Legal Pundits and the Washington Post Line Up To Mock Durham’s “Zombie Investigation” in Stark Contrast to The Same Mueller Charges

In Washington, there is no greater indication of wrongdoing than the number of people denouncing efforts to investigate it. The “nothing to see here” crowd went into hyperventilation this week when Special Counsel John Durham indicted a former Clinton campaign lawyer, Michael Sussmann. Legal experts who spent years validating every possible criminal charge against Trump and his associates are now insisting that Durham needs to end his investigation. The Washington Post heaped ridicule on Durham despite an indictment detailing an effort to hide the connection to the Clinton campaign and a concerted effort to push false Russian collusion claims.

Keep in mind that Durham was ordered to investigate the origins of the Russian investigation, including claims that those origins were unlawfully concealed or knowingly false. The Sussmann indictment involves both issues after he allegedly pushed a false allegation of collusion and then hid the fact that he was working for the Clinton campaign.

I have been writing about the expected push back to end the investigation of John Durham and particularly oppose the release of his report. Right on cue, the Post responded with a bizarre editorial from the Washington Post that suggested that Durham should just stop immediately.

Durham has been praised as an apolitical career prosecutor by both Democrats and Republicans. Nevertheless, Democrats have long denounced the investigation, even as they demanded full support for Mueller’s investigation into the claims.

It is the methodical reputation of Durham that makes him so dangerous. He is known for dogged pursuit of wrongdoing without political or personal bias. I have referred to his investigation as an “eephus,” a slow pitch, due to the impact of the pandemic and his decision not to move publicly before the election.

Ironically, before the election, Democrats demanded that Durham slow down or stop any action. Mueller top aide, Andrew Weissmann, even called on prosecutors and investigators to refuse to assist Durham before the election.  In reality, Durham decided that he would not act before the election even though it further delayed his investigation.  Now the Washington Post and others are chastising him for waiting so long.

Take Randall Eliason who is quoted by the Post in another piece as dismissing such an indictment as “all Durham’s got” and adding “there are a lot of cases that could be brought but aren’t because they are so trivial.” During the Trump Administration, Eliason pushed legal interpretations barred by Supreme Court case law  and offered strikingly different takes on Mueller’s work. When Mueller brought unrelated charges, Eliason assured Post readers that Mueller was clearly establishing the long-sought Russian collusion claims — which he ultimately failed to do. Nevertheless, Eliason told people to be patient and not get concerned with the “side show” of the indictments because Mueller was finally proving Russian collusion.

For its part, the Post editors ran a mocking editorial entitled “John Durham’s zombie Russia investigation produces an iffy indictment. Is this all there is?”  The editorial focused on the fact that Sussmann is charged with just one count of lying to federal investigators under 18 U.S.C. 1001. That provision is the classic charge for Washington scandals. It is rarely the original scandal but the cover up that gets people into trouble in Washington. What makes the indictment so significant is not the charge but the narrative — the very point that Mueller supporters noted when he brought the same charge against Trump figures.

However, the editors only refer to Sussmann allegedly lying to conceal his “associations.” It does not discuss the details of how he allegedly lied to conceal the role of the Clinton campaign in spreading these false rumors and getting FBI insiders to push for an investigation. Another partner of Sussmann at the firm of Perkins Coie was accused by the media of lying to conceal the Clinton campaign’s funding of the Steele dossier.

Even by D.C. standards, the contrast is astonishing. In 2018, the Post slapped back on those who were demanding that Mueller wrap up his investigation and questioning the lack of charges linked to the original Russian collusion allegations.  (Ultimately Mueller found no proof of such collusion). At the time, the Post demanded that we “should make clear that he will be given such time as he needs to complete his investigation.”

Now in 2021, the Post is mocking Durham for taking so long despite earlier demands that he slow down for the election. The Post states conclusorily that this is not as serious as the charge against Michael Flynn because Flynn lied about his connections to the Russians which was central to the Mueller investigation. It then states that “the consequences of Mr. Sussmann’s alleged lie are minimal by comparison.” The Post ignores that, just as Mueller was looking into the Russian connections, Durham is looking into the origins of the false allegations of Russian collusion. Sussmann is accused of hiding those connections in the very same way with the very same charge as Flynn.

