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FIRST ON FOX: Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation has “accelerated,” and more people are “cooperating” and coming before the federal grand jury than has previously been reported, a source familiar with the probe told Fox News.
The source told Fox News Monday that Durham has run his investigation “very professionally,” and, unlike Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, his activities, and witness information and cooperation status are rarely, if ever, leaked.
“Durham does this right and keeps it a secret,” the source said, adding that there has been “much more activity” in Durham’s investigation “than has been visible to the public.”
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The closest look Durham has given with regard to grand jury witnesses came in a federal court filing last month, outlining materials that had been provided by the special counsel’s office to defense attorneys for former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann.
Sussmann has been charged making a false statement to a federal agent. Sussmann has pleaded not guilty.
Durham’s Jan. 25 filing tells the court that the special counsel’s office provided materials, including “transcripts of sworn grand jury testimony by the following witnesses” to Sussmann’s team.
Durham does not explicitly include the names of individuals who testified before the grand jury in the filing, but rather, their professional titles, or titles assigned to them by the special counsel’s office.
Durham lists a number of individuals, including “the above-referenced former FBI General Counsel,” which could be a reference to James Baker, who served as FBI general counsel from January 2014 until May 2018. Fox News reported in October that Durham had plans to call Baker to testify in the case against Sussmann.
The indictment against Sussmann, says he told then-FBI General Counsel James Baker in September 2016, less than two months before the 2016 presidential election, that he was not doing work “for any client” when he requested and held a meeting in which he presented “purported data and ‘white papers’ that allegedly demonstrated a covert communications channel” between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, which has ties to the Kremlin.
Durham’s Feb. 11 filing says that the “FBI General Counsel” will “likely be a central witness at trial.”
Baker did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Durham also provided grand jury testimony from “the above-referenced former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence.” It is unclear to which official Durham is referring, but the title could be a reference to Bill Priestap, who served as the FBI’s assistant director for counterintelligence from 2015 to 2018.
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Priestap did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Durham also lists “a former FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterintelligence.” It is unclear to whom Durham is referring.
Peter Strzok served as a deputy assistant director for counterintelligence. Three sources familiar with the FBI’s structure told Fox News there could be as many as three individuals serving in the deputy assistant director of counterintelligence role at a time.
Strzok, who was part of the original FBI investigation into whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election, and later in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, was fired from the FBI in 2018 after months of scrutiny regarding anti-Trump text messages exchanged with former FBI General Counsel Lisa Page. Their anti-Trump text messages were uncovered by the Justice Department inspector general.
Fox News was unable to reach Strzok for comment.
Durham, in the filing, also lists testimony from “the attorney previously employed by Law Firm-1 who is referred to in the Indictment as ‘Campaign Lawyer-1.’” It is unclear to whom Durham is referring.
However, in a separate Durham filing on Feb. 11, the special counsel states that “Campaign Lawyer-1” was “serving as General Counsel to the Clinton Campaign.” Three sources told Fox News that individual is Marc Elias, who served as general counsel to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, and worked at the law firm Perkins Coie.
Elias’ law firm, Perkins Coie, is the firm that the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign funded the anti-Trump dossier through. The unverified dossier was authored by ex-British Intelligence agent Christopher Steele and commissioned by opposition research firm Fusion GPS.
A spokesperson for Elias did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Durham, in the filing, also lists “an FBI Special Agent who served as case agent for the FBI’s Russian Bank-1 investigation” and “an FBI Headquarters Supervisory Special Agent assigned to the Russian Bank-1 investigation.” Durham also adds “two current employees of Agency-2;” “two current or former employees of University 1;” and “a former employee of Internet Company-3.”
A spokesperson for Special Counsel John Durham told Fox News that special counsel’s office “will decline to comment beyond the court filings.”
But a source familiar with federal investigations told Fox News that federal prosecutors cannot indict an individual and then use a grand jury to investigate matters in an existing indictment.
The source, though, said a prosecutor can indict an individual for a specific crime, and continue to use the grand jury to explore other crimes related to that individual, and beyond.
“They are looking at more than Sussmann,” the source said.
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In Durham’s Jan. 25, 2022 filing, he states:
“The Government also maintains an active, ongoing criminal investigation of the defendant’s [Sussmann’s] conduct and other matters,” Durham wrote.
Meanwhile, Fox News first reported on Durham’s Feb. 11 filing, which alleged that lawyers from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016 had paid to infiltrate servers belonging to Trump Tower and later the White House, in order to establish an “inference” and “narrative” to bring to federal government agencies linking Donald Trump to Russia.
In a section titled “Factual Background,” Durham revealed that Sussmann “had assembled and conveyed the allegations to the FBI on behalf of at least two specific clients, including a technology executive (Tech Executive 1) at a U.S.-based internet company (Internet Company 1) and the Clinton campaign.”
