By Brian Cates - July 16, 2021
So where is that John Durham fellow anyway?
Ever since Attorney General William Barr introduced Durham to the country back in June of 2019 as the prosecutor who would do a deep dive into the whole SpyGate/RussiaGate affair, it’s not that he’s been hard to find…it’s that nobody can find him.
Where’s his office located at? Nobody seems to know.
When Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team were doing their investigation of alleged Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government, it was widely known they were working out of the Washington D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office.
But even after Barr revealed in a letter to Congress shortly before he shuffled on out the door as Attorney General last December that he’d appointed Durham to be a new Special Counsel with a super-wide scope that included the previous Special Counsel headed by Robert Mueller, nobody seemed able to track Durham down. Where does he hang his shingle? Who exactly is on his team right now? What exactly are they up to at the moment? It appears to all be a big mystery.
President Donald J. Trump even took to sarcastically demanding to know if Durham was a real person in his public statements. He also demanded to know if there would ever be a “Durham report”.
Because a lot of people have no sarcasm detector, a narrative instantly sprang to life that Trump was saying Durham didn’t really exist. People often make the mistake of taking Trump literally when he’s joking or being sarcastic, and then alternately claiming he’s joking when he’s not.
But there is a very real and compelling reason behind why Special Counsel John Durham has virtually disappeared in Washington D.C. as he’s now spent almost three years investigating some of the most powerful and influential people in America.
John Durham had to become a ghost for a reason. Let me take you on a walk down Memory Lane. It will be sort of long, but you need some background to understand the point I’m about to make.
Ken Starr’s Big Mistake
Back in August of 1994, prosecutor Ken Starr made one huge mistake right at the start after he was appointed by a panel of judges to handle a very politically sensitive investigation involving a series of shady-looking bank loans related to a failed land deal called “Whitewater”.
What made this probe so politically sensitive was that newly elected President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary were both involved in the land deal and the loans when he had been Governor of Arkansas.
The mistake Starr made was that he opted to be as completely transparent as he could during the course of his investigation, to demonstrate he was not some secret inquisitor. And Democrats and their news media allies took full and complete advantage of Starr’s naïve transparency.
Starr allowed all the top members of his investigative team to be publicly identified in the press, a team that included future Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
While Starr’s Special Counsel investigation began as a probe into the Clinton’s participation in a series of shady looking loans that were part of the failed Whitewater land deals, and wasn’t garnering all that much attention, it kept expanding the longer it went on, until finally it blew up.
From Boring Land Deals To Perjury About Sex
At the same time as Starr’s Whitewater probe was getting underway, a woman named Paula Jones had filed a lawsuit against President Clinton, claiming sexual harassment while he was Governor of Arkansas. She claimed she was escorted by an Arkansas State Trooper to the Governor’s hotel room, where he had exposed himself to her and attempted to have sex without her consent.
Also during his first Presidential term, Bill Clinton had begun having a series of sexual trysts with an unpaid White House intern named Monica Lewinsky – and some of their sexual acts were occurring in the White House – several times inside the Oval Office itself.
Uneasy about her relationship with the President and wondering how she could parlay it into advantages for herself, Lewinsky began confiding over the phone to a friend named Linda Tripp, who recorded some of these conversations in which Lewinsky detailed her sexual activities with the President.
When rumors surfaced about Lewinsky’s relationship with Clinton, she submitted an affidavit in the Jones case denying any sexual relationship had occurred.
While all of this had been going on, Clinton was re-elected in 1996, handily beating Republican challenger Robert Dole. When Linda Tripp was subsequently scheduled to be interviewed under oath in the Jones lawsuit, Lewinsky urged Tripp to lie and commit perjury. Linda Tripp went to Ken Starr instead and gave him the tapes.
And so it was in January of 1998, just as Bill Clinton reached the halfway point of his second term in office, that the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, and entire country learned about the sexual liaisons President Clinton had been having in the Oval Office.
Ken Starr, National Pariah
What had begun as a mostly ignored investigation into a series of shady loans in a failed land deal suddenly exploded into a massive scandal involving a married President performing sex acts in the Oval Office with a woman young enough to be his daughter, and then encouraging all his close aides and friends to lie about it under oath.
It was buried at the time, but the President of the United States had opened himself up to blackmail and had ended up trying to buy Lewinsky’s silence with a series of increasingly lucrative job offers, none of which she was qualified for.
The Clintons and their key advisor, James Carville, quickly opted for a Sherman-marching-through-Georgia strategy for dealing with the scandal as a way of keeping attention off of how seriously Clinton has compromised himself.
It was decided that they would ruthlessly pillory Starr and his investigative team looking into Clinton’s perjury as ‘sex obsessed prudes’ and ‘sex inquisitors’. The attacks would be intensely personal.
The Clinton allies would chant it like a mantra that there was no real scandal here because it was all ‘just about sex’.
Whereas before such vicious scorched-earth tactics had been reserved for the multiple women who had dared to come forward and publicly talk about their liaisons with Clinton – or about his attempts to sexually force himself upon them – now they would utilize upon a Special Counsel and his staff.
The results were not pretty.
The press hounded not just Starr but all the top members of his team. And this went on for months.
Because remember, Starr had opted for complete transparency with these people. He had made himself incredibly easy to find.
All while he and his team were still in the investigative phase of their probe.
I remember seeing several times in news reports CNN and other news media outlets camped out on the street in front of Starr’s house, just so they could scream questions at the bespectacled prosecutor with his newspaper under his arm and his briefcase in hand as he walked to his car in the driveway. What made that redundant and infuriating is that they knew exactly where he was going and could have done that at his office.
Now despite the tactics the Clinton’s and their media allies used on Ken Starr, Bill Clinton was still impeached for his perjury. He was forced to admit he had lied to the country, boldly and with finger-wagging arrogance about never having had sex with “Ms. Lewinsky”.
But everybody in the DOJ and in the legal profession saw the toll the Clinton tactics exacted on Starr and his team, how ugly and personal it got. It made an already tough job far more difficult than it should have been.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who was around back in the 1990’s who followed the Whitewater Investigation and the absurd over-the-top treatment Starr received from the Democratic establishment in D.C. and from their fellow travelers in the mainstream press.
The “Starr Treatment” Changed How Special Counsel Investigations Are Conducted
It should be commented on more often how the Clinton’s and Carville’s scorched-earth strategy against Ken Starr and federal prosecutors just doing their jobs changed the way Special Counsel investigations are done.
No Special Counsel appointed since then that I am aware of has ever opted for the kind of transparency that Starr did as they performed the investigative phase of their work. Certainly not if they were investigating Democrats in Washington D.C.
Durham Is A Ghost For A Very Good Reason
Now, let me explain why I just took you through that long foray down Memory Lane. Because everything I just told you applies directly to John Durham . . .