As my colleague Nick Arama shared earlier today, John Brennan is set to sit down with John Durham as part of his investigation into the corruption surrounding the Trump-Russia investigation. But if a new report from NPR is true, it may not be worth getting your hopes up over. According to their source, Brennan is not a target of prosecutors over his actions during the ordeal and will instead just be asked to answer “technical” questions.
BREAKING NEWS this evening (nearly slipped under the radar on a Friday evening): NPR source says former CIA Director John Brennan has been told he is not a target of prosecutors as he prepares for an interview with John Durham's team — https://t.co/bVJ8Lu18Sm — @dcexaminer
— Daniel Chaitin (@danielchaitin7) August 8, 2020
Former CIA Director John Brennan appears to have avoided prosecution in U.S. Attorney John Durham’s criminal inquiry into the Russia investigation.
After NBC News reported Thursday that Brennan agreed to do an interview with Durham, signaling that his investigation is nearing its end, a lawyer familiar with the situation told NPR that the Obama-era CIA director has been told he is not a target of prosecutors. Instead, this source said, the interview will mainly consist of technical questions.
There are two ways to look at this. Obviously, it’s possible this report is false or misleading. Who would have the most incentive to leak such a claim? The obvious answer is John Brennan and his allies still within the DOJ. There would be no reason for anyone actually on Durham’s team to run to the press with this, as leaks have been almost non-existent to this point. Perhaps this is a defensive move before going into interview, hoping to box Durham in somewhat? If so, it likely wouldn’t be effective.
Yet, there’s probably more reason to think this is true. For one, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard this. When rumors of James Comey not being prosecuted emerged after his criminal referral was released, those turned out to be true. We’ve also seen similar things happen with Andrew McCabe, who was rumored to not be a target of prosecutors before it turned out that he indeed wasn’t. If you are more prone to cynicism, there’s probably enough here to jade you further on the Durham investigation. It’s also worth noting that Brennan’s agreement to be interviewed at all without a subpoena may have been preconditioned on an acknowledgement to his lawyers that he’s not a target.
If this report is true, it would essentially be the final nail in the coffin for the Durham investigation. It’s fairly obvious they aren’t going to prosecute James Comey or Andrew McCabe, especially after failing to prosecute them for crimes they previously admitted to committing. If Brennan is not a target either, then you can be assured that no one who was higher up in the Obama administration is. That leaves what many have feared, i.e. that Durham will either prosecute no one, or will target lower level figures while the ring leaders get away untouched.
Brennan has often been described as the official most directly responsible for putting the Trump-Russia travesty into motion. He started the investigation as CIA director. He trafficked in garbage like the Steele Dossier and heavily influenced the intel report which made a number of unsubstantiated claims about the current President. Of course, past that, he was almost certainly responsible for many of the damaging and often misleading leaks surrounding the investigation. In fact, we know for sure he leaked classified information to Harry Reid, with Reid confirming this later and saying that Brennan felt the “public needed to know” about Trump and Russia. If that wasn’t enough though, Brennan also lied to Congress under oath about the Steele Dossier’s origins.
In short, if they are unwilling to prosecute Brennan, then Durham’s investigation is just theater. I’m sure it’ll provide a scathing report, but like the IG report, it is meaningless without the enforcement of the law behind it. I hope NPR is wrong here, for everyone’s sake.
(Thanks for reading! Please follow me on Twitter: @bonchieredstate.)