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OPINION: America is the jury as Durham exposes FBI in Danchenko trial

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As a federal jury in Virginia started its deliberations Monday in the criminal case against Igor Danchenko, Special Counsel John Durham’s final court trial revealed that neither the FBI, nor other intelligence officials involved in the investigation into the fake dossier compiled by a former British spy, had any evidence what-so-ever that President Trump conspired with Russia.

These revelations can’t change the past and they won’t change the minds of those who hate Trump but it does set the record straight. Moreover, the trial exposed that the FBI actually knew that the dossier was bogus as early as January, 2017, yet used it against President Trump and others,  like short term campaign volunteer Carter Page.  The dossier was an integral part of obtaining a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to spy on Page and those he communicated with. The FBI clearly violated Page’s constitutional rights.

It was what journalists John Solomon and I had argued early on, when the majority of media outlets disseminated the false narrative from high level sources in the government that Trump was conspiring with Russia. It was the king of lies.

The bureau and other intelligence agencies used the fake dossier compiled by former MI-6 spy Christopher Steele, as a political weapon against a sitting U.S. president and the American people.

Durham deserves credit for being so sleuth against a system that is crooked. Durham’s trial proved the 2018 reports exposing the FBI’s culpability under then House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-CA.  In fact, it takes those reports one major step forward, exposing that by January, 2017 the FBI already knew from witnesses that the dossier was a lie.

It was a lie because Danchenko, who was working at the Brookings Institution think-tank, had told the bureau that the information in the dossier couldn’t be confirmed. What he allegedly didn’t tell the FBI, according to Durham, is that some of the erroneous information within the dossier that he delivered to Steele came from a Hillary Clinton supporter and friend Charles Dolan. Dolan, who was closely connected to Russia, appeared as a witness in the trial.

That didn’t stop top government officials, however, that supported Clinton from using the fake dossier to target Trump and in doing irreparable harm to our nation.

In January, 2017 Buzzfeed published the dossier. It was also during that time as well, that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was believed to have leaked information to CNN’s Jake Tapper about the salacious details in the dossier regarding Trump. Clapper did so, after he and his cohorts then CIA director John Brennan and FBI Director James Comey briefed Trump in early January, 2017 on the salacious contents of the fake dossier.

And as the jury deliberates this Tuesday over whether or not Danchenko is guilty of lying to the FBI, what has been revealed is far worse than Danchenko’s alleged lies to a source: The FBI not only obstructed justice but its leadership itself complicit in lying to the American people. Sadly, the Department of Justice is not blind. Lady justice has long covered up for the bureau after its bold changes under Edgar J. Hoover into a national police force. Hoover attempted to write his own history  about the bureau but many historians, former colleagues and others exposed that the man who the building is named after operated more like a pseudo-mafia boss or spy. He collected private files on his enemies, expanded the spying on American citizens he deemed as dangerous to the nation, such as civil right’s leaders like Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez. Much like the current FBI did to Trump, agents peddled false information to the media on their subjects, as well as abused their power and weaponized the system.

It was the reason many Americans opposed the creation of a national police force in the early 1900s, when the issue was being debated. Americans feared that it would give the bureaucracy too much centralized power. Because of those concerns it took years before bureau agents were given the authority to carry weapons on the job and that didn’t happen until 1934.

Durham’s closing arguments, however, exposed the very real concern Americans had early on with the creation of a bureau and one that we have to contend with in 2022, if Americans are ever going to gain trust in the establishment again.

Durham’s trial against Danchenko also made it clear that the FBI and Justice Department are so intertwined that there is no-one to hold the bureau accountable when corruption, malfeasance and other possible criminality is exposed. That too has to change.

WHAT DID SPECIAL COUNSEL ROBERT MUELLER KNOW

It appears it may be so based on information revealed during recent testimony delivered at Dancheko’s trial. Danchenko is being charged with five counts of lying to the FBI and he pleaded not guilty to all charges. The trial, in Alexandria, VA, is the last prosecution of Justice Department attorney Durham, who said on Monday “the elephant in the room is the FBI.’

He’s right. It’s the bureau who is really on trial.

