“You Will End Up on the Bottom of a Pyre”: Democrats Attack Special Counsel John Durham 

Below is my column in Fox.com on yesterday’s hearing with Special Counsel John Durham and the personal attacks that he faced from the Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee. Without challenging a single fact in the report as untrue, members heaped personal attacks on one of the most respected prosecutors at the Justice Department. Durham’s testimony was detached, detailed, and unbiased. He was everything that the members were not. However, one moment stood out more than the rest . . .

Here is the column:

Special Counsel John Durham has spent decades investigating and prosecuting mob leaders to murderers. Yet, nothing could have prepared him for what unfolded this week in the House Judiciary Committee.

Long praised as a professional and apolitical prosecutor, Durham looked about as comfortable as a Benedictine monk in a strip joint. Democrats accused Durham of being a MAGA stooge and a lowlife for his report detailing the lack of professional standards and factual support leading to the Russian collusion investigation.

What Durham found was that the investigation showed an abundance of bias and a paucity of evidence.

As expected, the Democrats attacked Durham and suggested that he was “tasked” with defending Trump and fostering conspiracy theories. However, the most telling moment came early when Tennessee Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen issued a dire warning to Durham.

Cohen said that Durham no longer had a good reputation because he has undermined the basis for the Russian collusion investigation: “You had a good reputation. You had a good reputation … but the longer you hold on to Mr. Barr … your reputation will be damaged … you will end up on the bottom of a pyre.”

Durham seemed less concerned about liars than pyres in presenting the facts from his team: “My concern about my reputation is with the people who I respect, my family, and my Lord, and I’m perfectly comfortable with my reputation with them, sir.”

It was like a Joseph Welch moment in another hearing with then-Wisconsin Republican Sen. Joe McCarthy. After McCarthy criticized a young lawyer in the office of Welch, who was chief counsel for the Army, Welch famously responded, “Until this moment, senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.” He continued the exchange, adding, “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”

This is not the first moment in recent weeks that raises analogies to the McCarthy period.

I testified recently in Congress on the Twitter Files and how they suggest what I have called “censorship by surrogate” or proxy. In my testimony, I warned that the government’s support of blacklists and censorship was reminiscent of the McCarthy period where the FBI targeted socialists, communists, and others. I encouraged Congress not to repeat its failures from the 1950s by turning a blind eye to such abuse.

That appeared to be taken by Democrats as more of an invitation than an admonition. At that hearing, Democrats attacked virtually every witness, including former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who was labeled a “Russian asset” by Hillary Clinton.

Soon after the end of the hearing, MSNBC contributor and former Sen. Claire McCaskill appeared on MSNBC to denounce fellow witnesses Sen. Chuck Grassley, Sen. Ron Johnson, and Gabbard as “Putin apologists” and Putin lovers. She exclaimed, “I mean, look at this, I mean, all three of those politicians are Putin apologists. I mean, Tulsi Gabbard loves Putin.” (For the record, she also attacked me as not being “a real lawyer.”)

In later hearings, Del. Stacey Plaskett, D-VI, the ranking member of the House Judiciary subcommittee, attacked the reporters appearing as witnesses as “so-called journalists” and said they were “a direct threat” to the safety of others by reporting the censorship story. Plaskett also later called for the possible arrest of Taibbi.

Virgin Islands Democrat Del. Stacey Plaskett attacked reporters appearing as witnesses at a previous hearing as “so-called journalists.” (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Democrats have attacked experts, whistleblowers and former FBI agents who came forward to raise concerns with Congress.

Now it is Durham’s turn. Rep. Ted. Lieu, D-Calif., accused a man who has served his country honestly and faithfully for decades as acting as a “political hack.”

While Durham noted that no one has challenged the facts in his reports, he was labeled as a handmaiden of MAGA and one more body to throw on “the pyre.”

