ties. It made no reference to his list of Western contacts such as Link Campus University, where NATO sends personnel for training; NATO headquarters in Brussels; the UK Foreign Office; and the State Department.
Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican, wrote in May to several government agencies seeking a fuller picture of Mifsud.
If he was a Russia agent, as the Mueller report contends, “then an incredibly wide range of Western institutions and individuals may have been compromised by him, including our own State Department,” Nunes wrote.
Mifsud has not been seen in public for months.
London is also where Papadopoulos interacted with another professor, Stefan Halper, a paid FBI informant assigned to ingratiate himself with Papadopoulos and other Trump associates. Halper also employed a female assistant named Azra Turk to flirt, as Papadopoulos put it, with him. Turk was also a U.S. informant.
London is where Steele plied his spy trade at his firm, Orbis Business Intelligence. There, he wrote the infamous anti-Trump dossier based on a flow of information from Kremlin intelligence figures. Steele funneled the information himself and through middlemen to the FBI, the Justice Department, the White House, the State Department and the liberal news media. The FBI was so captivated by his work that it used the dossier as evidence to obtain at least one yearlong wiretap on a Trump campaign adviser. The FBI also tried to hire Steele to investigate the Trump presidency.
A Washington Times analysis showed that not one of Mr. Steele’s 13 conspiracy charges — such as Trump, as a Russian spy, financed Moscow computer hacking — was substantiated by Mueller or any congressional probe.
• Ukraine: Government officials cooperated with the Democrats in 2016 to try to provide dirt on Trump and his campaign manager, Paul Manafort. A “black ledger” appeared in the U.S. press that summer. It supposedly showed illegal cash payments from the Russia-friendly Ukrainian Party of Regions to Manafort, who was subsequently fired as campaign manager.
Manafort denied receiving cash payments and believes the document is bogus. The signatures on it don’t match his. Mueller brought no charges related to the black ledger.
In recent weeks, Papadopoulos has posted photos on Twitter to spread his belief that Downer, Halper and Mifsud were all Western spies sent to entrap him. He posted a photograph of Mifsud — whom the Mueller report described as a Russian asset and nothing more — attending a conference with former CIA and British intelligence (MI6) staff.
He also posted a photo of Downer and Halper sharing a dais in London a week before he shared a drink with the Australian ambassador.
“For anyone who thinks that the president is going to let Australia and the UK off the hook for trying to frame him and his team to try and overthrow his presidency for their own interests, I have a bridge to sell you in the Sahara,” Papadopoulos tweeted. “Italy was the first to flip and are ok now.”
J.D. Gordon, a former Pentagon spokesman and Trump campaign national security adviser, told The Washington Times: “The Trump-Russia collusion narrative was a clear attempt to subvert democracy by destroying a presidency and as many people in the president’s orbit as possible.”
Gordon added: “Since the shady origins crisscross the globe from the UK to Italy to Ukraine to Australia and beyond, it’s only logical for Barr and Durham to pursue all credible leads and hold those accountable for any crimes they may have committed. Unless those responsible for the abuse of power that created Trump-Russia mass hysteria are punished, that sort of nefarious behavior will become the new normal in our media and politics.”
Free Press International