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Who Will Prosecute the Prosecutors?

Debra Saunders on

Fun fact: It took special counsel Robert Mueller less than two years to release his report into Russian interference in the 2016 election, dubbed Crossfire Hurricane. It's been more than two years since then Attorney General William Barr named John Durham to head a probe into the origins of the Russian investigation.

One investigation resulted in a raft of indictments and convictions. The other, not so much, probably because Durham is more scrupulous than the Mueller team.

"We're still interested in the results of John Durham's investigation," Steve Groves, a former aide to President Donald Trump now with the Heritage Foundation, told me. "And now that his investigation has lasted longer than the Mueller investigation, hopefully we'll learn about his findings soon."

For his troubles, Mueller can boast a long list of scalps. That might lead the public to believe his team uncovered massive wrongdoing in the Trump campaign. That's not the case.

The March 2019 Mueller report found that Russia did try to tilt the presidential race in Trump's favor, but the probe "did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities." That's right: no collusion.

Mueller's biggest fish, Trump's 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort, was convicted for bank and tax fraud that predated the campaign. His sentence: 7 1/2 years.

 

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI about a post-election conversation with Russian diplomat Sergey Lavrov.

A jury found Trump whisperer Roger Stone guilty of seven felonies, including lying to Congress and obstructing Mueller's probe. His sentence: 40 months. Trump pardoned Stone and Flynn before they were incarcerated.

After cutting plea deals, George Papadopoulos, a one-time foreign policy adviser to the campaign, served 12 days in federal prison, and Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan served 30 days in jail -- both for lying to the FBI during the investigation. Such convictions often are referred to as "process crimes" because they involve not original offenses but interactions with the criminal justice system itself.

In contrast, there has been one conviction stemming from the Durham probe for a false statement, and the offender, an FBI lawyer, will not go to jail.

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