Trump Chief of Staff: Indictments Expected From Durham Probe

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
July 20, 2020Updated: July 21, 2020

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said July 19 that he expects criminal charges to come out of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence Russia probe.

Meadows, who replaced Mick Mulvaney as President Donald Trump’s chief of staff in March, said during an appearance on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” that based on what he’d seen, he expects federal prosecutor Durham will file criminal charges against people involved in the investigation into supposed Trump–Russia collusion that was said to have swayed the 2016 election.

The former House representative sat on the House Oversight Committee throughout then-special counsel and former FBI head Robert Mueller’s probe into the alleged collusion. Mueller ultimately didn’t establish any such collusion.

“I think the American people expect indictments,” Meadows told host Maria Bartiromo. “I know I expect indictments based on the evidence I’ve seen. [Senate Judiciary Chairman] Lindsey Graham did a good job in getting that out. We know that they not only knew that there wasn’t a case, but they continued to investigate and spy—and yes, I use the word ‘spy’—on Trump campaign officials, and actually even doing things when this president was sworn in and after that, and doing it in an inappropriate manner.”

Meadows also said he expects other damning documents will soon be made public.

“You’re going to see a couple of other documents come out in the coming days that will suggest that not only was the campaign spied on, but the FBI did not act appropriately as they were investigating,” he said. “It’s all starting to unravel, and I tell you, it’s time that people go to jail and people are indicted.”

Attorney General William Barr assigned Durham in early 2019 to investigate the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign and to assess whether the surveillance of Trump campaign associate Carter Page was free of improper motive. The probe was designated a formal criminal investigation later in 2019.

Durham could scrutinize the conduct of several current and former senior FBI officials during his investigation, including former Director James Comey, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and former Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok. Those officials were involved in obtaining a warrant for surveillance on Page and deployed at least two spies to target Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

Barr had previously expressed concern over some of the information he had received so far from Durham about the probe, saying that he was “very troubled.” He said in May that he doesn’t expect Durham’s probe to result in criminal investigations into former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden, based on the information he possessed at the time.

“It is stunning, and here’s the interesting thing: it’s not only that it wasn’t true, the problem is they knew it wasn’t true, and when you know something is not true and you continue the investigation, that’s collusion, that’s the kind of thing that we must stop, and that’s where we need to hold people accountable,” Meadows said.

>His remarks came after an internal document,  declassified on July 16, showed Strzok, the former FBI head of counterintelligence operations, tearing apart a 2017 New York Times article that alleged the 2016 presidential campaign of Trump had contacts with Russian intelligence.

The Feb. 14, 2017, New York Times piece titled “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contact With Russian Intelligence” was said to rely on information from four unnamed “current and former American officials.”

“Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election,” the article stated in its opening paragraph.

“This statement is misleading and inaccurate as written,” Strzok said, annotating the article with comments on how it squared with reality as he was portraying it (pdf). “We have not seen evidence of any individuals affiliated with the Trump team in contact with [Russian] IOs [intelligence officers].”

The document was released on July 17 by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chair of the Senate judiciary committee.

Janita Kan and Peter Svab contributed to this report.

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