Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper appeared nervous Thursday night on CNN with Anderson Cooper after hearing the news that the Department of Justice is launching a criminal investigation into the origins of the Russia witch hunt.
U.S. Attorney John Durham's probe into the origins of the Russia investigation has become a criminal inquiry, two sources told Fox News on Thursday – and an upcoming report on alleged FBI surveillance abuses against the Trump campaign will shed light on why, one source said. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Thursday his report would be available to the public soon, with "few" redactions.
The investigation's new status means Durham can subpoena witnesses, file charges, and impanel fact-finding grand juries. Fox News reported on Tuesday that Durham's probe had expanded significantly based on new evidence uncovered during a recent trip to Rome with Attorney General William Barr.
A nervous Clapper earlier this month appeared to try and pin the blame for the whole witch hunt on Obama:
SCIUTTO: As you know, the president now has sitting members of this government. You have the attorney general traveling the world now, meeting with U.S. intelligence partners, trying to find out, in his view, whether they participated in some sort of Obama administration-led effort to undermine President Trump in the last election here. You also know that John Durham, who is a former prosecutor, senior Justice Department official, he’s pursuing his own investigation on the origins of that probe. Are you concerned that Barr’s or Durham’s investigation will find wrongdoing and seek to punish former intelligence officials?
CLAPPER: Well, I don’t know, I don’t think there was any wrongdoing. I think at the time all of us were trying to navigate a very, very difficult, politically fraught, highly-charged situation. I know for my part, my main concern was, were the Russians, and the threat posed by the Russians to our very political fabric. And the message I’m getting from all this is, apparently what we were supposed to have done was to ignore the Russian interference, ignore the Russian meddling and the threat that it poses to us, and oh by the way, blowing off what the then-commander-in-chief, President Obama, told us to do, which was to assemble all the reporting that we could, that we had available to us and put it in one report that the president could pass on to the Congress and to the next administration. And, while we’re at it, declassify as much as we possibly could to make it public. And that’s what we did. And it’s kind of disconcerting now to be investigated for having done our duty and done what we were told to do by the president.
It's looking like there's a chance Barr might actually deliver.
A court filing from Michael Flynn's lawyer Sidney Powell released Thursday accused the FBI and James Clapper of serious wrongdoing.
An explosive new court filing from Michael Flynn’s legal team alleges that FBI agents manipulated official records of the former national security adviser’s 2017 interview that led to him being charged with lying to investigators. It's Flynn's lawyers latest attempt to get the case thrown out.
Sidney Powell, Flynn’s attorney, filed a 37-page motion on Thursday, outlining several big allegations, once again requesting the government produce all evidence as it relates to Flynn — urging the court to “dismiss the entire prosecution for outrageous government misconduct” and hold the prosecutors in contempt.
The entire case stemmed from that FBI interview where Flynn was asked about his conversations with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn ultimately pleaded guilty to making false statements regarding those conversations during his interview, as part of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
But as his legal team goes on offense in the long-running and still unresolved court proceedings, Powell alleged that FBI officials manipulated Flynn’s FBI 302 — a form used by agents to report or summarize interviews. It's not clear who may have done the alleged editing, though ex-FBI agent Peter Strzok was involved in the original interview.
“Those changes added an unequivocal statement that ‘Flynn stated he did not’ — in response to whether Mr. Flynn had asked Kislyak to vote in a certain manner or slow down the UN vote [on sanctions],” Powell wrote. “This is a deceptive manipulation because, as the notes of the agents show, Mr. Flynn was not even sure he had spoken to Russia/Kislyak on the issue. He had talked to dozens of countries.”
Powell also alleged that agents added: “or if Kislyak described any Russian response to a request by Flynn.”
“That question and answer does not appear in the notes, yet it was made into a criminal offense,” Powell wrote. “The draft also shows that the agents moved a sentence to make it seem to be an answer to a question it was not.”
[...] But Powell is also hammering the FBI and DOJ over media leaks, citing a text message from Strzok to Page in April 2017: “I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go.”
Powell also referenced a purported conversation between former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Washington Post reporter David Ignatius, claiming Clapper told the reporter “words to the effect of 'take the kill shot on Flynn,'” after he reportedly obtained the transcript of Flynn’s phone calls.
A spokesman for Clapper, though, told Fox News that he "absolutely did not say those words to David Ignatius."
"It's absolutely false," the spokesman said. "It's absurd."
Ignatius did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.