U.S. Department of Justice photo of Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham released in 2018. (U.S. Department of Justice via AP)
Connecticut U.S. Attorney John H. Durham, the special prosecutor investigating the origins of Russiagate, announced his departure Friday (Feb. 26), effective Feb. 28. He did not explain why.
Durham was appointed last October by former Attorney General Barr as special prosecutor in charge of the Russia counter-investigation.
Barr then appointed Durham in 2019 to conduct a counter-investigation into the case, looking into the source of the Russia investigation, which was launched against the campaign of former President Donald Trump and subsequently proved to be non-existent.
After Durham turned the case into a criminal investigation, Barr authorized Durham as a special prosecutor with the authority to investigate whether in 2016 – against the Trump campaign, or in connection with the campaign and the Trump Administration – any federal officer, employee or person or entity of the Trump campaign and the Trump administration – whether the investigation violated the law.
The investigation is not limited to the Crossfire Hurricane (the FBI’s code name for the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign), but also includes the Russia investigation conducted by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Durham has the authority to prosecute those involved for federal crimes if he “deems it necessary and appropriate.
Shortly after Barr announced his departure last December, he told the media that “significant progress” was being made in the Durham investigation.
Updates on the progress of the Durham investigation were provided almost exclusively by Barr, and even the appointment of Durham was not announced until two months after it occurred.
Durham has remained silent, and his team has leaked almost nothing to the public. The only lawsuit in which he made allegations and obtained a guilty plea was filed against former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith in August 2020. Clinesmith admitted to altering an email from the CIA about Trump campaign aide Carter Page, changing the letter from saying Page was a CIA informant to saying he was not an informant.
Media outlets reported that after Biden took office, the Justice Department on Feb. 9 asked 56 federal prosecutors appointed under Trump to resign by Feb. 28, but a handful of prosecutors handling politically sensitive Trump-era investigations are expected to remain on board.
In addition to Durham, Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who investigated Biden’s son, Hunter, is among those retained.
Justice Department officials told Reuters on Feb. 9 that Durham will continue his work as a special prosecutor, but will resign from his position as a federal prosecutor in Connecticut.
Durham, who previously served as a career prosecutor in Connecticut for 38 years and then as a federal prosecutor in Connecticut for more than three years, said in a notice published Friday on the Justice Department’s Web site, “My love and respect for the (Connecticut Department of Justice) office and the vital job I do has never diminished. It has been a great honor to serve as a federal prosecutor, and before that as a career prosecutor, and I will miss it greatly.”
He did not explain the reason for his departure. The Justice Department announcement Friday said Durham was leaving without giving details of his job change as special prosecutor.
Durham still leads the office, but his office is not in the main Justice Department building on Pennsylvania Avenue, according to the website of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel.
Dena Iverson, principal deputy director of the Justice Department’s Office of Public Affairs, confirmed to The Washington Examiner that Durham will remain in his role as special counsel.
Leonard Boyle, Connecticut’s first assistant state’s attorney, will replace Durham in his role as Connecticut’s prosecutor.