Senate Judiciary mulls action amid fallout from Durham probe
The Senate Judiciary Committee promises to review former Special Counsel John Durham’s actions following reports of improper handling of his probe into the investigation into former President Trump.
Recent reports from the New York Times about ethical concerns during the investigation led to numerous staff departures, including concerns about former Attorney General Bill Barr’s involvement in the investigation as well as the trial proceeding with insufficient evidence.
The report also revealed that the Justice Department veiled the nature of the criminal aspect of the investigation, failing to disclose that it concerned Trump’s financial dealings rather than wrongdoing related to the first probe into the former president’s ties with Russia.
“These reports of abuses in Special Counsel Durham’s investigation — so outrageous that even his longtime colleagues quit in protest — are just one of many instances in which former President Trump and his allies have armed the Justice Department,” said committee chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill. ) said in a statement.
“The Justice Department should work on behalf of the American people, not for the personal gain of a president. While we await the results of the ongoing internal reviews, the Senate Judiciary Committee will do its part and closely examine these repeated incidents and the regulations and policies that made them possible to ensure such abuse of power does not materialize can repeat.”
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and Durham and Barr did not respond to the Times story.
According to the report, after contacting Italian officials who denied any involvement in the leaking of information for the Russian investigation, Barr added law enforcement powers to Durham’s powers after receiving a credible tip about potential Trump-related financial crimes .
But Barr’s vague comments left it unclear that the criminal component of the investigation was not focused on those who launched the investigation into the former president.
In other cases, subordinates questioned Durham’s efforts to gather evidence on the leader of an organization linked to George Soros and Barr’s public statements about the investigation.
“The evidence shows that we are not just dealing with mistakes or negligence. There is something much more disturbing here,” Barr said in April 2020.
Staffers were also sour as Durham prepared to prosecute Michael Sussmann, an attorney who represented Democrats when they met with the FBI during the probe into Trump’s Russia dealings. Two associates said Durham did not have enough solid evidence to press charges and eventually left the team. Sussman was later acquitted in a losing court for Durham.