Since Donald Trump became a legitimate presidential candidate, the mainstream media has reserved a special kind of hate for him. They have portrayed him as nothing short of the Antichrist.

Their narrative has been that Trump will destroy democracy. He is a fascist and a dictator. Trump didn’t help himself in the aftermath of the 2020 election, but his four years in office demonstrated that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean somebody isn’t out to get you.

For Trump, it wasn’t just the media burying a Republican. The “Deep State” aided the press. The FBI, DOJ, and State Department bureaucrats who survive from one administration to the next understood that when Trump talked about “draining the swamp,” he was talking about them. They fought back.

The release of John Durham’s “Report on Matters Related to Intelligence Activities and Investigations Arising Out of the 2016 Presidential Campaigns” details how an “invisible government” within the FBI and DOJ fought to stop Trump. When it didn’t prevent him from winning the election, they metaphorically annihilated the Trump presidency before he was sworn in, according to the Durham Report.

READ MORE — Andy Bloom: Don’t let Pennsylvania replicate the Minnesota Mess

Reading the Durham Report reminded me of Mr. X, Donald Sutherland’s shadowy character in Oliver Stone’s “JFK,” emerging to tell Jim Garrison (played by Kevin Costner) the plot’s conception:

“Like Caesar, he’s surrounded by enemies, and something is underway. But it has no face. Yet, everybody in the loop knows. The people in the loop, they fight back their way. It started in the wind. It was just conversations, nothing more. 

“There’s been no vote. Nothing’s on paper. There’s no one to blame. No one’s guilty because anyone in the power structure has plausible deniability. What’s paramount is that it must succeed no matter what. No matter how much it costs. The perpetrators must be on the winning side and never subject to prosecution for anything by anyone. That is a coup d’état.” (edited)

And that is how democracy dies.

The Durham Report tells the true story of what the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) did behind the scenes during the 2016 presidential election. It provides the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, which looked into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and other activities that impacted the 2016 election and Trump’s presidency.

The report also disabuses anyone still clinging to the notion of Trump-Russian collusion. The report shows how the FBI manufactured the hoax.

The FBI attempted to influence the election at its highest levels and held two different standards of justice for the campaigns.

Former FBI Deputy Director and other conspirators are already calling the report a “nothing-burger.” Addressing those who choose to believe them, I challenge:

  • President Biden to declassify the redacted portions of Former CIA Director John Brennen’s handwritten notes from the Aug. 3, 2016, White House briefing that included President Obama, then: VP Biden, FBI Director James Comey, AG Loretta Lynch, and others about the “Clinton Plan,” on “July 26, a proposal from one of her campaign advisors to vilify Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming inferences by Russian security services.” 
  • All parties involved who did not testify for Durham’s office should testify, with the scope limited to “The Clinton Plan,” before a Congressional Committee.

Andrew McCabe, the Deputy Director of the FBI, may be the worst of the conspirators. He ordered Crossfire Hurricane. McCabe had many opportunities to provide “defensive briefings” to the Trump campaign. A defensive briefing is when the FBI reports a potential issue to a campaign, such as a team member possibly having improper contact with foreign agents. 

McCabe declined to give defensive briefings to the Trump campaign. However, he permitted them for the Clinton campaign when the FBI had considerably more damning information.

The report states: “Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were directly involved in matters relating to the opening of Crossfire Hurricane.” Strzok was the Section Chief and later the Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. Lisa Page was an FBI attorney detailed as a Special Assistant to Deputy Director Peter McCabe. They also had an affair.

Strzok and Page texted one another about their mutual distaste for Trump. A series of their text messages are public and, in the report, famously including one from Aug. 8, 2016, where Page texts: “[Trump’s] not going to become president, right? Right?” To which Strzok responds: “No. No, he’s not. We’ll stop it.”

The scandal’s genesis came after George Papadopoulos, named a foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign in March 2016, met twice in May in London with two Australian diplomats, Jack Crown and Australian High Commissioner Alexander Downer, over drinks. 

