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Friday, June 21, 2024

Rep. Dan Bishop Presses John Durham on His Investigation’s Shortcomings

'It seems inexplicable you didn’t compel their testimony. Can you explain that? ... '

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Most Republican legislators spent Wednesday’s much-anticipated congressional hearing into the Durham report by underscoring what’s been apparent for years: that the FBI lacked sufficient basis for launching a politically charged probe into possible links between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

But Rep. Dan Bishop, R-NC, wanted to know why the report’s author, former Special Counsel John Durham, didn’t interview key players involved in what’s now widely known in conservative circles as the Russia-Gate hoax.

As noted in Durham’s report, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok, former confidential informant Igor Danchenko and others declined to be interviewed as part of the former special counsel’s investigation.

“It seems inexplicable you didn’t compel their testimony,” Bishop said. “Can you explain that?”

Durham declined to comment on most of the individuals mentioned above, but he did speak about Danchenko—a source of phony Russia collusion information who was charged, but ultimately acquitted, of five counts of making false statements to the FBI.

Bishop noted that Danchenko had been an FBI informant until October 2020—more than a year before he was criminally charged—but that Durham didn’t interview him during that time. Durham said he had to inform Danchenko that he was the target of the special counsel’s investigation at the time, and that they “didn’t arrive at a point where we could interview him.”

As for Comey and the others, Durham said compelling their testimony would have required him to clear a number of legal hurdles.

“The only way you can compel a person’s testimony is to get a court order after someone asserts a Fifth Amendment privilege,” he said.

And even if he went through the work of obtaining a court order, Durham said that might have been a waste of time if witnesses simply claimed to have memory failures.

“You have to make the judgement if it’s worth the effort to get them to say, ‘I don’t’ recall, I don’t recall,’” he said.

Along with pressing Durham about his failure to interview key Russia-Gate players, Bishop wanted to know why the special counsel didn’t investigate why the FBI disseminated false talking points to Congress in March 2017—two months after the bureau already debunked many of the key allegations underpinning the Russia collusion narrative.

Bishop was referring to a seven-page FBI memo that falsely alleged, among other things, that former Trump foreign policy advisor Carter Page had served as an intermediary between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. In fact, Page had been a CIA asset during the time he was accused of being a traitor and working with Russia.

Durham said he was aware of these false talking points disseminated by the FBI, but said they weren’t the focus of his investigation.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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