New Durham Filing Clears the Path for More Indictments in Clinton-Financed Russia Hoax

The story was bizarre, confusing to the point of incoherence, but nevertheless added to a growing constellation of Trump/Russia collusion stories that called into question Trump’s independence as a candidate. In the closing days of the 2016 election, Slate published two articles by Franklin Foer purporting to expose a channel of communication between the Trump campaign and Russia-based Alfa Bank. 

According to the Foer articles, a group of “concerned scientists,” set to work investigating whether Russia launched a cyberattack on the Republican Party like the one that reportedly struck the Democratic National Committee in late 2015 or early 2016. The concerned scientists operated under the pseudonym, “Tea Leaves,” in part to protect their “relationship with the networks and banks that employ [one of the “scientists”] to sift their data.” The article alleged, “the logs suggested that Trump and Alfa had configured something like a digital hotline connecting the two entities, shutting out the rest of the world, and designed to obscure its own existence.”

In September, Special Counsel John H. Durham signed an indictment charging Michael A. Sussmann, a former Perkins Coie attorney, with lying to the FBI while promoting the Alfa Bank smear. Sussmann denied having an interest in the story when in fact he was directly working on Clinton’s Trump/Russia collusion hoax. 

Contrary to the Slate stories, the Tea Leaves “scientists” were not disinterested, nonpartisan patriots analyzing publicly available data. One of these “scientists,” identified by Durham as “Tech Executive-1,” “exploited his access to non-public and/or proprietary Internet data,” including data obtained, “in connection with a pending federal government cybersecurity research contract.” 

Durham further alleged, “Tech Executive-1 tasked these researchers to mine Internet data to establish ‘an inference,’ and ‘narrative’ tying then-candidate Trump to Russia . . . to please certain ‘VIPs,’ referring to individuals at Law Firm-1 and the Clinton Campaign.” This data came from internet traffic pertaining to Trump Tower, Donald Trump’s Central Park West apartment building, and the executive office of the president of the United States.

In other words, “Tech Executive-1” abused his access to private data obtained under a government contract to smear Trump. 

Durham alleged that these Alfa Bank/Trump contacts were far from unusual and evidenced nothing. Durham claimed: 

[T]he more complete data that Tech Executive-1 and his associates gathered—but did not provide to Agency-2—reflected that between approximately 2014 and 2017, there were a total of more than 3 million lookups of Russian Phone-Provider-1 IP addresses that originated with U.S.-based IP addresses. Fewer than 1,000 of these lookups originated with IP addresses affiliated with Trump Tower.

Some of these new allegations emerged in Durham’s recent February 11 motion in the Sussmann criminal case. Durham has asked the court to investigate a perceived conflict of interest between Sussmann’s current counsel, Latham & Watkins LLP, and the many Trump-Russia collusion hoax players it represents. Durham suggests some of these clients face future indictments and may wish to cut a deal to protect themselves at the expense of other defendants. Thus Durham is challenging the use of a single attorney to coordinate the defense of all of these clients. This is a clear signal that Durham intends to indict more players.

The falsity of the Russia collusion hoax has recently become more relevant as the Biden Administration pushes a new allegation that Russia has begun work on a “false flag” video to provide a pretext for invading Ukraine. As CNN reported

press secretary John Kirby said that the U.S. believes the Russian government ‘is planning to stage a fake attack by Ukrainian military or intelligence forces against Russian sovereign territory or against Russian-speaking people’ in order to create false rationale for an invasion. ‘As part of this fake attack, we believe that Russia would produce a very graphic propaganda video which would include corpses and actors that would be depicting mourners and images of destroyed locations, as well as military equipment at the hands of Ukraine or the West, even to the point where some of this equipment would be made to look like it was Western supplied . . .  to Ukraine equipment,’ Kirby said.

The Biden Administration contemptuously dismissed press skepticism of the “false flag” video allegation suggesting any doubts were unpatriotic and supportive of Russia, stating, “If you doubt the credibility of the U.S. government, of the British government, of other governments and want to, you know, find solace in information that the Russians are putting out, that is for you to do.” 

The U.S. intelligence community’s role in promoting the Russia collusion hoax has seriously undermined public confidence in such pronouncements. Perhaps this explains why, notwithstanding a public relations blitz, only 13 percent of Americans are on board with U.S. intervention in the potential Ukraine/Russia war. Increasingly, the intelligence community seems not to care or notice whether the American public trusts it. If the intelligence community is unable to render apolitical and accurate intelligence to the American people, we should reevaluate their utility and relevance.

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About Adam Mill

Adam Mill is a pen name. He is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and works in Kansas City, Missouri as an attorney specializing in labor and employment and public administration law. He graduated from the University of Kansas and has been admitted to practice in Kansas and Missouri. Mill has contributed to The Federalist, American Greatness, and The Daily Caller.

Photo: The logo of Alfa Bank, Russia's privately-held lender. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV via Getty Images)

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