IMPORTANT UPDATE: Jerry Dunleavy at the Washington Examiner has an excellent piece in which he spells out the significance of the first of these two stories. He points out that the potential legal conflicts faced by Igor Danchenko wouldn’t matter to the court unless Durham were looking specifically at Hillary Clinton and those dwelling in her inner circle for the origin of the phony Trump-Russia hoax.. (We suspect that certain members of the Brookings Institution, particularly longtime Clinton crony Strobe Talbott, figure prominently.) It's really starting to look as though Durham has put the pieces of this monumentally complex puzzle together, knows exactly what he’s dealing with, and is methodically bearing down on Hillary. Go get 'er.
Today I bring you two stories that one might not think would necessarily involve Hillary Clinton, but it turns out they do. It really does seem that all roads lead to Hillary.
First, can anything else be said about Hillary Clinton’s connection with the Christopher Steele “dossier” and the Trump-Russia hoax? Actually, yes!
I tell this story simply as an amusing anecdote that testifies to the incestuous nature of Washington DC politics and law, which should be news to no one. Gosh, it’s really challenging for a Democrat in Washington DC to find legal representation that doesn’t have some huge conflict of interest. It’s amazing they can find conflict-free representation at all, though I have to say it must be even harder for Republican associates of Donald Trump to get representation, as some DC law firms won’t even take those cases. If memory serves, top firms in DC refused to represent Trump during his impeachment(s). Apparently there was concern among their attorneys that they might be excluded from certain circles and not get invited to the right cocktail parties if they did. I digress.
Anyway, consider the case of Igor Danchenko, the Russian-born “sub-source” who has been indicted and pleaded not guilty on five counts of making false statements to the FBI about the information he provided for Steele that was used in the fictional “dossier.” Danchenko has already had to replace one defense attorney, Mark Schamel, because Schamel also happens to be representing one of the Georgia Tech computer scientists, Manos Antonakakis, who has been identified as “Researcher – 1” in Special Counsel John Durham’s “speaking indictment” of former Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussmann. As you’ll recall, Sussmann was indicted for lying to FBI general counsel James Baker in 2016 when he failed to disclose he was working for Hillary’s campaign when he came around peddling the fake story of Trump Tower and supposedly Putin-connected Alfa Bank communicating through computer “pings,” which turned out to be totally harmless marketing emails. By obtaining Sussmann’s billing records, Durham found proof he was “on the clock” for Hillary while telling the FBI this bogus story.
So after he dropped Schamel as his attorney due to this conflict of interest, Danchenko went to the law firm Schertler & Onorato to engage the services of Danny Onorato and Stuart Sears. But now we see that this might not work out, either, because it turns out that another lawyer from that firm, identified as Robert Trout, has deep ties with Hillary’s 2016 presidential campaign. (Note to Danchenko: I think it might be very hard in Washington DC to find a law firm not associated with the Clintons in one way or another.) Durham has put his concerns about this potential conflict into a court filing, asking a federal judge to determine if there’s a problem.
A prosecutor certainly wouldn’t want to discover some major conflict of interest in the middle of a trial –- it might even lead to a mistrial –- so he has to anticipate such scenarios and try to head them off. And this kind of situation could arise even though Trout isn’t directly involved in the Danchenko case. ”The interest of the Clinton campaign and the defendant might diverge,” Durham wrote to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. “For example, the Clinton campaign and the defendant each might have an incentive to shift blame and/or responsibility to the other party for any alleged false information that was contained with the [Steele dossier] and/or provided to the FBI.”
To complicate this matter even further, Trout hasn’t just been involved in the Clinton campaign but also personally represented John Podesta, the former chairman of her campaign, during his December 2017 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. So Danchenko may have to keep looking to find a DC attorney who's not tainted by some entanglement with the Clintons. Good luck with that!
Durham said it’s possible for the court to waive this conflict of interest, but it was his responsibility to bring it to their attention.
But I saved the more compelling story for last: Did you know that in spite of her determination to destroy inconvenient or even incriminating emails from when she was Obama's secretary of state, some communications have turned up from June of 2009 that show she was aware then of the threat posed by Chinese bioweapon research, specifically at the Wuhan Institute of Virology? At that time, she warned in an email to embassies that such activities could lead to “biological weapons proliferation concern.”
She wrote: “The U.S. believes participants would benefit from hearing about your [France’s] experiences assisting China in setting up a Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology from the export control and intangible technology transfer perspectives. We are particularly interested to know how China plans to vet incoming foreign researchers from countries of biological weapons proliferation concern.”
This went out in preparation for a meeting coming up a few months later of the Australia Group, an “international export control forum” whose purpose was to prevent the spread of technologies and research that could be used for chemical and/or biological weapons. Members included the EU, France, India, Japan, South Korea and others. China, Russia, Iran, North Korea: NOT members.
Read more details about this communication at the link. It would be very interesting to see if the Australia Group seriously addressed the concern about the Wuhan lab at their meeting.
The State Department cable that contains this information was posted by Wikileaks. Here’s the full communication; the part about Chinese bioweapons is in point #9.
So, the danger posed by Chinese research into bioweapons was at least on Hillary’s radar screen in 2009. But then, the issue appears to have been dropped. A decade later, when the pandemic hit, Hillary responded to suspicions that COVID-19 had leaked from the lab with accusations of racism by President Trump against Asian Americans --- “the recent rise of anti-Asian bigotry fueled by Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric,” as she tweeted at the time.
What a crock. Hillary must have known good and well, in her first year at the State Department, that the Wuhan lab posed a legitimate threat to public safety around the globe, but she had let it drop years before the pandemic hit and no doubt wouldn’t want anyone talking about that. So she used a bit of misdirection and painted Trump as a racist for daring to implicate the Chi-Comms. With a little help from the media, that’s what the conversation became. But we know the real story now.