Attorney General William Bar has upgraded US Attorney John Durham to special counsel, affording him extra protection against a Biden administration canceling his investigation into the origins of the FBI/DOJ Trump-Russia probe - which cost taxpayers over $40 million and dominated the news for over three years.
According to the Associated Press, Barr said Durham had been appointed special counsel in October under the same federal statue which governed Robert Mueller's investigation in the Russia probe.
He said Durham’s investigation has been narrowing to focus more on the conduct of FBI agents who worked on the Russia investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane.
The investigations grew out of allegations of cooperation between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russians to help him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. -AP
"I decided the best thing to do would be to appoint them under the same regulation that covered Bob Muller, to provide Durham and his team some assurance that they’d be able to complete their work regardless of the outcome of the election," Barr told AP, who added that the Durham investigation has "narrowed considerably" and is now "really is focused on the activities of the crossfire hurricane investigation within the FBI."
Many had been expecting Durham to produce some type of report, indictment, or some type of findings prior to the 2020 election.
According to the Oct. 19 order obtained by AP, Barr authorized Durham "to investigate whether any federal official, employee or any person or entity violated the law in connection with the intelligence, counter-intelligence or law enforcement activities" used against the 2016 Trump campaign or members of the Trump administration.
A senior Justice Department official told the AP that although the order details that it is “including but not limited to Crossfire Hurricane and the investigation of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III,” the Durham probe has not expanded. The official said that line specifically relates to FBI personnel who worked on the Russia investigation before the May 2017 appointment of Mueller, a critical area of scrutiny for both Durham and for the Justice Department inspector general, which identified a series of errors and omissions in surveillance applications targeting a former Trump campaign associate.
AP notes that the focus is on the FBI, 'rather than the CIA and the intelligence community,' which essentially means former CIA Director John Brennan and current CIA Director Gina Haspel (who ran the London CIA bureau while the majority of operation crossfire hurricane took place on UK soil) are pretty much in the clear.
On Sunday, President Trump telegraphed the move in an interview with Fox News' Maria Bartiromo.
BREAKING: President Trump says he would consider appointing a Special Counsel to continuing investigating what took place in the 2016 Election pic.twitter.com/PwBbqfJXPc— Benny (@bennyjohnson) November 29, 2020
Until and unless proven otherwise, we're going to assume this is all political theater.
Durham isn’t gonna do anything— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) December 1, 2020