A discussion of special counsel John Durham’s latest court filings wouldn’t be complete without the perspectives of analysts Margot Cleveland, senior legal correspondent at The Federalist, and Jonathan Turley, professor at George Washington University Law School, and we have them both today.

First, in case you didn’t see it yesterday, here’s the link to Part 1. One huge take-away from that is that the CIA, after being approached by Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann with the fake Trump-Russia story --- including the weird tale about unusual Russian-made cell phones “following” Trump --- said it was “not technically plausible” and (the big one) “user-created.” Sussmann’s attorneys, of the Democrat-connected firm Latham and Watkins, are fighting like mad to keep this and all the CIA evidence out.

Turley was interviewed by Laura Ingraham on Monday night, and she asked a great question: Why might Durham have thought it was necessary to get all this information into the public domain via his detailed court filings? He said this is because Sussmann and his attorneys are taking a “real scorched-earth approach” to the trial, trying to keep evidence out, trying to keep witnesses from receiving immunity for their testimony. “That has forced the hand of this special counsel,” he said. Durham has had to tell the court why this evidence is so important.

Turley didn’t say this, but I wonder if by fighting so hard to keep this evidence out of court, Sussmann's team is calling even more attention to it than there might otherwise have been. Not that most mainstream media will cover it at all –- as with every other Democrat scandal, they’re getting whiplash from looking the other way –- but it’s slowly making its way into public consciousness --- at least among those members of the public who are conscious.

Turley pointed out that the law firm Perkins Coie, representing Hillary For America and the DNC, had “two of the critical figures,” Sussmann (under indictment) and the general counsel for the campaign, Marc Elias. Sussmann was working on the phony Alfa Bank story, and Elias was working on the phony Steele “dossier.” Recall that the FEC has recently fined the Clinton campaign for illegally hiding the true use of its funds by laundering the cash through Perkins Coie to pay Fusion GPS for the “dossier.” Just as Elias hid the purpose of that money billed to “legal services,” so Sussman hid the fact that he was acting on behalf of clients.

The significance: both of these were Russian collusion hoaxes, coordinated through Perkins Coie. It seems they were on parallel tracks, timed to coincide. That’s why Durham is lumping them together and including evidence of both in his case; he’s saying one set of facts helps prove the other.

On his own website, Turley’s headline emphasizes something we reported yesterday, that “five witnesses connected to the Clinton campaign’s false Russian claims have refused to cooperate.” These are members of that George Tech cyber team who either took the Fifth, so as not to incriminate themselves, or signified to Durham their intent to do so. The one who hadn’t was “Researcher – 2," not identified in the filing but known to be David Dagon, and he has had immunity since last July 28, over a month before Sussmann’s indictment.

Because those five researchers took the Fifth, Durham “pursued Researcher – 2’s immunity in order to uncover otherwise unavailable facts underlying the opposition research project that Tech Executive – 1 [Rodney Joffe] and others carried out in advance of the Defendant’s meeting with the FBI.”

“Researcher – 2” allegedly has information on meetings with both Elias and Steele.

Durham has numerous email exchanges that show doubts within the cyber team that they could fool people with their “evidence” of Trump-Russia collusion. “According to Durham, the Alfa Bank story fell apart even before Sussmann delivered it to the FBI,” Turley says. “...Notably, there were many who expressed misgivings not only within the companies working on the secret project but also among unnamed ‘university researchers’ who repeatedly said the argument was bogus.”

Researchers were told not to look for proof but just enough to “give the base of a very useful narrative.” You’ve seen the quote from “Researcher – 1”: “Let’s assume again that they are not smart enough to refute our ‘best case scenario.’ You do realize that we will have to expose every trick we have in our bag to make even a very weak association.”

I like to contrast the previous two paragraphs with the way Sussmann characterized these same researchers in bringing his user-created “evidence” to the CIA. Why, they were so brave, coming forward with information they thought was so important to the U.S. government that they did so at great personal risk, under threat from Russian intelligence! That’s why, of course, they insisted on remaining anonymous!