Durham’s investigation over the past several years has exposed the FBI’s role in the failed and false Trump-Russia collusion narrative. It was a narrative that permeated the airwaves and cable news networks for years. That is until it was discovered that Steele’s dossier was filled with unverified information, tall tales and paid for as opposition research by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The Steele dossier, however, was used by the FBI as the basis for its investigation into Trump. They dubbed it: Crossfire Hurricane.

The FBI’s investigation led to spying on  Carter Page and collecting his private information after a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant was obtained by the FBI. It was obtained on false-pretenses – suggesting the Steele dossier was verified – when presented to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Page, a one-time Trump campaign volunteer, was then embroiled in an investigation that changed his whole life and even led to threats against his life. Never mind that the FISA warrant was based on false information provided by the FBI in Steele’s dossier. The dossier had not been verified when the warrant was sought, an extreme violation of the court’s standards.

Ongoing investigations over the years by journalists, including this reporter, along with other extensive congressional investigations revealed the extent of the FBI’s failures in its investigation and targeting of U.S. citizens. Durham’s ongoing court trials have also exposed the weaponization of our once trusted federal law enforcement agencies. Still, the revelations have not led to any significant prosecutions.

Politico reporteed that during the trial on Monday Prosecutor Michael Kielty pointed out similarities in the information Democrat operative Charles Dolan provided Danchenko in that 2016 email with information contained in a subsequent report connected to the Steele dossier. It was dated just two days after Dolan sent the email, according to the report.

The connection couldn’t be more clear. Danchenko allegedly lied about Dolan’s role as a source in Steele’s dossier.

FROM POLITICO: 

‘At one point during questioning, Dolan admitted to having lied to Danchenko in an email in the summer of 2016 about a “GOP friend” he claimed to have met with and who he said provided him with information about former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort’s resignation. Dolan told the jury that he had “embellished” that claim to Danchenko, and that he had actually obtained the information about Manafort’s resignation from watching cable news, not from a Republican friend.

“I thought I would just embellish a bit to make it seem like his contacts were good,” Dolan said.

Prosecutor Michael Kielty pointed out similarities in the information Dolan provided Danchenko in that 2016 email with information that had ended up in a subsequent report from the dossier, dated just two days after Dolan sent the email. Dolan said that he never provided additional insights to Danchenko, and that he wasn’t aware at the time of why Danchenko was seeking information from him.’ 

Did Mueller Lie to Rep. Matt Gaetz?

Now we come to the deep dive. It was also during Thursday afternoon’s witness testimony that FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson, who handled Danchenko as a confidential human source, revealed that FBI’s knowledge about Danchenko -Dolan.

FROM TECHNO-FOG: 

Durham questioned Helson about efforts to determine the Durham connection in the summer of 2017. By that time, the Mueller Special Counsel had been ongoing since May 2017 and had, on its own, taken part in the last Carter Page FISA renewal. And if you recall from our last articles, Danchenko had been an FBI CHS since March 2017. Once Mueller was appointed, Helson was the go-between, asking Danchenko questions posed by the then-Special Counsel’s team.

By June 2017, the Mueller Special Counsel had developed information that Democrat Charles Dolan may have been a source of the Steele Dossier. They passed questions about Dolan to Agent Helson:

Q         Who did those [Dolan] questions come from?

A         It came from the Mueller investigative team, particularly Ms. [Amy] Anderson.

Durham also cleaned-up Helson’s sloppiness. The previous day, Helson testified that Danchenko didn’t know the Steele Dossier was going to the FBI. Helson admitted he didn’t have any evidence to support his own conclusion.

Q         You were asked a question yesterday that you adopted — you were asked a question about, well, the defendant didn’t know that Steele’s reports were going to the FBI, and you said yes. Do you have any independent knowledge of that?

A         No.

Q         That’s just what the defendant told you, right?

A         Yeah.

Q         So when you told the jury that he, Mr. Danchenko, didn’t know that they were going to the FBI, you don’t know that to be the case?

A         I had no other knowledge that suggested that, no.

Q         Right. There’s no independent evidence of any sort, correct?

A         Yes, correct.

