'Big fat nothing': Mueller prosecutor walks through a fact-check of John Durham's report
Donald Trump, Bill Barr in in Washington, DC on May 22, 2019 (Photo by Jim Watson for AFP)

Former prosecutor for special counsel Robert Mueller, Andrew Weissmann, responded to the recently released report from former special counsel John Durham during a conversation with MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace Monday.

The host began naming off all of the guilty convictions that Mueller got during his probe.

"Durham's whole thing is predicated on — it's like a rabbit hole conspiracy that suggests that the Trump-Bill Barr paranoia infected his ability to stand back and evaluate whether the probe yielded guilty convictions of people who would have had nothing to do with any of these questions he looked at," said Wallace. "It is a view from so far down the rabbit hole that what needs a scrub, what needs oversight is what Mr. Durham did that repelled his long-time prosecutorial partner, Nora Dannehy and other prosecutors."

Nora Dannehy was a key partner of Durham's who resigned, complaining that the work Durham was doing was all about giving Trump information for political purposes. It all came to a head in what was reported as an "explosive" meeting. She quit shortly after.

Comparing the Durham probe to the Justice Department's 2019 Inspector General report, Weissmann explained that the IG's report was "properly predicated" that there was "no bias." What was at issue was a list of internal FBI rules and policies on investigations, none of which are laws that FBI agents or officers broke.

He also recalled IG Michael Horowitz testifying under oath, and that he was asked about Durham's claims they didn't have enough evidence for an investigation into Trump. Horowitz told Congress that he was shocked by the conclusion "because I spoke to John and his concern was not with respect to opening, it's that he thought it should only be opened as the preliminary" investigation, Weissmann characterized.

"In other words, he agrees that there are enough facts for the FBI to open — but a sort of smaller investigation," said Weissmann. "And this is what the IG said: 'Who cares what they did pursuant to the Mueller investigation what could have been done as part of the smaller investigation?'"

There were no rules broken, even under Durham's standards.

What also surfaced in the Durham probe is Barr's belief that any case could be brought regardless of whether the facts substantiated it. All that mattered was the "story," to Barr. "Oh, that's fine, because he was telling a more important story," he characterized Barr's decision. The problem is that it isn't how the law works, and it's the reason that Durham failed in the end.

He called the Durham probe "lacking substance," while at the same time, the inspector general was doing essentially the same investigation, "you want to talk about a witch hunt or a real waste of resources."

He concluded by saying that if Durham were all about trying to get better policies for the FBI to operate under, it would be one thing. "But this was trying to say there's a big 'there' there when there's no 'there' there. So, the big picture, if you step back, is those people who think, 'Oh, everybody does it. The Democrats do it. The Republicans do it. Everyone is up to no good and shenanigans.' That's just not true. There is a false equivalency because you have an enormous amount of cases that are proved with convictions, where there's a 'there' there. Russia interfered in the 2016 election. They're continuing to interfere. There are people who have gone to jail who were rightfully found guilty. John Durham is a big, fat, nothing."

He noted that it's a lot like the weaponization hearings going on under the GOP's leadership in the House that have also been unable to find anything under President Joe Biden's administration. "They're just falling flat on their face because there is no 'there' there."

Weissmann explained the only questions he has left unanswered are about what Italy told Durham and why they handed him the information and not someone else.

See the full conversation below or at the link here.

Mueller prosecutor walks through a fact-check of John Durham's report and the DOJ report www.youtube.com