Why US liberal elite that tore Donald Trump apart is ignoring Hillary Clinton’s ‘Watergate’: Incendiary claims that campaign hacked rival’s computers could be biggest scandal since Richard Nixon. But you WON’T read about it over there, writes TOM LEONARD
- In court filing John Durham suggests Clinton’s 2016 campaign digitally snooped
- He indicated it extended to White House communications to get dirt on Trump
- Filing relates to Durham’s decision to charge Michael Sussmann in September
Back in June 1972, five men were arrested after breaking into Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate offices in Washington.
When it emerged they had been bugging the offices for the Republicans, the resulting cover-up went all the way to the White House and brought down President Nixon.
Today the word ‘Watergate’ is once again echoing in the corridors of Washington DC, as Republicans brandish new claims that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign may have spied on Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump pictured together during the town hall debate at Washington University in 2016, in St Louis, Missouri
The shocking suggestion has been made by lawyer John Durham, a special counsel appointed in 2019 by Bill Barr, Mr Trump’s Attorney General, to look into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the now widely debunked claims of Trump collusion with Russia.
Durham was also asked to determine whether intelligence on Trump collected by Democrats in both the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign in the run-up to the election was ‘lawful and appropriate’.
His claims, as Trump has angrily pointed out, are barely being reported in a staunchly pro-Democrat U.S. media that for several years lapped up every lurid twist and turn of the Kremlin-connected allegations against him.
On the rare occasions they have mentioned the new controversy, pro-Democrat media outlets have said they won’t fuel what they regard as an unsubstantiated anti-Clinton smear campaign — neglecting to mention they were perfectly happy to do that when the target was Trump.
Trump’s indignation is shared by some fellow Republicans, who say Durham has indeed uncovered another Watergate.
And it’s hardly surprising they are crowing, given that it was Mrs Clinton’s supporters who so determinedly pushed the damning narrative that Trump was in the pocket of Vladimir Putin, commissioning the infamous Steele dossier compiled by ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele.
Nobody talks about it now because the jaw-dropping claims it contained — none worse than a story that Moscow knew Trump had once paid Russian hookers to urinate over a hotel bed used by Barack and Michelle Obama — have been widely debunked.
Former U. S. President Richard Nixon. In 1972, five men were arrested after breaking into Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate offices in Washington
The dossier claimed a Russian strategy to ‘exploit Trump’s personal obsessions and sexual perversion’ in order to obtain kompromat — compromising material — on him had ‘borne fruit’.
Suffice to say, none of the allegations has ever been substantiated.
And so, not for the first time, there is more than a whiff of hypocrisy in the air.
U.S. news outlets now holding their noses piously over the claims against the Clinton campaign threw everything they had into confirming the Steele dossier and the general accusation that Trump was a puppet of the Kremlin.
And it’s worth noting that the accusations against the Clinton campaign come not from an ex-spook hired by Clinton supporters to dredge for dirt, but a highly respected former prosecutor charged with getting to the bottom of the controversy.
The scandal now threatening 74-year-old Hillary Clinton — who, according to rumours, may decide to run in the 2024 White House race, very likely against Trump — relates to a court filing made on Friday by John Durham.
Trump’s (pictured in 2018) indignation is shared by some fellow Republicans, who say Durham has indeed uncovered another Watergate
In it, he suggested that the 2016 Clinton campaign’s effort to compile dirt on Trump extended to digital snooping on protected White House communications.
If that doesn’t sound quite as serious as burglars breaking into an office and bugging the phones, some would say it amounts to the 21st-century digital equivalent.
Durham has indicated that the campaign paid an internet company to access computer servers at the White House and at Trump Tower in New York to hunt for Trump-Russia links.
This new filing relates to Durham’s decision last September to charge Michael Sussmann, a cybersecurity lawyer who represented the Clinton campaign, with lying to the FBI when he presented documents claiming to show secret internet communications between the Trump Organisation and the Russia-based Alfa-Bank. The information has since been discredited.
Sussmann, who insists he didn’t lie, allegedly didn’t admit he had ties to the Clinton campaign and instead insisted he was merely presenting the damaging evidence as a good citizen.
Durham also accused Sussmann of giving the CIA internet data in 2017 showing suspicious evidence of Russian-made mobile phones being used near the White House.
Although the special counsel says the information was bogus, it was part of a broader effort to raise suspicions about Trump.
The dossier claimed a Russian strategy to ‘exploit Trump’s personal obsessions and sexual perversion’ in order to obtain kompromat. Pictured, Trump at a rally in 2016
In his indictment, Durham has laid out how Sussmann worked with someone referred to as ‘Tech Executive-1’ — whom he has now identified as cybersecurity expert Rodney Joffe — who used his companies, including researchers at a U.S. university, to access internet data which he used to gather information about Trump’s communications.
Joffe’s company, Durham alleges, had helped to maintain internet servers for the White House, and before Trump was elected he and his associates ‘exploited this arrangement’ by snooping on private internet traffic — including in the Executive Office of the President.
Joffe’s ‘goal’, says Durham, was to create an ‘inference’ and ‘narrative’ about Trump that would ‘please certain VIPs’, including people at the Clinton campaign.
Durham claims the government can show that Joffe was able to see what websites were being viewed on computers at Trump Tower, Trump’s apartment in Manhattan’s Upper West Side and in the White House.
Joffe, who isn’t charged with any crime, insists he hadn’t been working for any political party and had a legitimate contract to analyse internet data for security breaches.
Durham believes this digital eavesdropping started in July 2016, when President Obama was still in office, and suggests it continued into the Trump presidency.
The Clinton family at the Reynolds Coliseum on the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2016
The terrifying implications not only of the White House being eavesdropped so easily but its internet being in the hands of a company tied to a political party have prompted calls for a judicial investigation.
Among the most pressing questions that need to be answered, say conservatives, are: who approved Joffe’s company getting access to White House internet data; who in the U.S. government and FBI knew about it; and who in the Clinton campaign knew it was happening.
Did Hillary herself know? (She certainly exploited Sussmann’s flawed information, tweeting just days before the 2016 election that ‘computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organisation to a Russian-based bank’).
However, others counter that there isn’t nearly enough evidence (at least, not yet) to start comparing this to the Watergate scandal.
The New York Times, which spent years trying to skewer Trump over Russia, has called claims about the Clinton campaign spying on Trump ‘alarmist’.
The Clinton campaign has yet to comment, which can hardly be said of Trump, who, after long claiming he had been the target of a ‘deep state’ conspiracy that involved FBI and Justice Department monitoring of his campaign, insists John Durham has now vindicated him.
‘This is a scandal far greater in scope and magnitude than Watergate and those who were involved in and knew about this spying operation should be subject to criminal prosecution,’ he said this week.
‘In a stronger period of time in our country,’ he added with typical understatement, ‘this crime would have been punishable by death.’
Executions may not be on the cards but criminal charges are certainly possible.
It remains unclear where, ultimately, Durham’s investigation will go. But so far it has suggested that if any party has a case to answer over the Russian collusion scandal, it may well be the Democrats, not the Republicans.
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