Claytoonz: Bull Durham
Right-wing media is excited that the Durham investigation has finally issued a report for them to be excited about. And just like with Hunter Biden’s laptop and crime in the Biden family, the headline is more exciting than the actual details.
And as usual, the goon cartoonists are all tingly inside about it while not doing a good job of understanding it. For example, Henry Payne and Lisa Benson both use Trump’s empty talking points which I suppose is easier than thinking for yourself. Chip Bok is perfectly fine without seeing any proof and with just taking Durham’s word for it, as are Scott Stantis, Dana Summers, and Gary Varvel. As sexist Steve Kelley usually does, he lied about it. Bob Gorrell calls the Durham report “explosive” while not telling us what’s so explosive about it. I got your explosive right here, Bob.
John Durham has issued a 306-page report that says the Russia investigation, known as “Crossfire Hurricane,” never should have happened in the first place. Seriously? This is more like a Fox News segment than a Special Counsel report. If anything, the John Durham investigation never should have happened.
The Durham investigation was created by pressure from Donald Trump when he was president. Trump tweeted there needed to be an investigation into the Russia investigation. The idea was to prove that Crossfire Hurricane — which was NOT an investigation into Trump but into his campaign staffers’ links with Russian officials and spies that began during the 2016 presidential campaign — and the Mueller investigation were deep-state conspiratorial plots against Donald Trump. Facing pressure from Trump, Attorney General William Barr created an investigation in April 2019, into the “witch hunt” and “Russia hoax” and selected U.S. Attorney John Durham to lead it. The goal, Barr claimed, was to determine if intelligence collection involving the Trump campaign was “lawful and appropriate.”
In an interview with Fox News in April 2020, Barr said of the Russia investigation, “The evidence shows that we are not dealing with just mistakes or sloppiness. There is something far more troubling here.” Trump and his supporters believed the Durham investigation would lead to prison sentences for the former directors of the FBI and CIA, James Comey and John Brennan, and Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, President Biden, and maybe also Robert Mueller, Sean Penn, Robert DeNiro, Kathy Griffin, and Randy Rainbow.
This investigation was a sham from its inception. It was only created to discredit the investigations and facts about Trump’s links to Russia. Durham was compromised from the start since he was a United States Attorney appointed by Donald Trump who was selected for this investigation by an Attorney General appointed by Donald Trump after he promised on Fox News that he’d use the AG job to protect Trump if he ever got it (he did). If there was an investigation of this investigation of an investigation, it would determine this investigation never should have happened. It was a waste of time and money.
Knowing he was running out of time, William Barr secretly appointed John Durham as a special counsel after the investigation had failed to find any real dirt or deep state plot. That way, the investigation could carry on after the Trump administration was over and he could be a pesty buzzing fly around the Biden administration.This is actual weaponization of the Justice Department.
Durham’s report finds “confirmation bias” because a “lack of analytical rigor” was used in creating the investigation into Trump and Russia. It didn’t find any “political bias.” He reported that the investigation into Trump and Russia never should have happened. I call bullshit.
There had to be an investigation into Trump and Russia. Donald Trump was supported by Russia in the 2016 presidential campaign. Russia operated an election interference campaign on social media to help elect Trump. Trump hired staffers with deep connections to Russia, not just the coffee boy but his campaign manager (who he later pardoned after he was indicted). He repeated Russian talking points at rallies. He defended Vladimir Putin’s murdering of journalists on the same day he publicly said, “Russia, if you’re listening,” asking them to hack into the Democratic Party’s presidential campaign. Russia started doing as he asked. Next, he started reading the hacking results at campaign rallies. He hosted Russians in Trump Tower, his campaign headquarters, for the purpose of collecting dirt on his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
After the election, Jared Kushner attempted to create a back channel in order to communicate with Russia without the CIA’s knowledge. Trump hired General Michael Flynn as his National Security Adviser. Flynn only lasted about three weeks because he lied about his connections to Russia. Trump asked James Comey, the director of the FBI to kill an investigation into Flynn and his connections to Russia. When Comey declined, Trump fired him. Then, Trump invited Russian government officials into the Oval Office, handed them classified information, and bragged that he killed the Russia investigation by firing Comey. Because of that, his Attorney General at that time, Jeff Sessions, appointed Robert Mueller to investigate Trump and his connections to Russia. Then, Trump fired Jeff Sessions. Later at a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump took the Russian president’s side over that of U.S. intelligence regarding Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Trump destroyed the translator’s notes from his private meeting with Putin. At another summit, he had an unplanned meeting with Putin without any other American present.
So, how the fuck do you not investigate that?
The Mueller investigation produced 37 indictments. The Durham investigation only produced one guilty plea by an FBI lawyer who had doctored an email requesting a wiretap renewal. That guilty plea resulted in probation, not prison time.
Donald Trump “truthed", "WOW!" After extensive research, Special Counsel John Durham concludes the FBI never should have launched the Trump-Russia Probe! In other words, the American Public was scammed, just as it is being scammed right now by those who don’t want to see GREATNESS for AMERICA!”
No, a scam is when you charge taxpayers nearly $7 million on a bullshit investigation that only produces one probation and zero changes within the FBI or Justice Department.
Tom Fitton — a Trump ally, the leader of the conservative group Judicial Watch, and a believer that the Russia investigation was a deep state plot by Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other Democrats — was disappointed in the Durham Report. He said, “Durham let down the American people with few and failed prosecutions. Never in American history has so much government corruption faced so little accountability.”
But Durham was set up for failure because no laws were broken and there wasn’t a “deep state conspiracy” to frame Trump. There was way less evidence to create this sham investigation than there was to create Crossfire Hurricane and the Mueller investigation.
Aitan Goelman, the lawyer for former FBI agent Peter Strzok said that while the special counsel accused the F.B.I. of “confirmation bias,” it was John Durham who spent four years trying to find support for a preformed belief about the Russia investigation.
Goelman said, “In fact, it is Mr. Durham’s investigation that was politically motivated, a direct consequence of former President Trump’s weaponization of the Department of Justice, an effort that unanimous juries in each of Mr. Durham’s trials soundly rejected.”
Durham spent close to four years and nearly $7 million looking for a witch hunt and he came up empty. The Durham investigation was just more Trump fuckery and his report proves it. The report doesn’t even point out that any laws were broken and doesn’t recommend any prosecutions.
The Durham investigation is over, but Trump fuckery will remain for decades to come.
Creative note: I got this idea last night and it seemed so obvious and simplistic that I wondered why I hadn’t already thought of it…and that made me think maybe I shouldn’t do it. I had a basic concept of another idea on the subject, but I wasn’t nailing it yet, so I kept coming back to this. I slept on it…and really slept on it because I had a dream about how to do this. And it wasn’t until right after I woke up that I realized that the bull needed Jack Durham’s head on it. That clinched it for me. Now, if someone else draws this same idea later today or tomorrow, I’m going to be upset.
Clay Jones is the 2022 recipient of the RFK Human Rights Journalism Award in Editorial Cartooning, and won a 2021 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists. He was a finalist for the Herblock Prize in 2019 and a finalist for the National Headliner Award in 2020. See more award-winning editorial cartoons from him at Claytoonz.com.