Margot Cleveland has weighed in on the Friday filings as well, and she always comes up with new angles. She points out that Durham is having to address about a dozen “tedious issues” regarding what evidence he may use at trial, as the defense is trying to get whatever it can excluded.

Recall that when the story broke about Sussmann TEXTING to FBI general counsel James Baker that he was not acting on behalf of any client, we wondered, “Why is this just now coming out?” The defense had been saying it was just hearsay, a “he said—he said,” and that there was no proof of this lie. Then, suddenly, there was the stunning proof that no one had seemed to know about. Where'd it come from?

Sussmann’s attorneys are claiming the text was stored on the cloud and that Baker had suddenly realized he never retrieved those messages. It had been thought that perhaps the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General had withheld them, but apparently no. The court will have to decide whether this was an attempt to obstruct evidence.

Also, read Cleveland’s piece to see how obvious it is now that these people were SPYING ON Trump. By claiming those “Russian-made” cellphones appeared to be “following” Trump, they had to have Trump’s physical position. Were they using GPS to track him? This is something new. I thought we couldn’t be shocked anymore, but it they did this, consider me shocked a little.

Finally, as we told you yesterday, it’s David Dagon, “Tech Researcher – 2,” who was given immunity last July. (Reportedly, an unidentified Fusion GPS employee will also have immunity as a witness.) Cleveland is intrigued, because Dagon, one of the Georgia Tech crew, worked on both the Alfa Bank hoax and the Russian cell phone hoax. This and other details suggest that Dagon “holds a wealth of knowledge” related to both hoaxes. He should know the roles various people played, and he’ll be able to relate what information he and his team told Sussmann about the weakness of their “evidence.” That might make it harder for Sussmann to profess ignorance in that regard.

No wonder the defense team wants to keep it all out. Latham and Watkins and its elite Democrat clients have a lot more at stake than just fighting this one charge of lying.

This might be the calm before the storm for the Hunter Biden laptop story. Discussion seems to be moving from the contents –- we’ve got the idea and need to take repeated showers with antibacterial soap –- to the significance of those contents. On Wednesday, The Hill reported that Biden has told Obama he intends to run again in 2024. But on the same day, Townhall ran a piece by Oliver North and David Goetsch entitled “Biden’s Family Scandal: Never Underestimate the Power of Blackmail.”

Not long ago, we went to Andrew C. McCarthy’s book BALL OF COLLUSION to look at the corruption in Ukraine, the so-called influence peddling in which so many on both sides of the aisle engage. The context was Paul Manafort and how he ever became Trump’s campaign chairman, but this is the same environment where the “Biden family business” thrived. And just as Manafort became politically vulnerable because of his activities and connections, so did the Bidens. That can especially be said of the patriarch, Joe Biden, who had by far the most to lose. The chorus is growing that this scandal isn’t about Hunter, but about the President.

That’s precisely the point made in the Townhall piece. “All Hunter ever peddled to China, Russia and Ukraine was access to his father,” it says. “Hunter not only compromised his father but set him up for blackmail.”

Amazingly, the two enemies President Biden is having to face down in 2022, Russia and China, happen to be the very nations in which he is eminently blackmail-able.

Ah, but you might say that neither Russia nor China has released anything on him. That must mean there's nothing else.

Au contraire. Blackmail is like revenge –- best served cold. Meanwhile, the blackmailer holds on to whatever he has so he can hold the threat of using it over his victim. In the meantime, he WANTS his stooge to remain where he is. The victim knows that if his blackmailers are displeased, they’ll “release the Kraken.”

And since what we already know is so bad –- assuming that Joe was “the Big Guy” and the plan was to give him a 10 percent cut of the action –- one might imagine that “the Kraken” is exponentially worse. (Or, as Biden might say, “expodentially.”)