Of course, the pyre reference ignored who was stoking and feeding that fire for those who depart from the mainstream narrative. Many have found themselves tossed on that pyre. Even when allegations were disproven, it did not matter.

Indeed, in the hearing, various Democrats were resurrecting bogus past claims about criminal acts linked to a meeting in Trump Tower with Russian figures. No one, including former FBI director Robert Mueller, found any such criminal conduct despite a host of legal experts declaring clear evidence of crime on cable programs.

Despite dozens of crimes long alleged by pundits and politicians that were never charged, their reputations are of course intact. That’s the point of Cohen’s advice. If you want a future, get on the team.

After all, figures like Peter Strzok were fired for bias and misconduct. It was Strzok who was part of launching a full investigation within three days of an account of a comment in a pub. It was Strzok who promised his colleague and lover Lisa Page that she did not have to worry about Trump being elected: “there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take the risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

It was Strzok who countermanded agents who wanted to close Crossfire Razor due to a lack of evidence against Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Adviser.

As expected, the Democrats attacked Durham and suggested that he was “tasked” with defending Trump and fostering conspiracy theories. However, the most telling moment came early when Tennessee Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen issued a dire warning to Durham.

However, Strzok did what Cohen suggested. He stuck with the narrative and found a soft landing on sites like LawFare, CNN and MSNBC as an analyst. He got the parade not the pyre.

There was an obvious frustration that the attacks did not seem to matter to Durham. His North Star has remained constant in maintaining his own integrity and his reputation with “the people I respect.” That clearly does not include some of these members.

However, it likely includes some of the professionals referenced in Durham’s testimony. He spoke of FBI agents who came to him to apologize for assisting in the Russian collusion investigation after learning the full story. It includes an agent who Durham said broke down emotionally when he learned what the FBI leadership hid from him and had to leave the room.

Durham has nothing to worry about on his reputation. History will be less kind to the members who have attacked him.


206 thoughts on ““You Will End Up on the Bottom of a Pyre”: Democrats Attack Special Counsel John Durham ”

  1. Polly, that is incorrect.

    Not only did the jury in both cases say many things – several of them went on the news after the verdicts.
    We know exactly why they made the decisions they made – because they said so.
    I would further note that Sussman and Danchenko’s DEFENSE was – “We lied, but the FBI KNEW we were lying”

    This is a poor argument of yours.

    There is absolutely no doubt that Sussman and Denchenko lied to the FBI and DOJ.

    We know what they said. some of the exchanges were text or email.
    We know what they said was lies. That is pretty trivially established – and as I noted both defendants admitted that their remarks were false
    And we know that they knew what they were saying was false.

    Generally the Danchenko verdict was correct; The standard for lying to a federal agent should be extremely high when the FBI drags you in and grills you for hours.
    The only problem I have with the Danchenko verdict is that Mueller prosecuted and convicted people of far less consequential misstatements.

    But the Sussman verdict has more problems. When you walk into the FBI the standard should be lower. When you make a knowingly false allegation of a crime- you should be convicted – even if law enforcement knows you are lying.

  2. anonymous
    “Upstate Farmer is the Blog Stooge who writes two-thirds of all the comments each day.”
    I have 428 turley.org comments in my email folder right now. 18 were by upstate Farmer.
    Most were very short comments approving of a comment by someone else.

    Most were critical of democrats generally
    but contained no ad hominem

    All were civil.

    None were “gay themed”

    What are you talking about ?

    Darran has explained that comments that are part of the tree of replies to a comment that was blocked for cause – disapear.
    That is a WP issue.

    I have not yet seen evidence that leftists – calling those who are on the left on this blog liberals is LYING. Turley is liberal, Derschowitz is liberal.
    Leftists are anti-liberal.

    Very very few on the left have EVER been willing to engage in “real debate”.

    While many on the right constantly engage in real debate.

    SM wants to debate nearly every detail of absolutely everything with me.

    I have seen no evidence that Turley is banning comments that are not problems legally.