The Post was not so skeptical or mocking in heralding similar charges against figures like attorney Alex van der Zwaan and adviser George Papadopoulos.  They also were charged with single counts under 18 U.S.C. 1001.

I questioned many of the false statement charges brought by Mueller as unrelated to Russian collusion or, in the case of Flynn, the abusive elements of the case.  I also failed to see the consistency in the handling of false statement cases. However, I still supported the continuation of the Mueller investigation.

One line also stands out: “The danger of special counsel investigations is that, given unlimited time and resources, they often find some bad action tangentially related to their original inquiry that may have had little or no substantial negative impact.”

The objection is almost comical given the Post’s editorials supporting Mueller who never found that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. Instead, virtually all of the charges were for lying to investigators or entirely unrelated charges. Papadopoulos spent of all 14 days in jail. Van der Zwaan spent 30 days.

There was no concern over “tangential” or entirely unrelated charges when Mueller nailed a California man who ran a website selling dummy bank accounts to eBay and Facebook, Richard Pinedo, for identity theft. Sam Patten pleaded guilty for failing to register as a foreign agent. Michael Cohen was charged with various financial crimes related to his taxi medallion business and other personal matters, as well as a campaign-finance violation related to a stripper’s alleged affair with Trump. None of those charges led the Post and others to object to a drifting investigation. Instead, experts praised Mueller for using such charges to pressure possible witnesses.

Judging from the alarm at the indictment, Durham has every reason to finish his work. While many of the actors are now beyond the reach of charges due to the statute of limitations, he is preparing a report that could answer many questions on how the Russian investigation began. Yet, like Trump’s demanding the end of the Mueller investigation, the calls to stop Durham only deepen suspicions. As I said in opposition to Trump’s attacks on Mueller, there is a point where you “doth protest too much.” Just as I supported the appointment of a Special Counsel on Russian collusion and his finishing his work, the same is true here. Even if there are no more indictments, Durham would at a minimum bring clarity about what happened . . . which is precisely why many want him to stop immediately.

130 thoughts on “Legal Pundits and the Washington Post Line Up To Mock Durham’s “Zombie Investigation” in Stark Contrast to The Same Mueller Charges”

  1. What is The Big Lie?
    Since 2016, the Democrats have made a ton of allegations against Trump, his administration, his nominees and other Republicans. Other than process crimes that would have never occurred without the allegations, has there been any original allegations that have been proven to be true? How many of the original allegations have not only been proven false, but they were actually proven to be what the Democrats had done?

    Just using the last 5 years for political accounting purposes, on balance, The Big Lie is not what the Democratic party alleges to be true. No, The Big Lie is that what they allege to be true is true about the Democratic party.

    1. “Since 2016, the Democrats have made a ton of allegations against Trump, his administration, his nominees and other Republicans. Other than process crimes that would have never occurred without the allegations, has there been any original allegations that have been proven to be true?”

      Yes. If you want to read some of them and the evidence for them, this bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report is a good start:
      https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/sites/default/files/documents/report_volume5.pdf

      Or you could read about the campaign finance violation involving Trump, Michael Cohen, and Stormy Daniels, for which Cohen was convicted:
      https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/michael-cohen-pleads-guilty-manhattan-federal-court-eight-counts-including-criminal-tax

      That’s a start.

      1. Boy, are you grasping at straws. Your party, in collusion with the deep state & your partner media, spends 4 years vigorously trying to take down a duly elected president, epically fails on all the big hysterical claims despite a massive media push & this is all you come up with? Absolutely pathetic, not to mention contemptible.

        1. It’s bythebook, his canned response that the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report is his tell. There’s a reason he now posts as anonymous.