In late July, Australia provided the U.S. with a summary of their meeting. The key was what became known as “Paragraph Five.” In essence, it described Papadopoulos’ suggestion that Russia could assist with releasing damaging information about the Clintons. It wasn’t clear how the Russians obtained the material or if Trump’s team accepted the offer.

Paragraph Five is unspecific; it doesn’t mention Clinton’s emails or the DNC hack. According to the Durham Report, Downer’s recollection “simply stated, ‘the Russians have information,’ and that was all.” 

The two men had vastly different impressions of Papadopoulos. He either “had an inflated sense of self worth” or was “insecure and was trying to impress.” It appears the only reason they felt it was worth reporting Papadopoulos’ comments was because of the DNC email dump by Wikileaks on July 22.

The Durham Report concedes, “As an initial matter, there is no question that the FBI had an affirmative obligation to examine the Paragraph Five information closely.” 

If the FBI isn’t splintered into a thousand pieces and scattered to the winds, can democracy survive?

Three days after receiving Paragraph Five, the FBI determined, without further analysis, additional corroboration, other intelligence from Australian or other friendly governments, or even other U.S. intelligence agencies, that the information alone was adequate for opening a full investigation into whether individuals associated with an ongoing presidential campaign were coordinating activities with the Russian government.

The FBI acted prematurely and did not follow proper policy and procedures. Although it may not be provable by law, texts, other documents, and the comparative handling of the Clinton campaign make it self-evident that personal agendas drove decisions.

Like the pundits at the time, they assumed Mrs. Clinton would win; therefore, they didn’t need to go public. But as Strzok texted Lisa Page, they had their “insurance policy,” just in case anything went wrong — the invisible government was maneuvering in the shadows, orchestrating a malevolent symphony that would haunt Trump throughout his presidency.

In addition to Paragraph Five, Crossfire Hurricane was predicated on the infamous Steele Dossier. Christopher Steele described himself as a former intelligence official for the British government. He was also a confidential human source for the FBI.

Steele was eventually closed as an FBI source in November 2016 for disclosing his status while providing information to the media regarding his work with Fusion GPS for the Clinton campaign and the DNC against Trump.

The famous phrase from Watergate is “Follow the money.” The money trail for the Steele Dossier flowed from Perkins Coie, a U.S.-based international law firm representing the Clinton campaign. It hired Fusion GPS, an American investigative firm, to conduct opposition research on Donald Trump and his associates. It, in turn, hired Steele. The information Steele received came from Igor Danchenko.

Danchenko was a paid FBI confidential human source. Steele was also paying him for information that would eventually become the Dossier. Steele didn’t know that while Danchenko was supposedly living in Russia gathering intel on Trump, he was living in Washington, D.C. None of the information he gave the FBI corroborated Steele’s report.

The FBI knew that the Clinton campaign paid for the Steele Dossier, at least in part because Steele and Danchenko were FBI human confidential sources. At the highest levels, the FBI knew the Steele Dossier was a fictional work made up by Igor Danchenko and people who worked for him.

The FBI used the information in the Steele Dossier to obtain FISA warrants on Papadopoulos and Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. These warrants were illegal. For those who choose not to believe the Durham Report, in 2020, a federal judge declared the warrants invalid because they “lacked legal basis.” 

Contrasted with the FBI’s rapid opening of Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI appears to have made no effort to investigate the possible illegal campaign contribution (which allegedly was a precursor to a more significant sum of money) on behalf of a foreign government or the Clinton campaign’s purported acceptance of a campaign contribution made by an FBI’s confidential human source on behalf of a foreign government.

As mentioned, as early as late July, the FBI was aware of the Clinton campaign’s idea of creating a scandal vilifying Trump for working with the Russians. It was known as “The Clinton Plan,” and the FBI and CIA believed Hillary Clinton approved it herself.

The FBI did not act on this information. It did not investigate, nor did it slow down, Crossfire Hurricane. It accepted it as “one data point,” yet it accepted the Steele Dossier as truth.

The report leaves no doubt that the FBI quickly jumped into an investigation of Trump-Russian collusion on flimsy uncorroborated evidence driven by personal agendas. There is a stark contrast in how the FBI treated the Trump and Clinton campaigns.

