'Actual witch hunt': Legal experts demand ethics probe into Bill Barr's Special Counsel John Durham
Since 1977 John Durham has been a government prosecutor, first at the state level and five years later, at the federal level. Over the course of his 45 years he handled some of the most notable investigations in American politics, often examining the inner workings of the DOJ, often at the direction of the Attorney General.
And now the 72-year-old Republican, likely nearing the end of his award-winning career, is facing legal experts calling for an ethics investigation into his three-year-long criminal review into the origins of the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” counterintelligence investigation into links between Russia and Donald Trump and the Trump campaign.
After Monday’s acquittal of important FBI source Igor Danchenko, who Durham had prosecuted for allegedly lying to federal agents, the longtime prosecutor scored his second loss in court. Now experts believe the review was not only a politically-motivated witch hunt created by then-Attorney General Bill Barr to soothe Donald Trump’s ego, but has cost DOJ valuable resources, assets, and credibility.
“The Bill Barr-orchestrated John Durham ‘investigation of the investigators’ failed (again) today. It’s time to put this actual witch hunt to bed,” said former federal prosecutor of 30 years, Glenn Kirschner, on Tuesday.
“So friends,” Kirschner adds via his podcast, “with today’s verdict in a federal courtroom in Virginia we may have found an actual witch hunt.”
“The Bill Barr-orchestrated investigation of the people who investigated Donald Trump’s crimes and collusion with Russia has failed spectacularly.”
“Bill Barr appointed this guy, John Durham,” Kirschner explained, “to investigate the investigators who were investigating Trump’s crimes. If that doesn’t sound like a corrupt Attorney General, protecting a criminal president, I don’t know what does.”
Noted and award-winning Harvard Law professor (retired) and co-founder of the American Constitution Society, Laurence Tribe, blasted Barr’s hand-picked special counsel.
“One more formerly reputable lawyer bites the dust on a mission for Trump,” Tribe tweeted.
“Durham must be put through a rigorous ethics probe. Having been given his thankless task by Bill Barr is no excuse for pursuing phantoms and shadows to exact partisan revenge,” he added, in response to a tweet from former top DOJ official Andrew Weissman.
Weissman had said: “Durham was not candid when he told the Virginia jury that Mueller found no evidence of collusion. And he charged an alleged false statement that the court found was actually true. Based on the govt’ s own witnesses. How is Durham not subject to an ethics probe?”
“I reiterate,” says former Asst. U.S. Attorney at SDNY, Richard Signorelli. “John Durham has inexplicably destroyed a once stellar reputation in service to Trump/Barr. This will be his legacy.”
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti observes, “Many federal prosecutors have lost fewer trials in their entire career than John Durham lost in the past year alone. It is apparent that his judgment is poor and that he overcharged these cases. His use of the legally meaningless ‘no collusion’ phrase at trial betrays his bias.”
Peter Strzok, the now-former Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division who led the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, pointed to a New York Times article from last week detailing the case.
An FBI agent, The Times reported, “denounced the exposure by the Trump Justice Department of Igor Danchenko, who was an F.B.I. informant but is now on trial on charges of lying to investigators.”
“This doesn’t just hurt the exposed source,” Strzok lamented. “It hurts the ability of the FBI to recruit sources far into the future, especially those related to Russia. That of course was the point. Shame on Bill Barr. Shame on FBI leadership for sacrificing sources for political survival.”
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