John Durham
John Durham

United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham may well be the most proficient anti-corruption prosecutor in the United States. The University of St. Joseph, which had invited Durham to speak to its students in 2018, here offers a partial curriculum vitae recounting some of Durham’s successful prosecutions.

Don Pesci

Durham has not been much in the news because his operations tend to be leak-proof. Though personable and very much respected by his peers, Durham is not the sort of States Attorney who suffers fools gladly. He is both professional and plodding. And there is in the core of the man a strong sense that certain Biblical admonitions – “place not thy trust in princes” – are helpful in the sometime tedious work of prosecutors.

There are two opposite and conflicting theories concerning Russian collusion and the 2016 Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton presidential campaign: theory 1) Trump colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his shadowy associates to deny Hillary Clinton a viable presidential bid; theory 2) The Clinton campaign, with assists from former President Barack Obama and a highly politicized Justice Department, concocted a fabulous narrative  implicating Trump in collusion with Russian spooks based chiefly on documentation –- the fiction adorned Steele dossier –- and managed to sell the narrative to a preternaturally naive FISA Court judge who then allowed an assortment of shadowy prosecutors to spy on the newly born Trump presidential campaign. After years of probing, politically crippling news stories, and multiple failed attempts to impeach Trump, theory 1) was finally quietly ditched.

Enter Durham, who cares not a whit about political machinations.

Thus far, Durham has indicted two culprits, both of whom appear to be knee deep in skullduggery, for having lied under oath to prosecutors. And, not entirely coincidental to the probe, both culprits – one a lawyer, the other a Russian agent —  are closely associated with the unprosecutable Hillary Clinton, the Democrat National Committee, and assorted co-conspirators. Warning: The author of this column wishes to make clear that he is here using the term “co-conspirators” in its political rather than its legal sense.

We shall see in coming days whether Durham, plodding and persistent, is able to make the charges in his indictment – much richer in detail that the usual indictment – stick. A link to one of the Durham indictments is provided below in a Yahoo coverage piece.

“The special counsel John Durham, who is investigating the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe, dropped a new indictment recently that raises questions about the roots of the most salacious allegation in the so-called Steele dossier.”

For the time being, other prosecutors, and some few curious and as yet uncommitted journalists, may assume that the Durham investigation has entered its “squeeze the canary until it squawks” mode. It would be a grave error to assume Durham’s targets of prosecution will not implicate other odd conspiratorial birds further up the political chain of command.

Political problems and journalistic problems are often entangled, not always because journalists lean right or left – but also because journalists who have committed themselves to discovering the truth are often perversely unwilling to disentangle themselves from their prior commitments. “Every word written,” the French writer and philosopher Albert Camus used to say, “is a commitment.” One does not, and should not, easily abandon one’s commitments – unless the committed have been led by the nose to reasonable operative theories that, on close inspection, turn out to be political opportunities and fake crises, in which case a rage at being duped should replace faulty commitments.

We have all known for some time that the primary documentation – the so called dossier – that persuaded a FISA Court judge to allow clandestine spying by major investigative authorities on the Trump campaign was, to put the matter kindly, bogus. The “dossier” was not a dossier; that is, it was not a file containing verified facts. The Steele dossier was an opposition research document, a dirt bag collection of seeming incriminating narratives designed to aid Hillary Clinton in her presidential campaign against political novice Donald Trump. And the opposition research document was financed by the Clinton campaign. Around this center of political intrigue, the Gordian Knot of truths, half-truths and inventive fiction has grown more and more complex. And we know, do we not, that political opportunity lies in the dung heap of complexity?

Now – along comes Durham, the most dangerous prosecutor in the country. He is persistent and, by nature and avocation, non-political.  Indeed, that and an unquenchable – thus far unthwarted — ambition to uproot the truth buried in the dung heap is what make Durham a danger to corrupt political officials.

Whether Durham will be sped on his way by a truly disinterested and objective media is yet an open question.

Donald Pesci lives in Vernon and is the writer of the Red Notes from a Blue State blog.