Election Investigations 2 21 October 2019.

In April 2019, soon after publication of the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Attorney General William Barr appointed John Durham, the United States Attorney in Connecticut, to investigate the origins of the probe into allegations of a conspiracy between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign.

According to the New York Times[1]:

President Trump has “attacked [Mueller’s investigation] without evidence as a plot by law enforcement and intelligence officials to prevent him from winning the election.”

“Mr. Durham and his investigators have sought help from governments in countries that figure into right-wing attacks and unfounded conspiracy theories[2] about the Russia investigation,…”

One of these is Australia, whose government reported the contact between one of its diplomats and George Papadopoulos.

Another is Italy, where Joseph Mifsud, suspected of being a Russian agent, first made contact with Papadopolous.  However, the American embassy in Rome also once played home to a senior F.B.I. agent investigating organized crime in Russia and Central Asia.  If that agent is still assigned to Rome, did Durham also want to talk to him and away from the hurley-burley of Washington, DC.?

Another is Britain, where Papadopolous first shared his news with Alexander Downer.  Did Downer share the information with his own Senior Adviser for Intelligence?  If he did, then did the Intelligence Adviser then share the information with MI-6 and/or with the CIA station-chief in London?  Then, there is the whole issue of Stefan Halper at Cambridge University.  What were his orders regarding the Papadopolous incident?

Durham’s team also “has interviewed private Ukrainian citizens,…”  Are these Steele’s intermediate sources for Russian affairs?[3]

Soon-to-be-not-the White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney “infuriated people inside the Department of Justice” by suggesting a connection between the Durham investigation and Rudi Giuliani’s investigation.  Barr’s office has denied any connection between his inquiry and that of Giuliani.

So far, according to the NYT, Durham’s team has interviewed lower-level officials.  Some of them have been questioned about why Peter Strozk signed to approve his own draft of the paperwork needed to open the investigation.  Normally, it seems, this process involves two separate officials.  Also, they have asked the witnesses about why Strozk began the investigation on a week-end.  Apparently, Strozk’s superior was Andrew McCabe, who did not sign the document.

Durham has “asked witnesses about the role of Christopher Steele….Law enforcement officials used some of the of the information Mr. Steele compiled into a now-infamous dossier” to obtain a wiretap on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign official [whose e-mails and phone conversations had been tracked and archived by the National Security Agency.]

Durham’s people asked why “F.B.I officials would use unsubstantiated or incorrect information in their application for a court order…”[4]

Standard investigatory procedure appears to be to start at the bottom and work upward.

William Barr’s investigators have not yet interviewed James Comey, Peter Strozk, Andrew McCabe, James Baker, John Brennan, or James Clapper.

Again, there is much still to be learned.

 

[1] Adam Goldman and William K.  Rashbaum, “Prosecutors Reviewing Russia Inquiry Appear to Seek Bias in F.B.I.” NYT, 20 October 2019, p. 22.  This statement ignores the fact that the “Steele Dossier

[2] “Unproven” is one thing; “unfounded” is another.  Which investigation has proven these allegations to be “unfounded”?

[3] Reportedly, Steele began having difficulty getting information directly from Russia in June 2016.

[4] See: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/19/us/politics/steele-dossier-mueller-report.html

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