The Chinese, especially, are masters of blackmail. Joe Biden might swear up and down that he never profited from his family’s business dealings, but the authors of this piece pose a provocative question: “How did a lifelong politician who often claimed to be ‘the poorest man in the United States Senate’ suddenly become a multimillionaire on the Vice President’s salary, which in 2017 was $230,700?”

(Aside: That question is right up there with, “How did a couple of grifters from Arkansas go from being ‘dead broke’ to flying high in the wealth stratosphere, seemingly protected from any legal consequences of their actions?” I digress.)

Also recall the email that refers to Joe wanting to talk to Hunter “about his [Joe’s] future earnings potential.” We’ll ask again: Why would he be asking his son about that?

As FBI Director Chris Wray said in 2020, “China uses a diverse range of sophisticated techniques, everything from cyber intrusions to corrupting trusted insiders” to get what it wants. He went on to say that blackmail is one of their favorite tactics.

That’s one reason why it was so shocking to learn that California Rep. Eric Swalwell had had a close relationship with a Chinese agent, “Fang Fang,” that started even when he in his first political job, on a city council. Playing the long game, she helped groom him for higher office. Finally, she realized her cover was blown and high-tailed it back to China.

Congress didn’t take that revelation seriously enough –- might some of them be compromised, too? Swalwell takes a lower profile for now, but he’s still around and, amazingly, still has his seat on the HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, where he once investigated President Trump over bogus ties to Russia.

Moving on...As reported by Jason Chaffetz on FOX News Sunday, a group of 16 GOP legislators is calling on the “Justice” Department to brief Congress on the federal investigation into the President’s son, telling Attorney General Merrick Garland in a letter, “It is imperative that the Department of Justice brief Congress on the nature of Mr. Weiss’s investigation into Hunter Biden. Congress has a constitutional obligation to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch an a moral obligation to examine if the President of the United States or any senior official in his administration is ethically compromised or injured.”

Chaffetz asked his guest, Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, what U.S. District Attorney David Weiss, head of the Delaware investigation into Hunter’s taxes that was made public in December 2020 (note: AFTER the election), might use as an excuse not to brief Congress. “The only excuse they might have,” Biggs said, “is that they don’t want to give us the information.” Yes, it’s typical for them to say they don’t comment on ongoing investigations. But, as Biggs said, 51 former intel officials signed a now-infamous letter saying the laptop had “classic earmarks” of Russian disinformation. They didn’t seem to mind talking about THAT, even when what they were saying wasn’t true.

“That was to suppress this for the election in 2020,” Biggs said. “...If they’re not going to give us information, it does continue to look like the cover-up that we suspect it to be.” He’s concerned that not only might Joe Biden and his family be compromised, but “quite frankly, certain folks and assets within DOJ” might be as well.

What Congress needs, Chaffetz said, is “information about the flow of money.” Biggs, a member of the House Oversight Committee, said they’ll keep pushing. Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, is also committed to doing so.

California Rep. Darrell Issa, who also appeared on the show, took a take-charge stance and announced that Republicans in Congress are not waiting for the “Justice” Department to appoint a special counsel. They have a copy of the laptop’s hard drive and will just start their own investigation, thank-you-very-much. They don’t have subpoena power, though, unless (until!) they retake Congress.

Mr. Weiss is a Trump appointee. Ironically, Biden couldn’t request his resignation, as is customary in a new administration, because Weiss already headed the ongoing investigation. (This isn’t Ukraine, after all.)

In late February, law professor Jonathan Turley commented on Weiss and the investigation going on in Delaware. Weiss apparently has called numerous witnesses to testify about Hunter’s lavish lifestyle. Turley’s biggest question is the scope of the investigation, saying the uncertainty surrounding that is the reason increasingly being cited for the need to appoint a special counsel, which Merrick Garland still refuses to do, “despite the clear basis for such an appointment.” Turley’s piece is a must-read…

Oh, and wouldn't want to forget this:

Speaking of mocking the ridiculous things leftists do, sometimes the jokes write themselves.

