Recent revelations in special counsel John Durham’s report unveil an interesting narrative involving Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and his aggressive pursuit of alleged links between former President Donald Trump and Russia. The findings suggest an atmosphere of coercion and intimidation was at play.
Durham’s report, released earlier this week by the Justice Department, provides some eyebrow-raising insights. In the thick of it all, a university researcher described feeling threatened during an encounter with a staff member connected to Schiff and a Democratic senator in November 2018.
The researcher had initially visited Capitol Hill to discuss a cybersecurity program under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) with Senate Armed Services Committee staffers. The discussion then extended to the House Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence (HPSCI) staff at the suggestion of a staffer for Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI).
The narrative takes an intriguing turn when in a secure room, an HPSCI staff member shared a news article revolving around the much-debated topic of Trump, Russia, and the Alfa Bank. The article was rooted in internet data that was used by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign to stoke speculation about an alleged secret liaison between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank.
The HPSCI staffers expressed their interest in involving the university in investigating these allegations. The researcher, standing on professional integrity, responded that it was inappropriate for a public university to be pulled into such a partisan affair and suggested they contact DARPA directly. This response was met with a somewhat ominous declaration from the Reed staffer, “We are now in charge,” followed by an HPSCI staffer insinuating that their boss, Adam Schiff, would soon take control of HPSCI leadership. The researcher interpreted this comment as a veiled threat, according to Durham’s report.
Durham’s team weighed the relevance of these encounters in relation to potential prosecution for contract fraud or abuse of government resources.
After the meeting, the researcher warned his colleague to keep their distance from the issue. Unbeknownst to him, the second researcher had already been involved in an effort to mine internet data in an attempt to link Trump to Russia, as mentioned in Durham’s report.
The researcher also reported to a DARPA program manager about the request from the HPSCI staffers, explicitly voicing his objections to it. Despite this, the DARPA manager claimed to Durham’s team that he was unaware of any role that university personnel played in the Alfa Bank allegations.
Durham’s report has led to several referrals, including one to the Defense Department’s inspector general, which is related to a contract between DARPA and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
At the time of this controversial meeting, Schiff was the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He later assumed the position of chairman, frequently asserting the presence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Post the 2022 House election, where Republicans emerged victorious, Schiff was removed from the panel by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) over accusations of lying about investigations tied to Trump. Currently, Schiff is pursuing a Senate seat.
Responding to Durham’s report, Schiff defended the FBI’s work on the Trump-Russia probe and criticized the special counsel’s inquiry as fundamentally “flawed.”
As this report continues to unfold, it’s important to remain focused on the principles of integrity, objectivity, and accountability. Regardless of political affiliations, the truth must always take precedence over partisan agendas.