          1. I’m not BtB. What’s your excuse for ignoring the lawbreaking by Cohen and Trump in the Stormy Daniels payoff?

            1. Entering into legal Non Disclosure Agreement that provides a payment to sign is a legal commitment entered into thousands of time a day across world.
              State Prosecutors, Federal Prosecutors, and the Federal Election Commission, have all declined to investigate. Due to clear case law and precedent.

              1. “State Prosecutors, Federal Prosecutors, and the Federal Election Commission, have all declined to investigate.”

                Nonsense. Cohen already pleaded guilty and served time for it, and the SDNY indictment specified Trump’s involvement.

                You can legally pay someone to sign an NDA, but you cannot legally do it on behalf of a campaign and then pay them so much that it exceeds the legal limit and becomes an illegal campaign contribution.

                1. Whether you are correct as a matter of law is debatable.
                  Regardless, you are incorrect as a matter of fact.

                  I would note that noth the facts and the law were closer to what you wanted with the Edwards case several decades ago – and that case FAILED.

                  Edwards used actual campaign funds to cover up and care for his girl friend and the case tanked.

                  Finally there is the problem that most campaign finance laws are both toothless and unconstitutional.

                  Whether you like it or not people can do as they please with their own money.

                  When they give it to others – in large or small amounts – it is no longer their money, and campaign’s and candidates can do as they please with it.

                  We have myriads of campaign finance law violations with every election. Omar and AOC among many others fairly egregiously violated Campaign finance laws and FEC rules – do you see them headed to jail ?

                  You wont – these are not crimes, the FEC most frequently looks the other way. Sometimes it levi’s fines.
                  And rarely the courts uphold those.

                  1. “Whether you like it or not people can do as they please with their own money.”

                    Tell all the people jailed for things like buying illegal drugs and solicitation of child prostitution.

          2. Or, for that matter, do you deny that Roger Stone was tried and convicted of crimes by a jury? Is he not Republican enough for you?

        1. What nonsense. Olly’s statement and my response were about “Trump, his administration, his nominees and other Republicans.” Several people were already convicted, including Manafort, Stone, Papadopoulos, and Cohen.

  2. What is lost in all the reporting, and even this piece by Turley, is the fact the FBI was using the super secret ‘Patriot Act’ to hide their slow motion coup. 99.9% of the population believes the FBI was investigating a crime. NEVER the case. This was always a counter intelligence investigation. That is why the FBI lied to the FISA court. No regular Judge would have approved phone and email warrants to spy on a political candidate. Not without evidence of a crime. Which there never was, Never claimed there was.

    Exactly what happened is what conservatives like Rand Paul predicted. The government is too corrupt to be trusted they will tell the truth.
    I have zero expectation that Durham, can, or will be allowed to expose the rot. Starting the the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

    1. “No regular Judge would have approved phone and email warrants to spy on a political candidate.”

      They did not spy on Trump. The FISC was not asked for / did not grant permission to spy on Trump.

      “The government is too corrupt to be trusted they will tell the truth.”

      Has it ever been any different?

      1. They did not spy on Trump. The FISC was not asked for / did not grant permission to spy on Trump.

        You are either stupid or lying.

        FISA warrants allow collection of all communications of the target….and two hops. Everyone the target communicates with, and one more hop, to who that person communicates with. The IC and the FBI chose their target to get to President Trump.
        The warrant also allows full access to 702 lookups. Backwards lookups just by entering a phone number and date range. The NSA has all communications for all US phone conversations. Ditto emails, ditto IP addresses.

        1. You are either stupid or lying.

          Neither. Refer to my nearby post re: Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals and Democrats.

          https://jonathanturley.org/2021/09/19/legal-pundits-and-the-washington-post-line-up-to-mock-durhams-zombie-investigation-in-stark-contrast-to-their-treatment-of-the-same-mueller-charges/comment-page-1/#comment-2123507

          In her Wesleyan college thesis, Hillary referred to Saul as a hero, a MLK, a Walt Whitman. IOW, theirs is an agenda to overthrow Christian based civilizations and make them Marxist. My family and I fled a Marxist country for this great country. Immigrants of all stripes see what Democrats are doing all too well.

