MSNBC Panel Very Worried Over Investigation Into Origin of Russia Probe

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It is a common refrain on MSNBC in the age of Trump that nobody is above law and to raise questions about investigations into high ranking officials is damaging to our institutions, unless of course that investigations is looking into alleged misconduct during the Obama years, then it is the investigation that is the threat to institutions. Such, was the argument that Andrea Mitchell made on her Monday show alongside former Obama officials Wendy Sherman and Ned Price in a segment that also torched plenty of strawmen in an attempt to described John Durham's investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.

Mitchell led off the segment by laying out the latest developments in Durham's investigation, "Attorney General William Barr's investigation into the origins of the Mueller probe has apparently gone a lot further than previously known, digging into CIA and FBI and decision making by President Obama with lead prosecutor John Durham taking on more staff in a push to speak to current and former intelligence officials in the U.S. and overseas."

 

 

That MSNBC is finally reporting on Durham's expanded work is nice, but it also not exactly new. Back on October 8, Fox's Brett Baier reported:

John Durham [is] expanding his investigation, the timeline, getting more federal agents, more resources. The U.S. Attorney from Connecticut looking into the beginnings of the Russian probe. Now it’s going to go all the way through until Mueller’s named special counsel. The other part about Mueller, that he, in fact, was interviewing for FBI director the day before he’s named as special counsel and Rod Rosenstein had asked him about being special counsel prior to that.

Later he predicted to Ben Domenech of The Federalist that people like Mitchell would have a hard time covering this story, "I mean, there could potentially be a ton here. We don’t know until we see these reports. And to be honest, there are some news organizations that are gonna have a hard time explaining it all because they haven’t really covered it."

Baier's prediction came true as Mitchell dismissed the entire investigation as right-wing conspiracy mongering, "Among the concerns, a Western intelligence official familiar with what Durham has been asking of foreign officials says his inquiries track closely with the questions raised about the Russia investigation in right-wing media."

Sherman also proved Baier correct, illustrating that she was no idea what the actual concerns people have about the origins of the Russia probe:

From the outside, this looks like a continuation of undermining the institutions of the United States government...Durham is a professional, but none the less it is quite concerning about what they’re doing and indeed, I think it is raising questions among diplomats around the world who are being questioned about whether in fact Russia was responsible for interfering in our elections, of course they were, all of our agencies, all 17, of them have said they did and we need to really be on our toes about what will happen in the upcoming election"

Durham, a prosecutor respected by both Republicans and Democrats alike, is not looking into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election, just about everybody accepts that they did. What Durham is looking into is whether the investigation  into an opposition campaign, that eventually led to a special counsel, was justified. Considering that despite years of work, the only indictments that came out of the Mueller probe were either procedural crimes or pre-dated the campaign and that the country was forced to spend two years talking about such salacious and discredited things as "pee tapes," wanting to know if any corners were cut by anti-Trump partisans such as John Brennan and Jim Clapper is perfectly reasonable. 

Tossing the conversation to Price, Mitchell posited, "A lot of other CIA officials are already lawyering up, this is getting out of bounds, is it not?' 

Price argued that this is not about investigating wrong doing, but Trump's own political goals, "Look, I think it is fair to say we have every reason to believe this inquiry is not about the past, this is not about what happened in 2016. I fear on the other hand, this is about the future. This is about the Trump Administration once again trying to do Trump's political bidding." He also chose to say this is really about people trying to descredit the idea that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, which it is not. He ended by taking a shot at Barr:

So, it’s not about the past, I think we have to assume really, that this is once again is Bill Barr trying to create, out of whole cloth, a talking point for President Trump, for President Trump to say he was treated unfairly, he was mistreated by the intelligence community and even more concerning, I think Andrea, this will send a signal to intelligence analysts that you should follow the truth as long as the truth does not lead you close to President Trump

According to the media, Bill Bar is turning the DOJ into Trump's own legal team, but also the DOJ is showing how corrupt Trump and his friends are by prosecuting two of Rudy Giuliani's associates. if none of that makes sense, it is because rules don't apply to Democrats.

Here is a transcript of the October 21 show:

MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports
10/21/19
12:49 PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: Attorney General William Barr's investigation into the origins of the Mueller probe has apparently gone a lot further than previously known, digging into CIA and FBI and decision making by President Obama with lead prosecutor John Durham taking on more staff in a push to speak to current and former intelligence officials in the U.S. and overseas. Among the concerns, a Western intelligence official familiar with what Durham has been asking of foreign officials says his inquiries track closely with the questions raised about the Russia investigation in right-wing media. Joining me now, MSNBC global affairs contributor Ambassador Wendy Sherman, a former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and MSNBC national security analyst Ned Price, a former senior director in President Obama's National Security Council. Welcome both. Wendy Sherman, this investigation seems to be looking into whether Ukraine and others started the Mueller investigation, whether the FBI and the CIA were wrong to have a counterintelligence investigation and wanting to look into looking into the background of John Brennan and DNI Clapper, former DNI Clapper who had a 50 plus career in the military. 

WENDY SHERMAN: Yes Andrea, from the outside, this looks like a continuation of undermining the institutions of the United States government. The theory it appears that Attorney General Barr is operating under the debunked conspiracy theory that I think Ned can elaborate more than I can. It is really crazy to be perfectly frank. Durham is a professional, but none the less it is quite concerning about what they’re doing and indeed, I think it is raising questions among diplomats around the world who are being questioned about whether in fact Russia was responsible for interfering in our elections, of course they were, all of our agencies, all 17, of them have said they did and we need to really be on our toes about what will happen in the upcoming election. 

MITCHELL: In fact, the previous DNI Dan Coats said the same thing. Ned Price, you were with the intelligence team as well. You were CIA, James Clapper and John Brennan would have to lawyer up. A lot of other CIA officials are already lawyering up, this is getting out of bounds, is it not? 

NED PRICE: To be totally frank, I am less concerned about John Brennan and Jim Clapper, both of whom I admire and respect greatly and much more concerned about the rank and file CIA analysts who apparently have had to lawyer up, because of this. Look, I think it is fair to say we have every reason to believe this inquiry is not about the past, this is not about what happened in 2016. I fear on the other hand, this is about the future. This is about the Trump Administration once again trying to do Trump's political bidding. I say something about the past because there have been any number looking back of 2016. Wendy refer to the high confidence and intelligence assessment released in January 2017 that relay this unanimous finding. The Senate, Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee, echoed that finding in its bipartisan report and most importantly the DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz has under taken a comprehensive review of FBI and DOJ action in 2016, precisely what John Durham is supposed to be doing in this review. So, it’s not about the past, I think we have to assume really, that this is once again is Bill Barr trying to create, out of whole cloth, a talking point for President Trump, for President Trump to say he was treated unfairly, he was mistreated by the intelligence community and even more concerning, I think Andrea, this will send a signal to intelligence analysts that you should follow the truth as long as the truth does not lead you close to President Trump. 

NB Daily Political Scandals Trump-Russia probe MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports Video James Clapper Andrea Mitchell Wendy Sherman Donald Trump Bill Barr John Brennan
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