John Durham Advances the Cause of Justice

COMMENTARY Crime and Justice

John Durham Advances the Cause of Justice

Nov 12th, 2021 3 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Zack Smith

Legal Fellow, Meese Center

Zack is a legal fellow in the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
Russian analyst Igor Danchenko arrives at the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse before being arraigned on November 10, 2021 in Alexandria, Virginia. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

A federal grand jury has charged Russian national Igor Danchenko with five counts of lying to the FBI.

Danchenko either made up the information he provided or obtained pieces of it from Democratic operative and Clinton confidant Charles Dolan Jr.

The indictment says Dolan actually worked for the Russian government and a state-owned energy company from 2006 to 2014, handling its "global relations."

Last week, we learned that a federal grand jury has charged Russian national Igor Danchenko with five counts of lying to the FBI. The development has produced a greater implication of the Clinton campaign's culpability in the Russia-Trump collusion hoax.

Although Danchenko is presumed innocent until proven otherwise, the indictment, signed by special counsel John Durham, doesn’t paint a pretty picture for anyone involved in the sourcing and production of the Steele dossier. That dossier was formed by a former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele. But those involved in the dossier's development now appear to be either dupes or liars. Danchenko seems to fall in the latter category.

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The Danchenko indictment came on the heel of charges filed against Michael Sussmann, a former lawyer for Perkins Coie, for making false statements to the FBI. These related to nonexistent "secret communications" between the Trump campaign and Russia. Sussmann is charged with telling the FBI that he was providing information as a "concerned citizen," not disclosing that he was, in fact, acting on behalf of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

The Clinton campaign retained the Perkins Coie law firm to represent it, with its former partner, Marc Elias, as the general counsel for the campaign. Perkins Coie then retained a research firm called Fusion GPS to gather opposition research on Trump. Fusion GPS then contracted with Steele, who in turn relied on Danchenko as a primary source for substantial parts of the now-discredited dossier.

The indictment alleges that Danchenko either made up the information he provided or obtained pieces of it from Democratic operative and Clinton confidant Charles Dolan Jr. and that he did so without revealing—and, later, outright lying about—the fact that Dolan was a source.

Dolan, in turn, lied to Danchenko, having fabricated a meeting with a "GOP friend" who allegedly had insight into the workings of the Trump campaign. No such meeting took place, and yet this made-up claim, and other false information provided by Dolan, found its way into the dossier.

Dolan was the state chairman of Bill Clinton’s 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns, an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, and, as the indictment says, "actively campaigned and participated in calls and events as a volunteer on behalf of Hillary Clinton" in her 2016 campaign. From Elias and Sussmann at Perkins Coie to Fusion GPS to Dolan, the Clinton campaign left fingerprints all over the Trump-Russia dossier.

The indictment says Dolan actually worked for the Russian government and a state-owned energy company from 2006 to 2014, handling its "global relations." In that capacity, he "frequently interacted" with the "senior Russian Federation leadership." Ironically, then, the Clinton campaign, through the Clintons’ long-term friend and associate, had close connections with the Russian government.

This series of events would be almost comical if the stakes weren’t so high, the allegations so serious, and the perversion of our system of justice so damaging.

That’s why John Durham’s work is so important.

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As George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley observed, "Durham is known as a methodical, apolitical, and unrelenting prosecutor." While some have expressed frustration at the slow pace of his investigation—this is, after all, only the third indictment to come from it—Durham must take his time and uncover all of the relevant facts.

Remember, the FBI partly relied on the dossier’s discredited allegations to justify obtaining FISA court warrants for intrusive surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. After President Donald Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey, a special counsel investigation followed. It plagued Trump's presidency for years and cost U.S. taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

It is vital that we find everyone who misused the immense law enforcement authority of the federal government to target a political opponent.

This piece originally appeared in the Washington Examiner