Speed Reads

Whimper not bang

Special Counsel John Durham's investigation appears to be winding down with little to show

Special Counsel John Durham's investigation into the origins of the investigation of Russia's ties to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign appears to be winding down after more than three years, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The grand jury Durham had been using to hear evidence has expired, and there are currently no plans to convene another one, three people familiar with the matter tell the Times.

After Attorney General Bill Barr assigned Durham to the case in May 2019, and in the months since, former President Trump and his allies expressed high hopes the investigation would uncover "deep state" corruption at the FBI or in former President Barack Obama's administration, as this supercut of Fox News clips from Media Matters illustrates. 

Durham's team did negotiate a plea deal with one FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, who the Justice Department inspector general had accused of manipulating an email used to renew a wiretap application for Trump campaign aide Carter Page. But his efforts to charge a cybersecurity lawyer, Michael Sussmann, ended in acquittal by a jury, and he has charged only one more obscure figure in the investigation, Russia analyst Igor Danchenko, for allegedly lying to the federal investigators. 

"Andrew DeFilippis, a prosecutor who played a key role in the Sussmann case, has notified the court that he will not take part in the trial of Mr. Danchenko," scheduled to begin in October, the Times reports. "Recent developments suggest that the chances of any more indictments are remote." Dan Rather ribbed Durham by suggesting he could commiserate with a certain Fox News personality who infamously found nothing of worth in Al Capone's vault. 

The Justice Department had asked Durham to turn in a report of his findings to Attorney General Merrick Garland in May, but Durham is now hoping to have the final report done by the end of the year, the Times reports. It will be Garland's call on whether to make the report public. Asked for an update as he was leaving Washington's Union Station on Wednesday night, Durham told the Times, "I have no comment on anything."