Once again the New York Times is getting out ahead of the story to reveal Attorney General Bill Barr has instructed U.S. Attorney John Durham to review the origins of the 2016 DOJ and FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign. [Durham Background Here]
The appointment looks like a way to keep the sensitive inquiry within Barr’s control as opposed to appointing a special counsel. John H Durham, the U.S. attorney from Connecticut, has handled previous investigations into the intelligence community.
WASHINGTON — Attorney General William P. Barr has assigned the top federal prosecutor in Connecticut to examine the origins of the Russia investigation, according to two people familiar with the matter, a move that President Trump has long called for but that could anger law enforcement officials who insist that scrutiny of the Trump campaign was lawful.
John H. Durham, the United States attorney in Connecticut, has a history of serving as a special prosecutor investigating potential wrongdoing among national security officials, including the F.B.I.’s ties to a crime boss in Boston and accusations of C.I.A. abuses of detainees.
His inquiry is the third known investigation focused on the opening of an F.B.I. counterintelligence investigation during the 2016 presidential campaign into possible ties between Russia’s election interference and Trump associates.
The department’s inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, is separately examining investigators’ use of wiretap applications and informants and whether any political bias against Mr. Trump influenced investigative decisions. And John W. Huber, the United States attorney in Utah, has been reviewing aspects of the Russia investigation. His findings have not been announced.
[…] Mr. Durham, who was nominated by Mr. Trump in 2017 and has been a Justice Department lawyer since 1982, has conducted special investigations under administrations of both parties. Attorney General Janet Reno asked Mr. Durham in 1999 to investigate the F.B.I.’s handling of a notorious informant: the organized crime leader James (Whitey) Bulger.
In 2008, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey assigned Mr. Durham to investigate the C.I.A.’s destruction of videotapes in 2005 showing the torture of terrorism suspects. A year later, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. expanded Mr. Durham’s mandate to also examine whether the agency broke any laws in its abuses of detainees in its custody. (read more)
Again, cautious optimism this appointment is a step in the right direction.
We would be remiss if we didn’t note the prior DOJ head-fake when U.S. Attorney John Laush was assigned to review and deliver documents to congress. That effort resulted in absolutely nothing; the documents were never produced; the redactions were never removed; and the corrupt institutional schemes were unfazed by Laush’s assignment.
It would seem like most of the investigative material Mr. Durham might need is already present in the accumulated files from DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Keep an eye open to see if John H Durham is given a staff, investigative resources and/or a budget therein. If this is a genuinely motivated effort there should be visible activity.
This better-damn-well-not be another years-long investigation, specifically structured and coordinated to extend the tick-tock timeline of investigative inquiry into another 2020 election year, while the deep state institutional protectors say: “Trust Durham“.
UPDATE: Prior letter from Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows to U.S. Attorney John H Durham in January of 2019, about the October 18, 2018, testimony from former FBI legal counsel James Baker where Baker’s lawyers identified Durham as a prosecutor investigating the claims of Baker leaking to media.