Why No Durham Activity Before Election -- Likely the Interview of Agent William Barnett

AP Photo/Bob Child, File

 

It was reported earlier here on Red State that on this morning’s Fox News show with Maria Bartiromo, she said her sources — which have been pretty good — are telling her there will be no Durham Report or indictments prior to the election.

This may turn out to be true or not true — we’ll know soon enough.

But this report follows many hints and suggestions over the past few months that US Attorney Durham would act in the late summer/early fall time frame — including statements made to that effect by Attorney General William Barr himself.  He’s been fully briefed by Durham about the nature and progress of the investigation, and what has been found so far.  And consistent with what AG Barr said publicly just days before it happened, former FBI Attorney Kevin Clinesmith was charged and pled guilty in connection with his actions on the Carter Page investigation.

If Bartiromo’s report this morning is accurate, then something has changed.  What might that be?  I think I have a pretty solid guess.

AG Barr sent US Attorney Jeffrey Jensen on a “recon” mission to look more closely at the handling of the Special Counsel’s prosecution of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.  I do not believe that either AG Barr or US Attorney Jensen were prepared for what Jensen would eventually uncover regarding the “political” calculations that were behind the Flynn investigation in the first instance, and the Flynn prosecution after the SCO took over.  What Jensen found has kicked into high gear an investigation that I think is nearly as important to AG Barr as is the Durham investigation into the origins of the Russia Hoax investigation launched against Pres. Trump and his campaign.

I think “Priority 1A” for AG Barr is a hard look at the conduct of the Special Counsel’s Office.  The interview of Special Agent William Barnett, the original case agent on the Flynn and Manafort investigations begun in August 2016, took place only 10 days ago.  That interview was done by US Attorney Jensen, not Durham.  But that interview covered events from the beginning of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation to a point beyond the entry of a guilty plea by General Flynn — Barnett discusses interviews done with General Flynn after he pled guilty.

The subjects of the released Memorandum of Agent Barnett’s interview are mostly matters involving General Flynn, including opinions Agent Barnett formed about the attitudes and conduct of the SCO prosecutors who Mueller chose to staff the investigation.

Bill Barr and Robert Mueller have been friends for 30+ years, going back to their days together in the Reagan Justice Department.

It is my belief that Bill Barr sees the work of the SCO, and the drafting of the SCO report, as being not the product of the Robert Mueller he has known since the 1980s, but instead, the work of anti-Trump Democrat partisans who Mueller brought to the SCO.  As a private citizen — and former Attorney General — he sent a scathing legal memo to Rod Rosenstein in the summer of 2018 challenging the public reports about the nature of a criminal “obstruction” investigation against the Office of the President that was being conducted by the SCO as a surrogate for DOJ.  When he was confirmed as Attorney General — and the SCO staff knew they would be reporting to him now and no longer to Rosenstein — the SCO announced in just a matter of a few weeks that the investigation would be shut down.

Were those two events connected?  Well, Andrew Weissmann provided the answer to that question yesterday in an excerpt from his book published in a Politico story:

But the limitations of our report were underscored on the night of March 24, 2019, as I stood in the doorway of my apartment in Washington, reading Barr’s four-page letter on my iPad. Just two days after Mueller had handed in our final report—the product of 22 months of intensive work by 59 prosecutors, agents and analysts—Barr issued a letter purporting to summarize our report.

Barr’s letter was a shot across the bow, signaling that the checking function Mueller provided on the actions of the president had come to an abrupt end.

Weissmann “gives away the game” without even realizing the evil in his presumption.

Where in the Special Counsel regulations does it say that such an appointment by the Attorney General is to serve as a “checking function” on the “actions of the President”?

The Mueller SCO aggrandized that unauthorized function to themselves, to the detriment of Donald Trump and the Office of the Presidency.  Who made a collection of unelected and unaccountable Democrat partisan attorneys the “checking function” on the Office of the Presidency?  They did themselves, cheered on by a complicit media to whom they fed leaks of innuendo and misinformation.

THAT, in my view, is what Bill Barr wants to know more about.  And he wants to know because the Democrat partisans used his long time friend, and that friend’s reputation, as both a “sword” and “shield” for their dirty work. They were able to do that because his friend’s cognitive abilities had declined in recent years and he was not fully aware of what was being done in his name.

THAT has made Bill Barr angry.  US Attorney Jensen is the vehicle through which his anger is being manifested.

It is not a coincidence, in my view, that Andrew Weissmann has been relentlessly attacking Bill Barr in the media.  Surrogates on his behalf have done the same.  Couple that with the fact that the Memorandum of Agent Barnett’s interview singles out Weissmann and Jeannie Rhee by name — not redacted — as being biased and suggesting ethically dubious conduct and motives as to both of them.

Weissmann owes the resurrection of his career after the Enron debacle to Mueller, who brought him to the FBI and made him “Special Counsel” when he was humiliated by the Supreme Court’s 9-0 reversal of the conviction of Arthur Anderson accounting firm that cost 85,000 workers their jobs.  With that resume rebuilder, Weissmann was able to land a law firm job until a more friendly Obama Justice Department headed by Eric Holder took him back in.  Rhee was a Mueller protege and fellow partner at WilmerHale who Mueller brought with him from that firm to the Special Counsel’s Office.

My view is Barr holds the two of them in a special category of contempt because of what they did to his friend’s legacy in pursuing their partisan goals in his name.

So why have Durham hold off?  Something triggered the decision by AG Barr to have US Attorney Jensen interview Agent Barnett.  Maybe it was nothing more than the desire to lay more facts in front of Judge Sullivan in support of the DOJ motion to dismiss the case against Gen. Flynn.  If so, I think AG Barr and US Attorney Jensen — and Durham — were shocked in some measure by the views expressed by Agent Barnett.

On Twitter, I said that Agent Barnett is a savvy and experienced Bureau actor.  He’s spent 18 years as a working “brick agent” which means that was by choice.  He was personally selected by Joe Pientka — the Supervisory Special Agent over all of Crossfire Hurricane in the early days — to lead both the Flynn and Manafort investigations. He was personally solicited by Peter Strzok to join the SCO investigation after Mueller was appointed even after he indicated he was not interested in being part of the investigation any further.

He’s the kind of veteran agent I met many times over 22 years with DOJ, who would respond to an interview request like the one he received from US Attorney Jensen by saying “Are you saying you want to know what I REALLY think about the CH investigation? You want my honest opinion? You’re sure about that?  Ok, write this down… ” — and then he unloaded.

He was told he was only a witness — yet he had an attorney attend the interview with him.  He knew what he was going to say was going to be of that magnitude given everything he’s watched unfold since AG Barr took over DOJ.

Realize that the Memorandum of his interview filed with Judge Sullivan and given to Gen. Flynn’s defense counsel does not reflect everything that Agent Barnett discussed in his interview.  Almost all the subjects in the publicly released Memorandum have to do with Gen. Flynn and the Crossfire Razor investigation of him.  What else Agent Barnett had to say is hidden away in another Memorandum known only to the investigators.

Because that information covers events both before and after the naming of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel, the information impacts the investigations of both Durham and Jensen.  The interview took place only 10 days ago.

The reported change in plans with regard to actions by Durham is likely linked to what Agent Barnett had to say — and where that information might take Durham now.