AG Barr Reveals John Durham Was Appointed Special Counsel Weeks Before 2020 Election
A federal prosecutor tasked with investigating 2016 FBI misconduct targeting President Donald Trump’s campaign was designated as a Special Counsel of the Department of Justice weeks before the 2020 election
“On May 13, 2019, I directed United States Attorney John Durham to conduct a preliminary review into certain matters related to the 2016 presidential election campaigns, and Mr. Durham’s review subsequently developed into a criminal investigation, which remains ongoing. Following consultation with Mr. Durham, I have determined that, in light of the extraordinary circumstances relating to these matters, the public interest warrants Mr. Durham continuing this investigation pursuant to the powers and independence afforded by the Special Counsel regulations,” Attorney General Barr revealed in a statement released Tuesday. The order appointing Durham a Special Counsel is dated October 19th, 2020.
“The Special Counsel is authorized to investigate whether any federal official, employee, or any other person or entity violated the law in connection with the intelligence, counterintelligence, or law enforcement activities directed at the 2016 presidential campaigns, individuals associated with those campaigns, and individuals associated with the administration of President Donald J. Trump, including but not limited to Crossfire Hurricane and the investigation of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III,” Barr revealed. “If the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate, the Special Counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from his investigation of these matters.”
Appointment as a Special Counsel grants John Durham powers broadly similar to those possessed by Robert Mueller during his Russian interference conspiracy probe. The powers potentially make Durham more difficult to fire in a potential Joe Biden presidential administration, and shield him from superior influence of the Department of Justice.
Reports earlier this month had indicated Durham didn’t intend to make any further indictments as a result of his investigation into FBI political misconduct, with some speculating the premise of a Biden administration would deter the longtime federal prosecutor from charging any Democrats. His appointment as a Special Counsel may suggest he’s more inclined to charge those involved in FBI misconduct.
Durham has already secured one guilty plea, from an FBI lawyer who admitted to altering email communications from the CIA confirming that then-Trump campaign advisor Carter Page was a source for the intelligence agency.
Barr revealed he expects Durham to issue a report on the findings obtained from his investigation.