    There are plenty of leftists on this blog commenting.
    There are none who can manage a decent argument.

    Are you claiming that Turley only bans smart leftists ?

    Again I have yet to see that.

    But then again – you are among those who bought the colusion delusion and that hunter biden’s laptop was russian disinformation,
    And that covid came from a wet market.

    Not a record of good judgement.

  3. What I got out of Durham’s testimony is just how far down the communist rabbit hole the democrat party has fallen. No way in hell this country votes its way out of the schiffshow the US feral government has become.

  4. Every day, more and more whistleblowers are coming forward with evidence that Merrick Garland shut down DOJ investigations into the Biden Family. It takes great courage to do this. Thank God not everyone inside the administrative state is corrupt.

  5. Anonymous

    The constitution specifies the criteria that must be met for an investigation.

    The conclusion of the Durham investigation was that the constitutional criteria were not met – not even close.
    And the criteria to open an investigation is not very high.

    The FBI do es not have rights.
    It does not even have powers.

    All US law enforcment power flows from the president – and Trump was president.

    The requirements for being president are in the constitution.
    They do not include holding a prior office, or security clearance. Or providing tax returns.

    And we now know that Biden has NOT provided the tax returns for S corps that he or Jill own exclusively.

    The constitutions requirements to investigate Joe Biden for bribery were met long ago.

    They were NEVER met for the collusion delusion.

    In the US we investigate crimes – not people.

  6. 1) The DOJ allowed the statute of limitations to expire on alleged tax crimes dating from before 2017 involving hundreds of thousands of dollars more in undeclared income, including some from foreign firms such as Ukrainian gas firm Burisma.

    2) The IRS criminal investigation team never learned that the FBI had recovered emails from Hunter’s laptop showing that the first son was aware by 2017 that he had not paid taxes on at least $400,000 in income from Burisma from 2014.

    3) Neither the IRS nor the FBI agents investigating Biden ever saw the confidential human source information the FBI received and documented in a form FD-1023 outlining an alleged bribery deal in which a Burisma executive paid $5 million each to Hunter and another Biden family member.

    1. 1) From 2017 to 2021, DOJ was lead by Sessions (R) and Barr (R), DOT by Mnuchin (R) as the Senate was lead by R. House was lead by R in first two years of President Trumps Tenure.
      2) The “laptop from hell” doesn’t play any role in this context and only distracts from the essentials: Not least due to recurring bank reports about possible money laundering, the information was available to nominate at least one Special Counsel. But the Republicans in power did nothing!
      3) AG Barr admitted that he was aware of “1023”. He passed it over to “Scott Brady, the then-U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, based in Pittsburgh […] In August 2020, after eight months, Mr. Brady’s assessment was closed with no outstanding investigative steps or tasks remaining.” [1] In 9/20 87 pages report “Hunter Biden, Burisma, and Corruption: The Impact on U.S. Government Policy and Related Concerns.” [2] What did AG Barr ordered?

      [1] https://oversightdemocrats.house.gov/news/press-releases/after-repeated-republican-misrepresentations-about-the-form-fd-1023-ranking
      [2] https://www.finance.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/HSGAC%20-%20Finance%20Joint%20Report%202020.09.23.pdf

      1. Remember, that all those crimes were committed during obamas regime! Did you exspect sessions and barr to dig throug years of reports hunting crimes? Plus obama fixed everything where he could still run everything. That was hooking all federal depts togather. A network sort of speaking. Why? You have to ask obama.

    2. If you fail to file a return. The IRS can go back six years. If they suspect fraud, there is no statute of limitations.

  7. Joe Biden met with his son’s Chinese business partners, according to testimony released Thursday

    He confirmed career prosecutors originally intended to charge Hunter Biden with numerous tax violations dating to 2014, but in the end appointees of Joe Biden nixed the plan for a more sweeping indictment.

    federal prosecutors twice blocked search warrants seeking evidence from Hunter Biden, including one for a storage locker with corporate documents and another for Joe Biden’s Delaware residence where Hunter Biden was living, even though agents had met the standards for probable cause.

