The ongoing Department of Justice’s investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe—spearheaded by Attorney General William Barr, with assistance from U.S. attorneys of unimpeachable integrity, including John Durham of Connecticut and John Bash from the Western District of Texas—is reaching a critical juncture.
The process—as allegations are converted to accusations and possibly substantive charges of criminal activity—has been delayed and hampered, primarily by the effects of the CCP virus pandemic on the convening of, and protocols that pertain to, the conduct of grand jury investigations. The presentation of evidence to a grand jury is followed by deliberations and votes on whether to bring specific criminal charges.
Of particular significance, and indicative of the progress being made, was the guilty plea by former FBI headquarters official Kevin Clinesmith, to a federal charge of falsifying a document that was used to justify surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser.
It’s noteworthy that The Washington Post, Politico, The Associated Press, CNN, and other mainstream media outlets repeatedly referred to Clinesmith as a “former FBI lawyer” rather than as an FBI senior counsel with access to highly sensitive top-secret materials, thereby apparently seeking to downplay his significance and his role within the agency. That occurred in much the same way that the media initially repeatedly referred to Peter Strzok as a run-of-the-mill “FBI special agent,” and not as a deputy assistant director of the FBI.
Such plea agreements are typically the first step in a cooperation agreement, wherein the FBI first harvests the low-hanging fruit in contemplation of subsequently bringing in higher-value targets.
In this case, the targets being former denizens of the seventh floor at the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover building, the upper management policymakers responsible for the Crossfire Hurricane operation, which was so named by headquarters senior-level desk jockeys responsible for its inception and execution (an overly dramatic case title ridiculed by real field agents).
Remarkable for its absence is any notable involvement by FBI Director Christopher Wray in the ongoing investigations. Following a revolving-door career, Wray has—between stints at the Justice Department (DOJ)—worked at the white-shoe law firm King and Spalding, where, according to Reuters, he earned $9.2 million in the year preceding his return to public service.
In prior stints at the DOJ, he was part of the same clique as his FBI predecessor, James Comey, and appears ill-suited to participate in a fair and objective investigation of malfeasance in the office he now inhabits.
In the course of a televised interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Aug. 2, Barr stated that consistent with existing policy, the DOJ wouldn’t bring charges “for political reasons.”
However, that doesn’t mean charges wouldn’t be filed for reasons consistent with criminal activity, regardless of whether there are political consequences. Barr also declined to rule out the filing of an indictment or the bringing of criminal charges prior to the election.
Blitzer’s tone was unusually acrimonious, and may arguably reflect a hostility arising in the mainstream media and Democratic Party, out of fear of the effects of impending charges, concurrent with an effort to discredit the attorney general through a variety of assaults on his credibility.
In this case, Blitzer shifted the focus to Barr’s views on mail-in voting, advancing the mainstream media’s canard that Republican concerns with potential voter fraud are, in actuality, an attempt at voter suppression.
Astonishingly, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), when interviewed on CNN on Sept. 6, expressly accused the attorney general—several times—of lying to the American people.
Barr had stated in the Blitzer interview that China, when compared with Russia, is a more significant threat to the successful execution of the presidential elections in November. As both countries have an extensive history of meddling in U.S. elections, the issue is one of degree.
Schiff’s exaggeration evidences the extent to which Barr’s opponents must grasp at straws in their attempt to disparage a public servant whose integrity is unimpeachable.
This is the same congressman who repeatedly stated publicly that he had conclusive evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians, evidence that to date hasn’t seen the light of day or been disclosed to the American public.
Evidence that—had it existed—Schiff would no doubt have felt compelled to disclose ahead of the publication and release of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller, who, of course, failed to find any evidence of such a connection.
Schiff’s repeated, and unsubstantiated, attacks on Barr reflect the panic and hostility of the Democratic Party with regard to the expected criminal charges. Schiff and others apparently seek to undermine Barr’s credibility in order to mitigate the impact that the investigations will have upon their conclusion.
Barr’s timing dilemma is significant. Even with a shift to a Democratic administration, charges could still be filed through the end of President Donald Trump’s current term, at which time Barr would no doubt be returning to civilian life, along with Durham and Bash.
However, the likelihood of these charges being prosecuted vigorously by a Democratic attorney general is minimal. While they wouldn’t necessarily be dismissed outright, they would rather slowly be left to wither from inattention.
Marc Ruskin, a 27-year veteran of the FBI, is a regular contributor and the author of “The Pretender: My Life Undercover for the FBI.” He served on the legislative staff of U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y. Follow Marc on Twitter @mhruskin.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.