John Durham, special counsel, has been investigating the origins of the Russia probe for three years as of this writing. Some Americans have claimed his investigation is going slowly, and many fear that, just like at the end of Robert Mueller’s investigation, little will come of the inquiry. However, sources on Monday told Fox News that not only is the investigation “accelerating,” but that there are multiple people “cooperating” then before. Many of these are coming before a federal grand jury.
A source familiar with Durham’s probe say that the attorney handles the investigation “very professionally,” pointing to the fact that, unlike Mueller’s investigation, details of Durham’s activities, witness information, and witness cooperation status is kept very close to the vest. In other words, if any information is leaked, it is a rare occurrence.
According to Fox’s source, “Durham does this right and keeps it a secret; there has been much more activity in Durham’s investigation than has been visible to the public.”
So far, in late 2021, a Russian operative who is said to be the source of the now-debunked Steele Dossier has been charged with lying to the FBI. Prior to that, an attorney who had worked with the Clinton campaign, Michael Sussman, was indicted by a federal grand jury for making false statements to the FBI. In 2020, it was revealed by The New York Times that Durham had interviewed a number of intelligence officials, and the same news outlet reported that the Durham investigation was now a “criminal probe.”
On Friday, news broke that the Clinton campaign had paid someone to hack into the servers first at Trump Tower, then later at the White House after Trump won the 2020 election. During the campaign, Hillary Clinton herself tweeted about a connection between a Russian bank (Alfa Bank) and the Trump family.
The media has largely ignored the latest Durham filing, but, an editorial in The Wall Street Journal acknowledges that Trump “really was spied on,” and even likens the reality to a failed Netflix movie pitch.
Much attention was given when former Perkins Coie partner, Michael Sussman, was indicted. Although much of Durham’s activities are kept quiet, the special counsel did describe “materials that had been provided by the special counsel’s office to defense attorneys” for Sussman. Sussman has pleaded not guilty to charges of making false statements.
One way Durham keeps much of this under wraps is the way he names – or rather demurs from naming – witnesses. In the filing regarding Sussman, Durham refers to the witnesses by their professional titles or a title assigned to them by special counsel. For instance, in one portion of the filing, Durham mentions “the above-referenced former FBI General Counsel,” which many believe is a reference to James Baker. Baker was the general counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation from early 2014 to May 2018. In October, Fox News reported that Durham planned to call Baker in regards to Sussman.
In Sussman’s indictment paperwork, it is alleged that Sussman told Baker in September 2016 that he (Sussman) was not doing any work for a client when Sussman held a meeting when Sussman presented “purported data as well as white papers allegedly” demonstrating a connection between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, an institution that is said to have ties to Putin and the Russian government.
The latest Durham filing states that “the FBI General Counsel” is “likely to be a central witness at trial.” When Fox News contacted Baker requesting comment, there was no immediate response.
Another example of Durham’s keeping information under wraps has to do with an inclusion of grand jury testimony “from the above-mentioned former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence.” While this title isn’t as clear as the possible Baker connection, most political pundits believe that this person is Bill Priestap, who served in that role between 2015 and 2018. Priestap has appeared before the Judiciary committee regarding the supposed Russian collusion with Trump.
Durham’s filings have also mentioned a “former FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterintelligence,” whom many believe could be Peter Strzok. However, Fox News was told that this could be any of three people who have served in that role.
Peter Strzok was fired from the FBI after the release of text messages between Strzok and Lisa Page, who also served as an FBI General Counsel, which showed bias toward President Donald Trump.
Other notable testimony is said to come from “the attorney previously employed by Law Firm-1 (referred to in the indictment as Campaign Lawyer-1).” Various sources have told Fox News that this could be Marc Elias, who was the General Counsel for the Clinton campaign. He, like Sussman, also worked for Perkins Coie. The filing also mentions FBI Special Agent (who served as case agent for FBI’s Russian Bank-1 investigation), as well as “two current employees of Agency-2” and two current or former employees of University 1, as well as an employee of Internet Company-3.
When his office was contacted by Fox, Durham’s office “decline(d) to comment beyond the court filings.” As always, Durham keeps the investigation professional and above-board.