 

You can follow Sara A. Carter on Twitter @SaraCarterDC

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Trump appointee explains an ‘America First Strategy’ in the ME

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Photo: Israeli Government

The author interviewed Ellie Cohanim, one of the authors of the new book: “An America First Approach to US National Security.” Ellie is the former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism under the Trump administration. She is currently a Senior Fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum focusing on Iran, Israel, and global antisemitism, and is a national security contributor for the Christian Broadcasting Network. In 2021, Ellie launched and hosted for Jewish News Syndicate 30 plus episodes of the show “Global Perspectives with Ellie Cohanim.” Ellie spent 15 years in media and NGO management before serving in the public sector. How would you define an “America First” strategy in the Middle East?

Cohanim: An America First strategy in the Middle East would seek to advance American national security interests in that region, while maintaining our status as THE global superpower. To do that, the US would ensure that our principal allies in the region, countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel, are economically and militarily strong, and that our adversaries in the region are deterred.

Postal: How has the United States’ standing in the Middle East differed between the Trump and Biden administrations?

Cohanim: Under President Trump, for four years we had peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. Under President Biden, in just three tumultuous years there has been war in the region, which holds the potential for becoming a regional conflict and even a nuclear confrontation. Meanwhile, the US’ status in the region and the world has diminished due to Biden’s disastrous mishandling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, his emboldening of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his weak response to Iranian attacks on our personnel and assets in the region. 

 

Postal: Do you think the United States and Israel are/were in a stronger position to deter Iran’s nuclear and territorial ambitions in Biden or Trump’s administration?

Cohanim: America’s position of strength has not changed under either administration vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran. What has changed is our Iran policy. Under President Trump’s administration, the US contained and constrained Tehran. Trump applied a “Maximum Pressure” sanctions campaign which left the Iranian Regime with only $4 billion in accessible foreign currency reserves by the end of his term, giving the Iranians less cash and less ability to fund their terror proxies and their nuclear program, and Trump eliminated Qassem Soleimani. While all President Biden needed to do was to continue implementing such successful policies, his administration instead did the exact opposite.  Under the Biden administration, Israel, our leading ally in the region, was attacked for the first time directly from Iranian soil. This was an unprecedented escalatory attack by the Iranian regime, and could only happen under the Biden administration.

Postal: In your chapter of the book, you discuss the weakening of US relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration. How has the Biden administration affected the likelihood of future normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and deals between Israel and other Muslim countries (i.e., new Abraham Accords)?

Cohanim: The good news is that the Abraham Accords have withstood the test of multiple Hamas provocations against Israel, and now the current war. Despite numerous claims from the Biden administration regarding “successful” efforts to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, I do not think that the Biden administration will be able to clinch such a deal. In the Middle East, people have a long memory. Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has not forgotten President Biden’s snub when he first came into office, and Biden’s incredibly poorly advised behavior towards the Crown Prince when he made his first visit to the Kingdom as president. The last thing the Crown Prince wants is to hand Biden his first foreign policy success with a Rose Garden peace deal ceremony. So, I do not believe President Biden can broker Saudi/Israeli normalization.

However, I am also convinced that it is a matter of “when” and not “if” such a peace deal will happen between those two countries, as it serves both of their interests to make such a deal. The Saudis understand better than anyone that it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that threatens the Kingdom’s security and stability, not Israel.

Postal: What do you think of the Biden administration’s latest statements withholding arms to Israel?

Cohanim: President Biden will go down in history for his abject moral failure in not standing by Israel while she fights a five-front war. Biden has shown his despicable personality for trying to keep his anti-Israel arms embargo concealed until he could first deliver a speech on the Holocaust. Biden’s behavior is despicable on so many levels.

Ultimately, Biden is betraying the American people. He came into office presenting himself as a “centrist Democrat,” but has proven repeatedly to be beholden to the radical, extremist, pro-Hamas wing of his party.

Postal: How does the Biden administration’s support of a Palestinian state differ from the Trump administration’s support of a Palestinian state under its Peace to Prosperity framework?

Cohanim: The Biden administration stated that they will “unilaterally recognize” a Palestinian state. What the borders of that state are and who would lead it, nobody knows. 

The Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” was a detailed plan that was premised on the realities on the ground in Israel. The plan required that the Palestinians reach benchmarks proving a real desire to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors. It included over $50 billion in investment in the region, which would have been a road to prosperity for all. Perhaps most significantly, the Palestinian state envisioned under the Trump plan would have been demilitarized, the wisdom of which could not be more clear following the October 7 massacre and attack.

The author would like to thank Ellie Cohanim for participating in this interview.

 

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