Like this story: ProPublica, the leftist journalism nonprofit that’s underwritten by billionaires, held an event on April 12th called “The Billionaire Playbook,” about how rich people are allegedly evading taxes. Its sponsors included the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which has been accused of tax fraud.

Or try this headline: “Foundation gives Harvard $5 million to study ‘wealth inequality.’”

Considering that Harvard is sitting on the world’s biggest endowment – over $53 billion at last check – and to them, $5 million is pocket change, you’d think they’d already know everything there is to know about wealth inequality.

From PJ Media: “Left calls for an end to gun violence then gives shopping mall mass shooter $25K bond and house arrest.”

Talk about shooting your own foot off. Finally, there’s this: “World’s largest carbon removal facility designed to fight global warming suffers major setback after Arctic blast freezes machinery.”

This is why I say that the left may rail against “misinformation” and “disinformation,” but that’s just to deflect from their real enemy: information.

Monday, a federal judge in Florida struck down the national mask mandate on airplanes and other mass transit, finding that while the CDC’s intentions might have been laudable, it overstepped its powers, failed to justify its decision, and did not follow proper rule-making procedures.

While the Biden White House urged people to keep wearing masks anyway (I get the impression Joe wears one in the shower), Uber, Amtrak, multiple airlines and airports immediately began rescinding their mask requirements and telling passengers that they could free their faces.

And to quote Monty Python, “There was much rejoicing.”

Of course, not everyone is happy to once again breathe the safe, heavily-filtered air of freedom. Some people are screaming at the sky and demanding the ruling be appealed.

They’ve become so deeply invested in COVID dogma that telling them they don’t have to wear a mask is like telling a devout Muslim to take off her burqa. The Japanese have even coined a term for this condition: “mask dependency.” They claim they’re on the side of science. But are they really?

I’ve never understood why these people demand that everybody else wear a mask. If they truly believe that masks block the virus, then isn’t the one they’re wearing protection enough? They claim they want to prevent the spread of the disease to others, but from the way they’re constantly screaming at, insulting and threatening those who disagree with them, and wishing mass death on them, I find it hard to believe they’re all that altruistic.

Here’s the bottom line on masks: as uncomfortable and inconvenient as they are, I wouldn’t mind wearing one if I thought it was actually doing any good. We followed the suggested protocols at the time and asked our TV studio audience to wear them, which I swear is the only reason you couldn’t hear them laughing uproariously at my jokes.

But we now have plenty of data showing that mask mandates have had terrible adverse effects on children while making virtually no difference in the spread of COVID. The cloth masks most people wear don’t block the transmission of an extremely microscopic airborne virus. Not to mention that most people, especially children, don’t follow the strict rules for handling masks, which ends up making them less sanitary than going maskless.

If you have any friends who are melting down at the thought of taking off their masks, you might want to share this article by John Tierney at City Journal.

It contains a lot of data, including a chart comparing the COVID spread rates in states with and without mask mandates. They’re virtually identical. So were the cumulative death rates over the course of the pandemic, except that the death rate was slightly lower in states without mask mandates.

To cite specific states, the media praised Rhode Island in the summer of 2020 for reaching a 96% mask compliance rate. It quickly went on to experience one of the worst COVID surges in America. The media savaged Florida and Iowa as “reckless and delusional” and accused them of not caring if people die for refusing or ending mask mandates. Their COVID death rates turned out to be lower than the national average.

Tierney also cites a book by data analyst Ian Miller called “Unmasked: The Global Failure of COVID Mask Mandates,” which “documents how mask mandates were implemented without scientific justification, how they failed around the world, and how public officials and journalists have kept making fools of themselves by pretending otherwise.” Might be good to have a copy of that to loan to your friends. But be sure to sanitize it for their protection.