To hear former president Donald Trump and his supporters/apologists tell it, the report from Special Counsel John Durham that was released yesterday fully “exonerates” the twice-impeached former president and proves that the FBI tried to set him up so he wouldn’t win a second term in office.
Trump has been weighing in on his failing Truth Social site, screaming in ALL CAPS outrage about the Durham report.
THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY!
CONGRESS MUST DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS. MUST NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN!
But while the disgraced ex-president and those who remain loyal to him may try to spin the Durham report in their favor, there are plenty of facts that suggest exoneration is the very last thing the special counsel did.
Ewan Palmer of Newsweek notes:
Some legal and political experts have argued that the Mueller investigation—which took over the FBI probe—did justify the agency examining alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 elections. They suggested that Trump does not stand fully exonerated.
Thomas Gift, an associate professor who heads the Center on U.S. Politics at University College London, U.K., told Newsweek: “Experts will get into the technical semantics of what the Durham report means legally, and there’s no doubt some have read between the lines (too much) in asserting that it ‘exonerates’ Trump or ‘proves’ the FBI was on a ‘witch-hunt.’ In fact, the document does neither.”
Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman was even harsher in his analysis of the Durham report, tweeting out, “There really is no precedent for the Durham report. Mueller’s long report explained precisely his reasons for his prosecutorial decisions. Durham just recycles old cavils about the launching of the Russia investigation that have zero connection to any alleged crime. It’s bogus.”
But perhaps the thing that most undercuts claims of Trump’s exoneration is that several people connected to his 2016 campaign who had contact with Russian nationals later pled guilty or were found guilty of lying to the FBI. Why lie if you did nothing wrong?
Paul Manafort was found guilty. Michael Flynn pled guilty.
Former FBI official Peter Strzok summed it up best with this tweet:
If there’s no fire, why was there so much damn smoke? Was the FBI just supposed to let people lie to them and do nothing? Again, lying suggests you have something to hide, and that’s probably why Donald Trump lies more than almost anyone currently alive.
Exoneration? Not even close. If anything, John Durham only served to reinforce what millions of us have long suspected: Trump cannot be trusted and neither can the liars he surrounds himself with. They all belong in prison, and it certainly looks like Trump is headed in that direction.