Durham’s filing said Sussmann’s “billing records reflect” that he “repeatedly billed the Clinton Campaign for his work on the Russian Bank-1 allegations.”
The latest filing states that in July 2016, the tech executive worked with Sussmann, a U.S. investigative firm retained by Law Firm 1 on behalf of the Clinton campaign, numerous cyber researchers and employees at multiple internet companies to “assemble the purported data and white papers.”
“In connection with these efforts, Tech Executive-1 exploited his access to non-public and/or proprietary Internet data,” the filing states. “Tech Executive-1 also enlisted the assistance of researchers at a U.S.-based university who were receiving and analyzing large amounts of Internet data in connection with a pending federal government cybersecurity research contract.”
“Tech Executive-1 tasked these researchers to mine Internet data to establish ‘an inference’ and ‘narrative’ tying then-candidate Trump to Russia,” Durham wrote. “In doing so, Tech Executive-1 indicated that he was seeking to please certain ‘VIPs,’ referring to individuals at Law Firm-1 and the Clinton campaign.”
Durham also wrote that during Sussmann’s trial, the government will establish that among the Internet data Tech Executive-1 and his associates exploited was domain name system (DNS) internet traffic pertaining to “(i) a particular healthcare provider, (ii) Trump Tower, (iii) Donald Trump’s Central Park West apartment building, and (iv) the Executive Office of the President of the United States (EOP).”
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Durham stated that the internet company that Tech Executive-1 worked for “had come to access and maintain dedicated servers” for the Executive Office of the President as “part of a sensitive arrangement whereby it provided DNS resolution services to the EOP.”
“Tech Executive-1 and his associates exploited this arrangement by mining the EOP’s DNS traffic and other data for the purpose of gathering derogatory information about Donald Trump,” Durham states.
The filing also reveals that Sussmann provided “an updated set of allegations” including the Russian bank data, and additional allegations relating to Trump “to a second agency of the U.S. government” in 2017.
Durham says the allegations “relied, in part, on the purported DNS traffic” that Tech Executive-1 and others “had assembled pertaining to Trump Tower, Donald Trump’s New York City apartment building, the EOP, and the aforementioned healthcare provider.”
In Sussmann’s meeting with the second U.S. government agency, Durham says he “provided data which he claimed reflected purportedly suspicious DNS lookups by these entities of internet protocol (IP) addresses affiliated with a Russian mobile phone provider,” and claimed that the lookups “demonstrated Trump and/or his associates were using supposedly rare, Russian-made wireless phones in the vicinity of the White House and other locations.”
“The Special Counsel’s Office has identified no support for these allegations,” Durham wrote, adding that the “lookups were far from rare in the United States.”
“For example, the more complete data that Tech Executive-1 and his associates gathered–but did not provide to Agency 2–reflected that between approximately 2014 and 2017, there were a total of more than 3 million lookups of Russian Phone-Prover 1 IP addresses that originated with U.S.-based IP addresses,” Durham wrote. “Fewer than 1,000 of these lookups originated with IP addresses affiliated with Trump Tower.”
Durham added that data collected by Tech Executive-1 also found that lookups began as early as 2014, during the Obama administration and years before Trump took office, which he said, is “another fact which the allegations omitted.”
“In his meeting with Agency-2 employees, the defendant also made a substantially similar false statement as he made to the FBI General Counsel,” Durham wrote. “In particular, the defendant asserted that he was not representing a particular client in conveying the above allegations.”
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“In truth and in fact, the defendant was representing Tech Executive-1–a fact the defendant subsequently acknowledged under oath in December 2017 testimony before Congress, without identifying the client by name,” Durham wrote.
At this point, Durham has indicted three people as part of his investigation: Sussmann in September 2021, Igor Danchenko on Nov. 4, 2021 and Kevin Clinesmith in August 2020.
Danchenko was charged with making a false statement and is accused of lying to the FBI about the source of information that he provided to Christopher Steele for the anti-Trump dossier.
Kevin Clinesmith was also charged with making a false statement. Clinesmith had been referred for potential prosecution by the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office, which conducted its own review of the Russia investigation.
Specifically, the inspector general accused Clinesmith, though not by name, of altering an email about Page to say that he was “not a source” for another government agency. Page has said he was a source for the CIA. The DOJ relied on that assertion as it submitted a third and final renewal application in 2017 to eavesdrop on Trump campaign aide Carter Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Meanwhile, this week, sources told Fox News that former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe met with Durham on multiple occasions and told him there was evidence in intelligence to support the indictments of “multiple people” in his investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe.
Former President Trump reacted to the filing on Saturday evening, saying Durham’s filing “provides indisputable evidence that my campaign and presidency were spied on by operatives paid by the Hillary Clinton Campaign in an effort to develop a completely fabricated connection to Russia.”
“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,” Trump said. “In a stronger period of time in our country, this crime would have been punishable by death.”
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