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Report: Prosecution of top officials ‘unlikely’ outcome of Durham probe

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While Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe is generally focused on the FBI’s activities, sources familiar with the investigation told Fox News the prosecution of high-ranking FBI officials, such as former Director James Comey, is “unlikely.”

In a report published Tuesday, Fox News reports that sources told the publication that the investigation is ongoing and that Durham last year concluded the part of his investigation looking into the CIA and he is now examining the FBI’s activities.

Additionally, another source told the news outlet that the special counsel had been pursuing “new and credible leads” through the end of the Trump administration, however, Fox News noted that it is unclear at this point what those lines of inquiry entail.

Moreover, a spokesperson for Durham told the outlet that they had “no comment from Mr. Durham.”

Durham’s probe is looking into the origins of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election as well as now-debunked collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. Former President Donald Trump and conservatives have called Mueller’s yearlong probe a “witch hunt” and accused it of being motivated by anti-Trump animus.

Mueller’s investigation yielded no evidence that collusion occurred between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election.

Tuesday’s report comes after the first and only criminal sentencing stemming from Durham’s investigation was issued last week.

Last Friday, Kevin Clinesmith, a former FBI lawyer, was sentenced to one year of probation and 400 hours of community service for altering an email during the Mueller’s investigation that was used as grounds for the surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

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Previously, Comey has said that investigators have yet to reach out to him.

“I have had no contact with him and haven’t talked to him,” the former FBI director told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” back in August. “I can’t imagine that I’m a target.”

Last summer, Durham’s team also questioned former CIA Director John Brennan for about eight hours at the CIA headquarters. Brennan later said through a spokesman he was assured he was “not a target,” according to Fox News.

Back in December, Brennan told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace that he had no issue with Durham’s investigation extending into 2021 and also divulged briefly about the eight-hour session.

“I think that is fine, I have no problems with it,” the former CIA director said, adding that Durham’s team already talked with him for eight hours. “I do believe that John Durham is going to carry out his responsibilities ably and hopefully not with any political influence.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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COVID-19

Adviser to Fauci bragged about helping him evade FOIA, ‘he is too smart’ to get caught

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The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic published evidence ahead of a hearing that explains the senior scientific adviser to then-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci actually bragged about helping Fauci evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The adviser, David Morens, admitted in his own communications to intentionally evading FOIA by using a Fauci’s private Gmail address or just handing him documents in person, according to the newly disclosed emails.

The 35-page report on Morens includes previously unreleased emails including:

An April 21, 2021 email shows Morens contacted EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak, whom Morens has described as his “best friend” and a U.S. taxpayer conduit for the Wuhan Institute of Virology, as well as Boston University and New England Biolabs researchers.

The subject line references “CoV research in China, GoF, etc.,” referring to EcoHealth-facilitated coronavirus research at WIV that could make a virus more transmissible or dangerous. The National Institutes of Health recently admitted it funded gain-of-function research under that definition but not a stricter regulatory definition.

“PS, i forgot to say there is no worry about FOIAs,” Morens wrote. “I can either send stuff to Tony on his private gmail, or hand it to him at work or at his house. He is too smart to let colleagues send him stuff that could cause trouble.”

A May 13, 2021 email to the same recipients referred to “our ‘secret’ back channel” by which Morens connected Fauci to a journalist named “Arthur,” apparently to discuss the feds’ preferred narrative that SARS-CoV-2 emerged naturally rather than via lab leak. The email cited an article on the message board Virological.

Gerald Keusch, associate director of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory Institute at BU, emailed Daszak Oct. 25, 2021 to relay a phone conversation with “David,” who is “concerned about the privacy of text” and email sent and received on his “government phone” because they “could be FOIA’able.”

“Tony has told him not to be in touch with you and EHA for the time being,” Keusch wrote. Morens relayed that Daszak should get his story straight on EcoHealth’s claim that NIH locked it out of the system when it tried to file its year-five progress report that disclosed an arguable gain-of-function experiment.

Earlier in the day, Morens told Daszak “i will be meeting with Tony about this later on.” The subject line of the thread was “Draft response to Michael Lauer,” deputy director for extramural research at NIH.

Morens also told Daszak that Fauci and then-NIH Director Francis Collins are “trying to protect you, which also protects their own reputations,” apparently meaning against allegations that U.S. tax dollars passed through EcoHealth funded research that may have led to SARS-CoV-2’s emergence.

The subcommittee said it found emails that revealed “likely illegal” practices, including an April 2020 email in which Morens shared a “new NIAID implementation plan” with Daszak and an August 2020 email in which Daszak mentioned a “kick-back” to Morens after NIH awarded $7.5 million to EcoHealth.

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