Last April quietly marked the second anniversary of Attorney General William Barr’s appointment of Connecticut U.S. attorney John Durham to look into the origins of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation by the FBI, the nom de guerre for a Trump witch hunt using a Russian pretext in search of a crime. After the apocryphal 2020 election, Barr stiffened the reins of the investigation against Democrat hijinks by designating Durham as an independent special counsel.
Conservative talk shows have long suffered their audiences to believe that a Durham bombshell was imminent, replete with handcuffs and perp walks. Each anxious expectation ended up in the rear-view mirror. The investigation has already outdistanced the Mueller probe and is now laboring against the headwinds of a vindictive White House with the power to prevent the release of any public report.
One ponders the investigative strategy, as it has carefully avoided painting the Obama cohort as targets. Nevertheless, at ground zero swirl the household names that flap like colorful ensigns over liberal news outlets, resonate daily at coffee clutches, and give voice to conservative blogs — James Clapper, John Brennan, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Kevin Clinesmith, and James Comey, the latter five part of a disgraced leadership cabal at the FBI that still exudes a ghostly and partisan influence in the front office.
As the Democrats continue to create false equivalencies between January 6 and far more momentous events, the FBI complies by raking the national landscape for MAGA hats seen in or around the Capitol on that day, canvassing neighborhoods for snitches and bringing scrutiny upon families and livelihoods. Just down the street, Antifa rioting, looting, and property destruction get a wink and nod as simply youthful expression not worthy of note on a court docket.
Many caught up in the conspiracy to overturn the will of the people have deflected malfeasance with Trump-bashing memoirs trafficked by publishers with hefty book advances seeking profit from a political era gone mad. With inverted notions of right and wrong, their tomes lift them up as stalwarts in the preservation of democracy — Undaunted, A Higher Loyalty, Compromised, and The Threat, all balderdash between stiff boards and colorful dust jackets that attaches de minimus to the greater treachery of a Beltway plot to interfere with the 2016 election and subvert its outcome.
In cahoots with the 44th president’s attempt to choose his successor, CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper went about using their agencies to muckrake an opposing candidate with straw allegations of foreign influence-peddling while the seated vice president and family did as much in plain view. A hoax FBI national security investigation against the Trump team starring Russian oligarchs, British and Australian spymasters, and peeing hookers served as an insurance policy.
Brennan is a man of complicated politics. He voted for Communist Party presidential candidate Gus Hall in 1976 started his CIA career four years later despite the fact, and endorsed the use of post-9/11 enhanced interrogation techniques. As CIA director under Obama, he took the agency off course and into outlawed territory to help his boss turn a political adversary into a Manchurian candidate. His familiar grimace during interviews and testimony evokes his Jersey roots, a Hudson County kid looking tougher than he is to avoid a schoolyard brawl.
Clapper’s a smart and disciplined military man who generally performs miserably in congressional hearings. His face wrinkles and crunches in discomfiture at every tough question, appearing all the more painful when obfuscating the truth. His loyalty to Obama was unflappable, but he was prone to missteps. First, lying to Congress about NSA data collection on Americans, then tripping over himself by testifying to Obama’s innocence in the Russian inquiry, and later reversing that an intelligence community assessment ordered by the president was the tripwire for all additional inquiries about 2016 election interference. After allegedly leaking the Steele dossier to CNN and waiting out the statute of limitations on perjury charges, Clapper joined Brennan as fairy tale prognosticators for CNN and MSNBC.
As head of FBI counterintelligence, Peter Strzok was at center stage during the Hillary Clinton email server and Russia hoax investigations. Text message exchanges with his FBI paramour, Lisa Page, suggested a deep-seated bias at the top of the FBI to undermine the Trump candidacy and presidency. The department inspector general put that in ink, bringing about the disciplinary action that resulted in his firing.
Self-assured and cocky at his congressional hearing, Strzok’s facial and body contortions made for an handy Jack Torrance parody. He has now barricaded himself in the Ivy Tower overlooking the Potomac and the city that brought him notoriety. Georgetown University, which gave the boot to adjunct Hunter Biden after he used campus facilities to create a profile on the Ashley Madison dating site, is once again showing its political stripes by hiring extramaritally-minded Professor Strzok to teach other aspiring young revolutionists in the shadowy art of counterintelligence. His Twitter page, opened in 2018, is replete with hundreds of posts still obsessing over Trump and Russia. All teaching and no tweeting makes Peter a dull boy.
Aside from being on the lookout for the scorned Mrs. Strzok, Lisa Page has enjoyed less celebrity and media swarming, disparate treatment best addressed by gender equity militants. The FBI tossed her to the curb alongside Strzok, but she’s dusted off enough of her professional reputation to accept an MSNBC position as principal legal analyst.
These are wary times for James Comey and Andrew McCabe. Although profiting from bestsellers teased out by Twitter wars with Donald Trump, they are no longer comrades. While warming up endowed university chairs, Comey was the first to break ranks with his former deputy director and successor, throwing him under the bus for a few thousand more book sales. In retaliation, McCabe flashed a memo from Comey circulated months before the Hilary Clinton interview laying out a case against her accountability. Beaten down and disgraced, they can still be found backstage in makeup at whatever liberal station offers them airtime.
Kevin Clinesmith, Durham’s only conviction to date, suffered a slap on the wrist for violating his sworn oath to the FBI, the FISA court, and the legal profession writ large. The District of Columbia Bar Association, whose sanctions for misbehavior are apparently issued along party lines, rewarded him for falsifying affidavits in furtherance of a coup d’état with a one-year suspension of his privileges. Can the juxtaposition of ethics and the practice of law be any more fragile?
When and if Durham hands down criminal complaints, don’t expect a mea culpa from the rascals caught in the crosshairs. They will deprecate the allegations, weave right-wing conspiracies into unfriendly legal pronouncements and proceedings, and serve short sentences at their estates or in federal dormitories where incarceration is an honor system, food menus are offered, and fitted khakis and designer sneakers are haute couture.
Informed by the treatment of Clinesmith, there may be no consequences for anyone. Guilty verdicts will be challenged in the sympathetic 9th Circuit, liberal news anchors will martyrize them, universities will offer pricey soapboxes, social media outlets will censor criticisms, and the Oval Office will issue pardons at last light. Their lives will proceed peacefully as historical footnotes. Even in the face of an indomitable but bruised Constitution, America still allows privilege and power to puts its thumb on the scales of justice.
William Barr knew how to navigate a political minefield. In his former calling as an accomplished bagpiper at the helm of the City of Washington Pipe Band, Barr mastered the musical script and set the tempo for a crowd-pleaser. Because of his prescience, John Durham will press on, pandemics and Democrat majorities notwithstanding. The Biden administration may block the public release of any report, but they’d be hard-pressed to quash the indictments of an independent special counsel appointed under the same authority as Robert Mueller.
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