The Durham Report shows how democracy dies.

In 1966, a New York Times article reported “one of the highest-ranking officials of his administration,” saying that JFK wanted to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.”

After reading the Durham Report, I wonder, if the FBI isn’t splintered into a thousand pieces and scattered to the winds, can democracy survive?

Andy Bloom is president of Andy Bloom Communications. He specializes in media training and political communications. He has programmed legendary stations including WIP, WPHT and WYSP/Philadelphia, KLSX, Los Angeles and WCCO Minneapolis. He was Vice President Programming for Emmis International, Greater Media Inc. and Coleman Research. Andy also served as communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio). He can be reached by email at or you can follow him on Twitter @AndyBloomCom.

14 thoughts on “Andy Bloom: How democracy dies”

  1. I’m sorry, but you lost me when you started rationalizing what Donald Trump meant by draining the swamp.

    Hes a con artist. He’s the man who has manipulated the system for decades to screw blue collar small business owners by lying and cheating them, protecting himself with an army of lawyers.

    Hes like one of these YouTube pranksters who goes around pouring “gasoline” on people saying hes going to burn them. When he gets shot, people will rationalize why he was really sweet and was just a kid playing a joke and he shouldn’t be held accountable.

    Stop. The FBI needs to he addressed, but find a different poster boy or leave him out of it co.pletely.

  2. Dung,
    Trump doesn’t have to be the “poster boy,” but as I wrote, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that somebody isn’t out to get to you.”

    On the other hand, is it possible that Trump might have been different if he wasn’t sabotaged by the FBI, DOJ, and I didn’t even get into the State Department before he even took office?

    Regardless, no matter what you think of Trump, What McCabe, Comey, Stzrok, and so many others did to annihilate the President of the United States, no matter who they are, is criminal (whether it’s prosecuted or not). It shows a wonton disregard for the will of the people, our system of government, and democracy. It MUST not be allowed to stand. The FBI must be taken apart and never be allowed to do this to any president – of either Party – again.

    It was nothing less than a coup d’état. Letting them get away with it because it is Donald Trump is cowardly.

  3. Is that the same James Comey that torpedoed Hillary Clinton, mere minutes before the 2016 election, allowing Donald Trump to “squeak” into the Presidency? Again, who was Comey “colluding” with?

    1. Just to be clear.
      The letter about Hillary Clinton’s emails that the F.B.I. director James Comey sent to Congress in October 2016 is one of the factors that changed history. Mrs. Clinton herself told Fareed Zakaria on CNN that she “would have won but for Jim Comey’s letter on October 28th.”
      After ascending to the Presidency, Trump’s Department of Justice concluded its report into Mr. Comey’s handling of the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email server, and said it was unclear whether this letter cost her the presidency.
      Mr. Comey’s letter came about one week after the third presidential debate and less than two weeks before Election Day. At that time, most polling averages showed Mrs. Clinton ahead by around six percentage points in national polls. A week later, her lead had declined to three points.
      The three-point shift against her can easily be attributed to Mr. Comey’s letter — three points being more than enough to cover Donald J. Trump’s narrow margins in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. He won each state by less than 0.8 percentage points.

      1. Just to be clearer, if you don’t put classified documents on home servers (and thus break the law), you won’t have to worry about the FBI Director saying anything about your emails. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Comey was protecting Mrs. Clinton while he had a bogus investigation going on in the Trump campaign when they knew with a high degree of certainty that there was nothing there. READ THE DURHAM REPORT. And if you think that Durham is lying – then demand Biden declassify ALL of Brennen’s handwritten notes and that McCabe and everybody with knowledge of the so-called Clinton Plan testify under oath about it before Congress.

        The Durham Report finally, in detail, provides a step by step account of how the Trump Russia hoax was created.

