The preposterous notion that the Durham Report has somehow vindicated Donald Trump is the latest bit of propaganda being spread by Republicans. It’s making the rounds of rightwing media and the internet.
The Durham Report is in fact a failed, dysfunctional investigation that should have never been launched. It took four or five long years to complete, costing the American taxpayers a whopping $6 million. It was launched in order to create in the minds of the American people the illusion that Republicans were going to “get the goods” on Democrats who claimed that Donald Trump was helped by the Russians to win the 2016 election. It did no such thing.
But it’s worth noting two things about such efforts. The first is that investigations launched as political stunts are routinely done by Republicans without any real hope that something will be found, but merely for the propaganda cachet. If you doubt this, recall that when Donald Trump blackmailed Volodymyr Zelenskyy, he very specifically asked the Ukrainian president to *announce* an investigation into Joe Biden. Not start an actual investigation, just announce one.
Trump didn’t really expect Zelenskyy to find something, but he knew that a mere announcement of such a thing is what would do actual political harm to his arch political rival. Had such an investigation actually found something, well, that would have been a wholly unexpected bonus.
The second thing to note about such investigations is if, by some miracle, Republicans actually found something substantive, they would crow about it to the world and parade the specifics of their findings endlessly in a perpetual cycle of announcements, press releases and mentions every single time one of them is interviewed. Think “Hunter Biden’s laptop.” Notice that those words are ceaselessly recycled together with vague hints that Joe Biden is mentioned “in code,” but no substantive evidence is ever offered.
Notice also that Republicans never find anything substantive because no such thing exists. It’s not because Democrats are perfect, it’s because they’re not, on balance, criminals. Many Republicans, on the other hand, are criminals, that’s why we have so many criminal things against them, and that’s why we can point to so much real and inculpatory evidence.
Permit me to illustrate. The Durham report resulted in two indictments of minor officials for dubious offences ending in two acquittals. A third person pleaded guilty to altering an email and was given probation. That’s it. That’s the whole Durham Report story.
The Muller Report, by contrast, resulted in 37 indictments, 7 guilty pleas or convictions and compelling evidence that Donald Trump obstructed justice on at least ten occasions. Mueller also uncovered and referred 14 criminal matters to other components of the Department of Justice.
What’s more, the Muller Report was not allowed to finish. It was only just getting started. After only two years Bill Barr, fearing what the report was unveiling, cut it short.
The Durham Report, by contrast, was allowed to continue for two whole additional years after Joe Biden took office until it finally ended on its own. It was allowed to finish because Biden and company are and remain honest people who were willing to let the chips fall where they may. They weren’t worried about what the Durham report would turn up because they are decent people who also want to see justice done. People who are on the side of justice have nothing to fear from it.
Most Americans haven’t read either the Durham Report or the Mueller Report. Republicans hope they never do. Democrats, on the other hand, want the truth about both reports to be known. The preposterous notion that “both sides” have their legitimate points of view is nonsense. We’re not talking about differing points of view, we’re talking about the difference between good and evil. And evil alway fears the sunny light of day. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.