The New York Times reports this morning on the politcal vendetta Attorney General William Barr is waging through John Durham to discredit Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian election interference to help Donald Trump.
It appears Durham’s work includes an effort to discredit an earlier FBI investigation of the Clinton Foundation, which was prompted by a shoddy right-wing hit job. From this, we learn a bit more about the effort of the Republican-led U.S. attorney’s office in Little Rock to breathe new life into that probe in 2018.
The article is mostly about the Durham-Russia angle, but the New York Times is naturally happy to rewind the Clinton scandals, with a trip through U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland’s office.
Mr. Durham’s focus on the Clinton Foundation inquiry comes as concerns deepen among Democrats and some former Justice Department officials that his investigation is being weaponized politically to help Mr. Trump.
The Clinton Foundation investigation began about five years ago, under the Obama administration, and stalled in part because some former career law enforcement officials viewed the case as too weak to issue subpoenas. Ultimately, prosecutors in Arkansas secured a subpoena for the charity in early 2018. To date, the case has not resulted in criminal charges.
Some former law enforcement officials declined to talk to Mr. Durham’s team about the foundation investigation because they felt the nature of his inquiry was highly unusual, according to people familiar with the investigation. Mr. Durham’s staff members sought information about the debate over the subpoenas that the F.B.I. tried to obtain in 2016 and have also approached current agents about the matter, but it is not clear what they told investigators.
A spokesman for Mr. Durham declined to comment.
“The Clinton Foundation has regularly been subjected to baseless, politically motivated allegations, and time after time these allegations have been proven false,” the foundation said in a statement.
There’s more. The New York Times lovingly rehashes one of its greatest hits — the scandal of Hillary email on a private server (a matter of little consequence in the Trump administration). Also, it replays the discredited right-wing suggestion of Clinton Foundation involvement in a Canadian uranium deal.
The foundation case — which had been spread among F.B.I. field offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Little Rock, Ark. — sputtered until Mr. Trump was elected. In early 2018, Patrick C. Harris, a career prosecutor in Little Rock, issued a grand jury subpoena for foundation records, two former law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation said.
A foundation official confirmed that the charity was served with a subpoena and complied with the request for information.
Want to bet U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland handed Harris the Justice Department’s marching orders? He’s a good Republican soldier. In recent days he has been dutifully parroting Barr bromides, including crap about Antifa involvement in Black Lives Matter protests, nationwide and in Little Rock. Local law enforcement officers have regurgitated it without question, despite absence of evidence.
But, hey. What’s another Clinton snipe hunt for Trump? There was, by the way, an earlier review of this matter when Jeff Sessions was attorney general that concluded the Clinton Foundation matter was not worthy of action
Maybe Durham, with help in Little Rock, has an October surprise coming for Barr to deliver.
Meanwhile, journalist Marcy Wheeler explains why there’s some peril for Durham and Barr and Trump in digging too deeply. It is why Barr will shut this all down once Trump is safely re-elected.
The probe of the Clintons was more tainted by political animus in the FBI than the Russian probe was. Evidece includes FBI leaking during the 2016 campaign about the Clinton probe (and her email), but not the Russian probe. Also a 2018 leak about a third bite at the Foundation. That’s a matter the New York Times managed to overlook.