BlazeTV host Mark Levin for years has been accused of promoting conspiracy theories on his radio show after he claimed the Obama administration appeared to have spied on Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign during its investigation into alleged ties between Trump and Russia. But the latest bombshell indictment from special counsel John Durham's probe into the FBI's handling of the Russia investigation suggests that Levin may have been at least partially right.
On his March 2, 2017, radio program, Levin laid out the case that the Obama administration had used "police state tactics" against the Trump campaign. Citing articles from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other mainstream news sources, Levin asserted that the Obama administration had obtained Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) warrants to monitor communications between members of the Trump campaign. He suggested information that could have been obtained during that surveillance was being leaked to the media to undermine the 45th president and fuel a narrative that Trump colluded with Russia to beat Hillary Clinton.
"How many phone calls of Donald Trump, if any, have been intercepted by the administration and recorded by the Obama administration?" Levin asked on his radio show. "This, ladies and gentlemen, is the real scandal."
A few days later, President Donald Trump made his own claims that "Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower," which ignited a media firestorm. Multiple news reports linked what Trump had said back to Levin, calling the claims a "conspiracy theory." CNN's Brian Stelter claimed there was "no evidence" to back up claims that Trump was spied on. "Levin cherry-picked news stories that supported his thesis and omitted information that cut against it," Stelter wrote.
The Washington Post said Levin "breathed life into a conspiracy theory that Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign." The Los Angeles Times said that Levin had pushed a "phony conspiracy theory."
Levin maintained that his observations were based on news reports and defended the "logical implications based on events and experience" that he drew from those reports.
Now, a court filing from Durham's investigation into the Russia probe first reported by Fox News appears to vindicate Levin.
The indictment against Michael Sussmann, a former lawyer for the 2016 Clinton campaign, alleges that the campaign paid a technology company to "infiltrate" servers belonging to Trump Tower and the White House before the election for the purpose of fabricating a narrative that Trump was working with Russia.
Sussmann is accused of making false statements to the FBI after he claimed he was not working "for any client" when he requested a meeting to present federal law enforcement with evidence that Trump's team was communicating with the Kremlin-connected Alfa Bank. He has plead not guilty.
According to Fox News, Durham wrote in the indictment that Sussmann "had assembled and conveyed the allegations to the FBI on behalf of at least two specific clients, including a technology executive (Tech Executive 1) at a U.S.-based internet company (Internet Company 1) and the Clinton campaign."
The filing reportedly said that Sussmann's "billing records reflect" that he "repeatedly billed the Clinton Campaign for his work on the Russian Bank-1 allegations." Fox News also reports that Sussmann and the Tech Executive met with another lawyer working with the Clinton campaign, Marc Elias.
Elias' firm, Perkins Coie, is the law firm that the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign used to fund the anti-Trump Russia dossier compiled by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele and commissioned by Fusion GPS. That dossier, which contained unverified and false information, was presented to the FBI by Clinton associates and used to obtain FISA court warrants to surveil members of the Trump campaign.
In an interview with Fox News, Levin said that one way or another, the government spied on Trump's team, as he claimed in 2017.
"And I even said at the time, whether it's eavesdropping of some other form or another, they're spying. Or they're spying on his campaign, or they're spying on the transition team, and that this has been going on for some period of time," Levin said Sunday.
He said that Democratic efforts to undermine Trump that began during the 2016 campaign did not cease and continued through 2020 to "do anything humanly possible to stop Trump."
"This was the beginning of the greatest insurrection. And I would argue that even in the election between what happened between 2016 and 2020, on top of this, the changing of the election laws and violation of the federal Constitution. That's an add-on," Levin told Fox News. "They will do anything humanly possible to stop Trump, to stop his supporters, and to promote their agenda, period."
Durham's probe has made three indictments so far, including Sussmann.
Igor Danchenko was indicted on Nov. 4, 2021. He is charged with making a false statement to the FBI and is accused of lying about the source of information he provided to Christopher Steele for the Russia dossier.
Kevin Clinesmith was indicted in August 2020 and is also charged with making a false statement. Clinesmith, a former FBI lawyer, admitted to doctoring an email that officials used to obtain a FISA court warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.