Within the last two months, John Durham’s investigation into the Steele dossier, the FISA warrants issued as a result of said documents, and the behavior of certain government officials has netted some high-profile indictments. Some individuals feel as if they have been vindicated, including members of the Trump family and individuals such as Carter Page. However, the question remains – what will the outcome of the Durham investigation be?
On Sunday, former Director of National Intelligence and Trump ally John Ratcliffe told Fox News‘ Maria Bartiromo that he saw many more indictments coming. He spoke on the documents he had personally declassified during his time as director, and he predicted that Durham would continue to serve indictments in the coming months.
Ratcliffe’s comments come mere days after the arrest and indictment of a key contributor to the dossier, Igor Danchenko. Danchenko is a Russian citizen who lives in Virginia; he was a major source of information in the Steele document used to obtain many FISA warrants regarding the Trump family and the Trump organization. He was arrested on charges that he lied to the FBI regarding his sources for information he gave to Christopher Steele.
In September, attorney Michael Sussmann was indicted on similar charges. Sussmann is a cybersecurity lawyer; he is alleged to have told investigators at the FBI that he was not advising the Clinton campaign when he gave information – later proved to be false – to the government that there was a tie between the Trump family and a Russian bank.
Lest we forget, in early 2021, an FBI attorney, Kevin Clinesmith was convicted of falsifying a document used to obtain a FISA warrant in order to wiretap former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The question remains – is John Ratcliffe correct in saying that many more indictments are forthcoming? Will the American public ever know the full details of what happened and who authorized the Steele dossier? Is the case a criminal one, as Ratcliffe alluded it could very well be, or is it more of a civil matter?
National Review columnist and political pundit Andrew McCarthy published an article in which he predicted how the Durham investigation will end. He opined that there may not be sweeping indictments that end with politicians seeing jail time. Rather, McCarthy, a frequent guest on Fox News and a former Assistant United States Attorney, believes that there will be a narrative report at the end of Durham’s very thorough investigation.
McCarthy points out that Durham was appointed by then United States Attorney General William Barr in 2020, just a few months before then end of Trump’s term in office. John Durham is considered a “special counsel.” Think Robert Mueller, nominated in 2019 to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election. At the end of his investigation, he penned a report. (It’s also important to understand that legally, special counsel are not required to release their reports publicly, even though most do.) When independent counsel Kenneth Starr investigated Bill Clinton regarding his involvement with Monica Lewinsky, he also released a written report. So, McCarthy provides that there is precedent when saying that typically, special or independent counsel will not always pursue charges upon completing the investigation, but a report will be released.
McCarthy says that when Bill Barr appointed John Durham, Barr likely realized that there would not be a “grand, overarching criminal-conspiracy case,” but more of a case in which civil statutes had been violated. Keep in mind – the two indictments to this point are not to do with any wrongdoing in supplying information in the dossier itself; the two indictments are due to both individuals lying to the FBI.
McCarthy did add that there could be more indictments forthcoming. However, he believes that the final outcome of the Durham investigation will be a “Durham Report” much like the “Starr Report” or the “Mueller Report.”
Some of this prediction is contentious upon one thing – so far, there are no indictments on people conspiring to spread false information, only charges for lying to investigators. If Durham does begin obtaining indictments against people such as the man alleged to be “PR Executive 1” (revealed to be Charles Dolan, a close Clinton associate), then it is possible there could be criminal charges.
This is what former DNI director John Ratcliffe believes will happen.
At this time, Americans can only wait with baited breath as the indictments continue to roll out. Whether we will see a finalized report that may detail the “who” and the “how” of the debunked dossier or whether we see actual criminal charges filed remains to be seen.