          If it is any consolation, it is no different in medicine today. I receive the New England Journal of Medicine weekly in my inbox. Their most recent edition, see below free articles, has nothing to do with medical science research, but pure agitprop. I rarely consult NEJM in my practice anymore because it is as reliable in intellectual inquiry as Hillary and honesty.

          Call for Emergency Action to Limit Global Temperature Increases, Restore Biodiversity, and Protect Health
          N Engl J Med 2021; 385:1134-1137
          DOI: 10.1056/NEJMe2113200

          Race in Medicine — Genetic Variation, Social Categories, and Paths to Health Equity
          DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2113749

          1. Yet the headline on the front page of the New York Times of August 12, 2021 was: “Greek Island Burns in a Sign of Crises to Come.” The accompanying article, continuing the multi-year effort of that newspaper to spread fears about climate change unsupported by evidence, argued that this was “another inevitable episode of Europe’s extreme weather [caused] by the man-made climate change that scientists have now concluded is irreversible.”

            Almost every word in that sentence is either false or seriously misleading, continuing a multi-decade campaign of apocalyptic warnings about the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. Data on centuries and millennia of climate phenomena, constructed by scientists over many years around the world, show that the severe weather that the Times attributes to “man-made climate change” is consistent with the normal weather patterns and variability displayed in both the formal records and such proxy data as ice cores. In fact, there is little evidence that “extreme weather” events have become more frequent since 1850, the approximate end of the little ice age.
            https://lawliberty.org/what-we-really-know-about-climate-change/?utm_source=LAL+Updates&utm_campaign=a25b8d84fe-LAL+Updates&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_53ee3e1605-a25b8d84fe-72413845

            1. Well, not too long ago the left was predicting the coming ice age. Recall Leonard Nimoy’s documentary on the coming Ice Age?

            2. Remember the dire warnings by Jane Godall and others on the Left on overpopulation 20+ years ago?

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6JLvIxdbjQ

              Now they are screaming the population is shrinking because of fall in fertility rates. Abortion maybe?

              https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53409521

              Fertility rate: ‘Jaw-dropping’ global crash in children being born

              The world is ill-prepared for the global crash in children being born which is set to have a “jaw-dropping” impact on societies, say researchers.

              Falling fertility rates mean nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century.
              And 23 nations – including Spain and Japan – are expected to see their populations halve by 2100.
              Countries will also age dramatically, with as many people turning 80 as there are being born.

              In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime.

              Researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed the global fertility rate nearly halved to 2.4 in 2017 – and their study, published in the Lancet, projects it will fall below 1.7 by 2100.

              These “scientists” live for inducing fear and panic in others just like with COVID-19. Political Ideologies have replaced the Christian religion, and it shows in the panic porn peddled as “news”

        2. “You are either stupid or lying.”

          I’m neither.

          “FISA warrants allow …”

          But that does not imply that they acted on such an allowance to spy on Trump, nor have you presented any evidence that they spied on Trump.

          The DOJ Inspector General’s report that reviewed the FISA warrants and the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation — https://www.justice.gov/storage/120919-examination.pdf — did not find that they spied on Trump.

          “The IC and the FBI chose their target to get to President Trump.”

          In your imagination. What’s your actual evidence that they spied on Trump?

          1. I just gave you evidence that the FISA warrant captured President Trumps phone calls. IP address activities (the President does not e mail)

            To infer the FBI refused to look at all the data produced by the warrant, would have you believing the FBI is the most incompetent law enforcement agency on the planet, not just, the most politically driven.

            1. “I just gave you evidence that the FISA warrant captured President Trumps phone calls.”

              No, you gave zero evidence of them having done what you claim, you only made a claim that it would have been allowed. People often choose not to do things they’re allowed to do.

