Durham vs. Horowitz Involves More Than Cellphones
Over the past couple of weeks, a story has been developing about a “rift” between Special Counsel John Durham and Inspector General Michael Horowitz concerning some evidence that Durham had not received from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Just how important is this evidence, and why is Durham only now finding out about it? What does it mean to the Special Counsel investigation? Thanks to some outstanding reporting, this story is starting to gel, but some questions are unanswered.
A Complicated Legal Morass
The Epoch Times has a detailed new piece by Jeff Carlson and Hans Mahncke; it’s “premium,” so we’ve boiled it down and tried to make a complicated legal morass — which can certainly happen with two investigations going on at the same time — a little clearer.
Recall that Horowitz’s report was critical of the FBI but ultimately determined — to the dismay of many, including me — that the FBI had actually opened “Crossfire Hurricane” in good faith, with adequate “predication” (justification). Keep in mind that the OIG report was internal, dealing only with employees of the Justice (“Justice”) Department, while Durham’s has broad subpoena power and can bring criminal charges.
In a court filing dated January 25, Durham said Horowitz had failed to turn over to his office a couple of cellphones used by FBI General Counsel James Baker. This evidence was needed in connection with two investigations: the prosecution of Clinton attorney Michael Sussmann and the criminal leak investigation of Baker himself.
According to Durham’s updated filing on January 28, Horowitz’s office then told Durham that “the cellphones likely were discussed” in a conference call that took place almost four years ago, on February 12, 2018. But Durham said he doesn’t recall this discussion. He knew nothing about Horowitz’s possession of Baker’s cellphone until he was briefed by a separate FBI investigative team just a few weeks ago, on January 6.
It doesn’t seem likely the phones were discussed during that conference call, because Horowitz didn’t even get them until February 15, three days after the call, and there’s no record he informed Durham about receiving them. And Horowitz doesn’t remember for sure if he mentioned them, even though Durham was investigating Baker at the time for making “unauthorized disclosures to the media,” meaning criminally leaking. One would assume those phones would be pretty important.
It sure looks as though Durham didn’t know about the existence of those phones until Jan. 5, because on that day, he was seeking Baker’s “call log data” from the FBI’s Inspection Division. If he’d known about the phones, would he have needed the logs?
And There’s More …
But there’s more of even greater interest in Durham’s January 25 filing. Amazingly, Horowitz also failed to disclose that he and his general counsel had met personally with Sussmann (!) regarding a “cyber matter” in March 2017. He also failed to disclose the identity of a Hillary-connected individual who provided the data to Sussmann that led to that meeting. And this is a big deal — a huge part of Durham’s case against Sussmann.
Worse, Durham didn’t find this out from Horowitz, but from other sources, including Sussmann’s attorneys, who are entitled to discovery and apparently told him in their discovery meeting on January 20, “Hey, wait a minute, there’s nothing here about our client’s meeting with the OIG.” That material was missing even though Durham’s office had formally requested the OIG provide “all documents, records and information” in their possession regarding Sussmann.
The OIG did turn over some “relevant transcripts of interviews” about Crossfire Hurricane and, on December 17, 2021, a forensic report on the “cyber matter” that Sussmann had reported to the OIG. The “cyber matter” was that one of Sussmann’s clients (apparently “Tech Executive – 1” Rodney Jaffe) “had observed that a specific OIG employee’s computer was ‘seen publicly’ in ‘Internet traffic’ and was connected to a VPN (Virtual Private Network) in a foreign country.”
Horowitz told the Special Counsel that this was all he had. Durham provided it to Sussmann’s defense team on December 23, 2021.
Recall that Rodney Jaffe was coordinating with agents of the Clinton campaign to create the outlandish and quickly discredited story about Trump Tower communicating with Alfa Bank, to make it seem as if Trump had been signaling to the Kremlin. Jaffe was working with computer researchers at Georgia Tech to access private information, after which Georgia Tech got a $17 million Pentagon contract to research cybersecurity.
So, big question: who is this mysterious OIG employee? Why was Sussmann briefing Horowitz on this person’s activities? We want to know why Sussmann, who was a private attorney and not with the DOJ, would have been meeting with Horowitz, an internal affairs investigator, in early 2017. This was just a few weeks after pushing derogatory (and false) information about Trump to the CIA. It was also just a couple of months after Horowitz announced he was looking into the FBI’s handling of Crossfire Hurricane.
Regarding those phones of Baker’s, Durham asked the OIG on January 10 to conduct an “additional forensic examination.” On January 26, the day after Durham’s legal filing on the withheld evidence, the OIG finally responded with the forensic reports. But then, in his filing of January 28, Durham disclosed that Horowitz’s office had still more phones relating to the criminal leak investigation of Baker. Durham seems to have just found out about these in the past few days.
If you wonder why investigations take so ridiculously long, this one episode should give you some idea. But what a strange turn of events for defense attorneys to be providing the prosecutor with information that surprised him.
In case you missed Aaron Mate’s very detailed analysis of Durham vs. Horowitz from January 20 and have some time to catch up, here’s the link. The editors at RealClear Investigations sum it up this way: “As he exposes the role of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in false allegations about Trump-Russia collusion, Special Counsel John Durham is sharply challenging FBI apologists who claim dubious vindication from an inspector general’s finding that the Bureau’s probe was launched in good faith, Aaron Mate reports…”
Here’s another helpful refresher on Durham’s investigation from a few months ago. You might recognize the byline…
Mike Huckabee is the former governor of Arkansas and longtime conservative commentator on issues in culture and current events. A New York Times best-selling author, he hosts the weekly talk show Huckabee on TBN.
Originally published at MikeHuckabee.com. Reprinted with permission.