      2. James Comey’s statement on the Clinton emails actually came out on July 5, 2016 There remained July (26 days), all of August (31 days), all of September (30 days), all of October (31 days), and the seven days in November prior to election day. Mrs. Clinton’s campaign miscalculated. They feared Trump winning the popular vote and Mrs. Clinton winning the electoral college (the reverse of what actually occurred).As part of its defensive strategy, the decision was made to concentrate substantial effort in California and run up the popular vote. That part worked, but at the cost of neglecting several swing states, like Pennsylvania. If you look at the official popular vote in 2016 you find that Mr. Trump received 62,980,160 and Mrs. Clinton received 65,845,083. She had the majority of the popular vote. If however you take the vote count from California out for both candidates the result is Mr. Trump with 58,496,350 votes and Mrs. Clinton with 57,094,495. So, this would have Mr. Trump out polling Mrs. Clinton in the remaining 49 states and the District of Columbia by just over 1.4 million votes. Had Mrs. Clinton spent less time in safe California and more time in the swing states like Pennsylvania she would have won in 2016.

        1. Please google “Jim Comey’s letter on October 28th.”
          That the one that cost Hillary Clinton the scat thousands of votes the swung the Electoral College.
          Comey knew what he was doing. And it worked.

          1. James Comey and the FBI were working for the Clinton campaign. Read the 306 page Durham Report that fills in blanks that the Mueller Report never considers. They knew lots of bad behavior that the Clinton campaign was engaged in. Comey had to go back against his earlier declaration of Mrs. Clinton’s innocence because she wasn’t, and when Mr. Trump lost (a foregone conclusion at the FBI), the pressure on him to explain why he had let her get away with the server was going to be intense.

            Lee, you’ve taken up the Clinton cause in blaming everybody except for Mrs. Clinton. She committed an act that almost anybody else would have gone to jail for – mishandling classified material. Had she simply followed the rules, Comey wouldn’t have made any statements about her server. But he would have allowed Crossfire Hurricane, which, based on proper FBI procedures, should have ended after a preliminary investigation and certainly shouldn’t have obtained illegal FISA warrants.

  4. Thank you Andy Bloom. Even more frightening is that moderate Democrats, for fear of retribution are afraid to speak up about this terrifying issue.

  5. If the Durham Report included in its Analysis, the Millions that was laundered in Trump Casinos and Real Estate Ventures for decades with the funds of Criminals well before He was a Candidate, the Conclusion would be as conclusive as the Evidence produced of the Biden History of Criminal Misconduct which is a View to the Corruption of Government and All Transactions that move with or without Government Oversight.

    The Durham Report and the Mueller Report are smokescreens that obscure the REEL FACTS.

    Just as We are fed the HBO Fictionalized Story of the Plumbers, led by His Own People, that was a plot by the Government to take down Nixon.

    “… I am not a Crook,” famous words of a Career Criminal, who was like all who came before Him, and followed.

  6. I voted for Hillary Clinton. Four yrs. later I voted for Trump because while my children were locked out of public school in PA, the private schools stayed open. While the local hardware stores and churches were shut down, Home Depot and Walmart and other big box stores stayed open. While the rioters danced and destroyed maskless, obedient people were told to wear a mask but they could magically take it off if they sat down to eat. My eyes were opened to the woke-power grabbing clowns. Now, everyone agrees 51 high-level intelligence officials meddled and lied about Biden’s laptop. You realize those are literally the same liars feed us the narrative about the Ukraine war machine? I love Desantis because he’s competent and not like a bumbling fool like Trump. He will tell Disney and the rest of the woke power-hungry clowns to take a hike. They’ll squirm and say: stop whining. People are tired of the elite lap-top class, the mentally ill ideology of gender fluidity, and the anarchy baloney.

  7. At this point in time, I don’t see any cogent efforts at reforming government to actually govern. Government has become a haven for the Wanna-Be rich and powerful and all the public sees from all the investigations are report authors calling a pox on democrats and republicans. More and more one sees what should be troublesome issues that need well studies actions, converted into a “yeh, well, so-and-so is a bigger crook than the crook you just named.” Round and round it goes, and democracy dies. Franklin’s question can now be answered: “no, we can’t keep it.”

  8. The country went 150 years without the FBI and it was created for organized crime and interstate car thefts. It has way exceeded its mission and seems to be a political entity. Cut its budget in half and get it back to focusing on organized crime.

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