By Jon Dougherty @TheNatSent
(TNS) As the country remains preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic, there are other things happening in the background that will have every bit as much of an impact on our country going forward.
One of them is the continuing criminal investigation into the origins of “Spygate,” the Obama-era operation to prevent Donald Trump from winning the presidency and then depose him after the fact.
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It seems like decades ago when Attorney General William Barr appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to look into Spygate — how it began, why it began, who was involved in the planning and execution, were any laws violated in the process, etc.
Along the way, Durham and Barr must have seen some evidence suggesting that laws had been broken because the ‘review’ turned into a criminal investigation.
Now, months later, sources say that the probe is focusing on manic Trump hater and former CIA Director-turned-CNN spin doctor John Brennan, according to the Washington Examiner:
U.S. Attorney John Durham’s review of the Russia investigation is putting increased scrutiny on former CIA Director John Brennan, searching for any undue influence he may have had during 2017’s intelligence community assessment of Russian interference.
Durham, selected by Attorney General William Barr last year to lead this inquiry, drove to Washington, D.C., in March to ensure the investigation stayed on track during the coronavirus outbreak. The top Connecticut federal prosecutor is looking into highly sensitive issues, including whether Brennan took politicized actions to pressure the rest of the intelligence community to match his conclusions about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s motivations …
The Wall Street Journal noted further that Durham’s investigators have spent much of 2020 interviewing CIA agents and officials:
It has focused on people who are or were working at the National Intelligence Council, a unit of the Director of National Intelligence’s office that coordinated the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of Russia’s 2016 election interference, as well as on individuals at other agencies whose work fed into that assessment, one official said.
Increasingly, investigators are focused on former CIA Director John Brennan, examining whether he pushed for a blunter assessment about Russia’s motivations than others in the intelligence community felt was warranted, people familiar with the matter said.
The WSJ further reported that there is an increasing amount of tension between Durham and his investigators and members of the CIA, which is to be expected because the intelligence community feels like it is above the law and beyond reproach. Because the FBI has an intelligence function as well, the CIA and other IC members no doubt view Durham and his Justice Department investigators in the same light rank-and-file police officers view Internal Affairs.
As for the intelligence assessment regarding Russian interference, the Washington Examiner added:
The 2017 assessment concluded with “high confidence” that Putin “ordered an influence campaign in 2016” and Russia worked to “undermine public faith” in U.S. democracy, “denigrate” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and “harm her electability and potential presidency,” and “developed a clear preference” for Trump. The NSA diverged on one aspect, expressing only “moderate confidence” that Putin actively tried to help Trump win and Clinton lose.
Retired Navy Adm. Mike Rogers, who led the NSA at the time, has testified that not everyone within the intelligence community came to that conclusion.
“I wouldn’t call it a discrepancy, I’d call it an honest difference of opinion between three different organizations,” former NSA chief Adm. Mike Rogers told the Senate in 2017. “It didn’t have the same level of sourcing and the same level of multiple sources.”
Rogers, you may recall, reportedly slipped away to Trump Tower in December 2016 to advise President-elect Trump that he was being spied on — in Trump Tower — which led him to move his transition headquarters to New Jersey.
In December, former federal prosecutor Joe diGenova remarked in an interview that Rogers was cooperating with Durham, and that it was probably the “most important development” in the case thus far.
The Examiner noted that Durham is also interested in Brennan’s relationship to the bogus “Russia dossier” which was compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele. The dossier was used to justify FISA court warrants to spy on Carter Page, a minor member of the Trump campaign who nevertheless interacted with several members including the then-candidate:
Durham is also scrutinizing Brennan in relation to British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s dossier. In particular, the prosecutor is looking for answers on whether it was used in the 2017 assessment, why former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe insisted upon it being part of the assessment, how allegations from the dossier ended up in the assessment’s appendix, and whether Brennan misled about the dossier’s use.
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This is anecdotal, of course, but Brennan is a known ‘misleader.’
Clearly, the Intelligence Community is circling the wagons to protect their own. Indictments and prosecutions will come down to a war of wills, and which side is stronger: The cops or the internal affairs guys.
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