  8. Hunter Biden kicked out of $10K sex club for ‘grabbing women’s asses,’ acting like a ‘spoiled child’

    “And Hunter’s $10,000 payment led to Lawner receiving an IRS subpoena.”


  9. Professor Turley: “Merrick Garland is a person with unimpeachable ethics and integrity.” (8/16/22)

    Senator Ron Johnson: “Garland’s false testimony before Congress is grounds for impeachment.” (6/22/23)

    Professor Turley, how can you ignore this?

      1. The problems is not what Barr did. it is what he did NOT do.

        Both Barr and Garland promissed to restore integrity to the DOJ and FBI.
        Barr failed.
        Garland made things worse.

  10. 𝐓𝐫𝐮𝐦𝐩 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐟𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐭, 𝐬𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐥𝐞𝐠𝐚𝐥 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐦: ‘𝐅𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐜 𝐚𝐝𝐯𝐨𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐡𝐢𝐦𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟’
    Former President Donald Trump should testify in any of his pending court battles, including the federal trial on charges of mishandling classified documents and obstructing justice, a member of his legal team said.
    By Jeff Mordock and Alex Swoyer – The Washington Times – June 22, 2023

    MP3 AUDIO Link: Court Watch with Alex Swoyer
    𝐓𝐫𝐮𝐦𝐩 𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐲 𝐀𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐚 𝐇𝐚𝐛𝐛𝐚 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐮𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐫 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭’𝐬 𝐥𝐞𝐠𝐚𝐥 𝐛𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞𝐬 (good interview)

    1. Sorry the tinyurl.com link did not translate.
      It’s a really good interview for the Student as well as the Professional.

      Try this:
      MP3 AUDIO Link: Court Watch with Alex Swoyer
      𝐓𝐫𝐮𝐦𝐩 𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐲 𝐀𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐚 𝐇𝐚𝐛𝐛𝐚 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐮𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐫 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭’𝐬 𝐥𝐞𝐠𝐚𝐥 𝐛𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞𝐬 (good interview)

      1. Real President Donald J. Trump “kept the boxes” because he, alone and exclusively, had the executive power to classify, declassify and archive material, in any particular modality and in perpetuity, vested in him.

        Article 2, Section 1 is not qualified by the Constitution and is, therefore, absolute.

        If the Framers and Founders had designed and intended one or more qualifications of Article 2, they would have included those qualifications in Article 2.

        They did not.

        Article 2, Section 1

        The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.

        1. Did I disagree with you ?

          I do not think that the Brand video I linked attempts to address the law or the constitutionality.

          What it does address is the motive for Trump to keep the material he did.

          Brand does an excellent job of covering that.

          The constitution does not often tell us WHY it grants specific powers to congress or the president.

          Brand does an excellent job of explaining WHY, not merely why presidents have those powers, but why ex presidents would need to own the records of their administration
          Ultimately only the constitution should matter,
          But many people want to know WHY.

          The very example that Smith uses to allege a crime is both the proof and the explanation for why the constitution is the way it is. .

      2. Russell Brand helps people recognize that old taxonomies of Left and Right, as we once understood them, are atrophying to a point of redundancy, and that there is a requirement for a new political discourse that includes an understanding of personal spirituality.

        John Say, what did you find interesting in the Video? a few subject points from the video would help if you will please.

        1. Inter-View – what I found interesting is that the Left and the Democratic Party are now the focus of the U.S. perpetual war machine. Not that some parts of the right aren’t also involved, but: (a) to a lesser extent, and (b) whatever restraint exists on the continuation and acceleration of perpetual war finds its home in the Republican Party and/or on the right, such as Tucker Carlson.

          The above is reflects that the 180-degree flip from the positions of the two ends of the spectrum in 1965-2005 is now complete.

