Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, said Attorney General Merrick Garland "seems to be kind of a puppet for the Left." The "challenge," he added, is whether Garland will "bury the report."
The California Republican made the observation during an interview with Newsmax that aired less than two weeks after a Justice Department official said the agency "agrees" with an order by former Attorney General William Barr regarding transparency for the inquiry into the origins and conduct of the Russia investigation.
Attorney General Merrick Garland. (Kevin Dietsch/AP)
“In addition to the confidential report" Durham was required to submit to Justice Department, "the Special Counsel, to the maximum extent possible and consistent with the law and policies and practices of the Department of Justice, shall submit to the Attorney General a final report, and such interim reports as he deems appropriate, in a form that will permit public dissemination," Barr's October order read.
The statement last month by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joe Gaeta came in response to a letter from Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who raised concerns about former National Security Agency attorney and CNN commentator Susan Hennessey’s role in the Justice Department’s National Security Division, highlighting her “bias” shown in comments criticizing Durham’s investigation.
“Durham has made abundantly clear that in a year and a half, he hasn't come up with anything. I guess this kind of partisan silliness has become characteristic of Barr's legacy, but unclear to me why Durham would want to go along with it," Hennessey said in one tweet highlighted by the senators.
“The Durham investigation presents the opportunity for bad actors to make a lot of mischief," she also said.
U.S. Attorney John Durham, seen above in 2006, is leading the so-called "investigation into the investigators." (Bob Child/AP Photo)
Gaeta highlighted how appointees such as Hennessey "receive ethics and professional responsibility training as appropriate for incoming attorneys, sign a pledge to 'restore and maintain public trust in government,' and are subject to the Department's scrupulous ethics and recusals process." Gaeta also stressed Durham is not "subject to the day-to-day supervision of any official of the Department," citing special counsel regulations, and insisted Garland and departmental leadership "share your commitment to enduring the fairness, independence, and impartiality of the Department and its employees."
Durham has run the politically charged investigation since the spring of 2019, which means it has lasted longer than special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia inquiry. Under the Biden administration, Durham left his role as the U.S. attorney in Connecticut but was allowed to continue the investigation following his appointment as special counsel.
Garland declined to promise during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in February that he would protect Durham's investigation or make any eventual report public. However, Garland said he didn't have any reason to think it wasn't the right move to allow Durham to continue his work.
Rep. Devin Nunes. (Andrew Harrer/Pool via AP)
Much to the chagrin of former President Donald Trump and his allies, Durham has so far secured only one guilty plea. FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who has since left the bureau, admitted to Durham in the summer of 2020 that he falsified a document during efforts to renew its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act authority to wiretap former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page by editing a 2017 CIA email to state that Page was “not a source."
Page denied any wrongdoing and was never charged with a crime.
Clinesmith was sentenced to one year of probation and no prison time. The Office of Disciplinary Counsel in Washington, D.C., reached an agreement with Clinesmith in June that his admitted criminality does not constitute “moral turpitude” and his law license should be suspended for just one year.
Nunes, who spearheaded 14 criminal referrals to the Justice Department related to the Russia investigation and the 2016 election, said he has never spoken to Durham. Nevertheless, the congressman believes in the prosecutor's work, citing a lack of leaks as a good sign. He also isn't bothered by the long duration of Durham's inquiry.
"I think the longer that it takes, I think the more thorough job of investigating that he's doing. And at the end of the day, what I want to see is — you know, people say, I want to see a report — I don't really want to see a report. I want to see people locked up," Nunes said.
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Original Author: Daniel Chaitin
Original Location: Nunes sees 'challenge' in Garland attempting to 'bury' Durham report