Witnesses grouse about Garland's handling of Durham inquiry: Report

Witnesses grouse about Garland's handling of Durham inquiry: Report
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Witnesses are getting antsy with special counsel John Durham's criminal inquiry into the opening and conduct of the Russia investigation.

Last week, nearly seven months into the Biden administration, reports said the federal prosecutor had presented evidence before a grand jury, a sign he is considering more criminal charges beyond the one brought against former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who admitted to altering an email about a Trump campaign aide who was under government surveillance.

Adding another layer to the public's understanding of the politically charged review, the Washington Post reported some private chatter about Attorney General Merrick Garland pressing for a swift end to Durham's endeavor, which has long been criticized by Democrats and legal observers who claim the inquiry is meant to undercut special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged ties between the Trump 2016 campaign and Russia.

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"As Durham’s probe has continued into the Biden administration, some witnesses have privately grumbled that Attorney General Merrick Garland should push the special counsel to conclude his work. The Russia investigation, they argue, already has been scrutinized by Congress and the Justice Department inspector general, who found serious flaws but determined that it was opened with adequate basis," the report published on Tuesday said.

Conversely, the report notes some say the investigation, which began more than two years ago, should be allowed to run its course without interference.

“It has struck me from the start as a fool’s errand at best and a political task at worst, but to shut it down would give the appearance of political interference that would be unwise,” former U.S. attorney Barbara McQuade was quoted as saying.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, recently expressed doubt the Justice Department would release a report from Durham even though, just last month, a Justice Department official said the agency "agrees" with an order by former Attorney General William Barr regarding transparency for the review when he made Durham, then the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, a special counsel — a designation that provided him extra protection to continue his work following a change in administrations.

Garland "seems to be kind of a puppet for the Left," Nunes said on Newsmax. The "challenge," he added, is whether the attorney general will "bury the report."

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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.

The recent wave of reporting on Durham's progress said he is considering criminal prosecutions of lower-level FBI employees and outside tipsters surrounding the genesis of the Russia investigation. He is also looking at allegations a Trump Organization server was secretly communicating with Russian bank Alfa Bank, claims the FBI determined in 2017 were unfounded.

Durham is expected to deliver a lengthy report by the end of the summer, although that deadline is likely to get pushed back, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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Tags: News, John Durham, Robert Mueller, 2016 Elections, Justice Department, Merrick Garland

Original Author: Daniel Chaitin

Original Location: Witnesses grouse about Garland's handling of Durham inquiry: Report

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