        2. IV,
          I try to expose myself to a wide variety of views – particularly from intelligent people that often do not share my values.

          Though that is increasingly hard as those like Derschowitz, and Turley and Brand, and Gabbard and Greenwald, and Taibbi and Weis and … are all headed my way.

          What would I highlight about Brands remarks ?
          The parallels to George Washington’s Farewell address, or Eisenhowers, or remarks made by Truman.

          Regardless, we are in the midst of a nationwide political realignment.

          What it means to be republican is changing. What is means to be a democrat is changing.

          Republicans are no longer the party of big business – democrats are.

          In some cases we are seeing the parties return to positions that were comonplace before my lifetime.
          Democrats are once again the war party, neocons are returning to the Democratic fold.

    2. I beleive he should take the stand in the FL trial.

      But there is no reason to in the NYC one – should that ever occur -which I doubt.
      The FL Trial is purely political. The issues are actually quite simple and prpping Trump would be reasonably easy.
      The facts are not mostly in dispute, There are two big issues – The law and Trump’s understanding of the law.

      All Trump needs to say – repeatedly is the documents are mine by law and constitution, and they are either declassified as a matter of law, or mine to do with as I please as a matter of law.

      Turn everything arround on NARA and DOJ – THEY were trying to steal what is mine, and they were trying to prevent me from defending my actions as president.

      I would note that DOJ has one massive logical problem that this focusses on – and that is the reason that historically – not only in the US but in the world heads of government can do what they want with their papers.

      I always found the stuff about the Ultra Secret – hillarious. While religiously kept during WWII and protected by western governments through the 60’s.
      The FACT that The German (and Japanese) codes had been broken and the big picture of that was openly discussed in Churchills books.
      Written long before anything was declassified.

      No one was prosecuting Churchil for violating the official secrets act.

      What is CLEAR about Trump’s exchange with Woodward – the likely journalist that Trump purportedly reveal the classified Iran war info to, is that Miley and others were LYING about Trump’s actions as president. Miley has claimed publicly that he thwarted Trump from going to war with Iran.
      Aside from that being a dubious claim to start – Trump studiously avoided military conflict. It is a FACT that we all KNOW that Neo-cons sought to push Trump into war with Iran – and that Bolton as one example is publicly angry with Trump for backing down.

      So Do we really want a country where the “deep state” can prevent former presidents from exposing LIES about their conduct ?

      This is actually an important national security issue.

      It is one thing to say that lower ranking officials can not tell the truth about their own conduct during a prior administration to protect national security.
      That is a complex mess of priorities and interests. While I generally favor truth and transparency.

      It is actually a constitutional violation to give the deep state power over what former presidents can say about their own conduct as president.

      There is a very serious constitutional issue that we face here – only because this is the first time that we have ever had a current president targeting a former president.

      Every prior president has actually understood that slitting the throats of prior presidents is slitting their own throats.

  11. Sean Davis

    Based on the explosive new IRS whistleblower revelations and everything else we know about DOJ’s disparate treatment of Biden and Trump, several things need to happen in Congress and the federal courts:

    1) A federal judge must reject the corrupt DOJ/Hunter Biden plea deal.
    2) Merrick Garland must be impeached.
    3) Christopher Wray must be impeached.
    4) Joe Biden must be impeached.

    Our nation is being held hostage by a corrupt, gangster government. That cannot be allowed to continue.

  12. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, Alexander Hamilton, John Dickinson, James Madison, John Jay, John Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, Nathan Hale, John Paul Jones, Ethan Allen, Thomas Paine, The Marquis De Lafayette, Henry Lee, Betsy Ross et al.


    Pusillanimous milquetoasts don’t do that.

      1. And you are “Aninny The Dastardly” who speaketh from the familiar perspective of compendious experiential poltroonery…

        and my most devoted sponsor.

        1. There is no world in which you are a milquetoast.

          Those who can not even post credible ad hominem are not worth engaging.

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