              1. So you beleive that the FBI got and renewed 3 times a warrant to Spy on Carter Page – as well as anyone within 3 hops of him, and then NEVER did anything with it ?

                I wounder how is it that you think Mueller ultimately established that there was no substance to any of the Steele Dossier claims ? He never looked into Trump’s phone calls ? Emails ? Those of his staff ?

                Mueller just sat there with his ouija board and decided that the Steele Dossier was crap ?

                How did the FBI conclude in Late Dec 2016 that they had no foundation for further inquiry ?

                Finally I would note that Stephan Halper and his Honeypot occured BEFORE the FISA warrant was issued – and their actions were classical SPYING.

          2. Actually Horowitz testified that the Trump campaign was spied on – he just used a variety of words other that spying.

            The facts are readily available – all that is required to know them is to avoid being propgandized by the left.

        3. It’s the latter. Not stupid. Lying. It’s what they do & it’s who they are. It’s a tactic & it works. Lying profusely & whenever called for to advance the Left’s narrative is a badge of honor for Democrats & their massive media arm.

      2. Are you daft ? A FISA warrant is used specifically to spy on people – sometimes foreigners – though usually no warrant is needed to spy on foreigners.

        The specific purpose of a FISA warrant is to permit spying on US person’s – either inadvertently as a result of spying on foreigners or as in this case – directly on US person’s.

        Not merely was Carter PAge “spyed on” – and he was not alone, there were other FOSA warrants.

        But anyone 3 hops from Page could be spyed on – that was the entire Trump campaign.

        We know there was spying.
        And we know they found nothing.

        Worse still – this is not all that unusual.

        The same FBI. DOJ, CIA, NSA has been spying on journalists, politicians, elected officials – whoever they please, with limited or no basis for more than a decade.

        Absolutely the Patriot act never should have passed.
        Absolutely Bush abused it.
        Though Obama abused it on steriods.

        And there are strong indications Biden – as with everything Biden does, it just Obama supercharged.

  3. No one knows how many get across and aren’t apprehended. It might be more than those who are. Those apprehended more than once probably continue until they succeed. So the figure quoted seems like a reasonable first approximation, and even on the conservative side since that was a couple months ago.

  4. Durham hurried this because the 5-year statute of limitations was about to expire. He seems to be (we hope) digging up evidence of greater crimes. Judged simply on the single indictment it seems like much ado about nothing but the 27-page explanation that went with it begins to expose the conspiracy that Sussmann and others initiated. For the good of the republic these people need to be brought to justice but the greater evil was the FBI using these allegations to generate a FISA investigation, then “leaking” the fact that they were investigating Trump to the press, without any attempt whatsoever to corroborate their veracity. Any half wit would have been suspicious of the extraordinary and salacious allegations made, but the FBI didn’t bother because they had a political agenda to destroy Trump and his associates; probably the greatest political scandal in American history. THOSE people need to be brought to justice. Same goes for the media which also ran the allegations without anything approaching fact-checking or even basic skepticism. They had the same political agenda and they knowingly printed lies with the intent to destroy the careers of several people. Last I checked, that’s solid grounds for libel lawsuits. Let’s initiate them and hold all the liars and conspirators accountable.

  5. The indictment highlighted the incestuous relationship between Washington Deep State/Democrat/Socialist powerful and the no-longer-free press.

  6. Many months before Mueller’s report, I provoked outrage from my Democratic friends by saying “he’s got nothing.” Of course, I was proven entirely right. And I’ll be proven right again when I now predict that Durham’s got plenty, which will establish shocking wrongdoing by the Hillary Clinton campaign and allied forces. Still, I can’t predict that this will be a major political scandal, since the mainstream media will do all in its power to bury it, just like it did with Hunter’s laptop.

    1. Howard, the question is, were they still friends with you after you were proven right, or did they they end the friendship?

      1. Karen S: problem is, Howard wasn’t “proven right”. Read the Mueller Report. Read what Dan Coats had to say about Russians helping Trump cheat. And, Trump refused to cooperate with the Mueller investigation, too.

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