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Media Shame Durham After Danchenko Verdict, But It’s Russia Hoaxers Who Should Be Embarrassed

John Durham side profile
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Jury verdicts are not an indictment of John Durham, and he is not the one who should be embarrassed.


A Virginia jury acquitted Steele dossier’s primary sub-source Igor Danchenko on Tuesday of charges he lied to the FBI about a supposed telephone call he received in the summer of 2016. On numerous occasions during the Crossfire Hurricane and Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigations, Danchenko told the FBI he had received an anonymous telephone call from an individual he believed was Sergei Millian. 

Among other things, Danchenko maintained the caller revealed there was a well-developed “conspiracy of cooperation” between the Trump campaign and Russian officials — claims Christopher Steele incorporated into his infamous dossier, which the FBI then used to obtain four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, court orders to intercept Carter Page’s telephone and email conversations.

Tuesday’s non-guilty verdict came after a day-and-a-half of deliberation and following a four-day trial at which Special Counsel John Durham’s team presented evidence that Danchenko did not know Millian and had not received any telephone calls during the relevant time frame that might fit the description of the call Danchenko claimed he received. 

Danchenko’s defense attorneys skillfully countered that Danchenko had told the FBI that the anonymous call may have been received on an internet app and thus there would be no record of the call. The defense team also provided the jury with evidence showing that Danchenko and Millian were both in New York during the time frame in which Danchenko claimed they had scheduled a meeting.

The jury’s acquittal followed the dismissal on Friday by presiding Judge Anthony Trenga of the special counsel’s false-statement count premised on Danchenko’s claim to the FBI that he had never “talked” to Charles Dolan — a Democrat booster and Clinton crony — about portions of the dossier. In tossing that count, Trenga reasoned that because Danchenko’s relevant exchanges with Dolan were via email, it was literally true that Danchenko had not “talked” with him about the material contained in the dossier. 

No sooner had news broken of the jury’s non-guilty verdict on the remaining four counts than the Russia-collusion hoaxers declared the defeat an “embarrassment” to Special Counsel Durham, with CNN’s reporting representative of the narrative: 

Durham has taken two cases to trial, and both have ended in acquittals. After more than three years looking for misconduct in the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe, Durham has only secured one conviction: the guilty plea of a low-level FBI lawyer, who got probation.

No doubt, the acquittal of Danchenko, and before him former Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann, were disappointing. But the jury verdicts are not an indictment of Durham, and he is not the one who should be embarrassed.

Hillary Clinton should be embarrassed for laundering money through her campaign’s law firm to pay Russian nationals, such as Danchenko, for the salacious and false “intel” contained in the Steele dossier that was then peddled on her behalf to the Department of Justice, FBI, and CIA, resulting in the illegal surveillance of an American citizen.

Likewise, every DOJ and FBI employee responsible for using the uncorroborated Steele memoranda to obtain four FISA court orders to surveil Carter Page should be embarrassed, as should the FISA court judges responsible for authorizing the most intrusive court-ordered surveillance possible based on what was clearly double and triple hearsay from sources of unknown reliability.

The DOJ and FBI employees responsible for launching an investigation into a presidential candidate’s campaign based on the pretext that a low-level volunteer adviser had made a passing comment over drinks to an Australian diplomat that the Russians might release information detrimental to Clinton should be embarrassed, and they should be embarrassed for continuing the charade for years knowing there was no “there” there.

Former FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok should be embarrassed about many things: his extramarital affair, his launching of Crossfire Hurricane, his plotting to prompt the removal of then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, his making of the most “impactful series of missteps” seen in some 20-plus years at the bureau that “called into question” and “thoroughly damaged the reputation” of the FBI, his sneering at Congress and gloating on Twitter, and his lack of shame that allows him to present himself as a pundit. 

Those corporate media outlets that feature Strzok should likewise be embarrassed.

Equally embarrassed should be James Comey — for giving Trump a defensive briefing to provide CNN a hook to report the dossier, for taking secret notes of his conversations with the president and then using a lawyer pal to leak those to the media once he was fired to prompt the appointment of a special counsel, for failing to inform then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions of developments in the case prior to Session’s recusal, for overseeing the Crossfire Hurricane debacle and violating Page’s constitutional rights, and for having no shame.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, should be embarrassed for lying to the American public, knowing the truth remained classified.

So too should confidential human sources Stefan Halper, Rodney Joffe, Steele, and Danchenko be embarrassed for peddling false intel to the FBI, as should their handlers — especially Danchenko’s, who failed to polygraph the Russian or conduct the many recommended procedures necessary to ensure his loyalty and credibility. And those responsible for approving Danchenko’s service as a confidential human source should be embarrassed they did so without regard for the prior espionage investigation into Danchenko that never reached conclusion.

Former DOJ General Counsel James Baker should be embarrassed for shrugging off the peddling by Michael Sussmann of the Alfa Bank-Trump-Russia hoax. And those computer scientists responsible for assisting in that hoax should all be embarrassed, too. Inspector General Michael Horowitz and his office should be embarrassed as well for keeping information from Durham.

Likewise, the agents working the Crossfire Hurricane investigation or assisting Robert Mueller’s special counsel probe should be embarrassed for not doing their jobs or for not blowing the whistle when others weaponized the criminal justice system. And Mueller should be embarrassed that he allowed his underlings to hijack his good name to get Trump.

None of this could have happened, however, had the media done its job. So those journalists who used their skills to sell the Russia-collusion hoax and who have since failed to report the truth of the scandal should be embarrassed.

And finally, every American who doesn’t give a damn that the DOJ and intelligence communities were weaponized to get Trump should be embarrassed.

But John Durham? 

No, he has no reason to be embarrassed by Tuesday’s verdict. 

Durham should be mortified, however, that his labors of the last three years have not brought reform but instead have bred resistance, proving the prudential path former Attorney General William Barr directed him down to be a dead end. And if the Danchenko case is his last, as has been reported, there will be no end to the political weaponization of the DOJ. That is not embarrassing, though. It is devastating.

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