Special Counsel John Durham is expanding his team of prosecutors, a ‘federal law enforcement official’ told Fox News Monday, as his probe into the Trump-Russia investigation extends past one year.
Attorney General Bill Barr appointed Durham, who is the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, as special counsel on Oct. 19 to give him and his team “the assurance that they could complete their work, without regard to the outcome of the election.”
Durham’s probe is supposed to be reviewing alleged misconduct by federal law enforcement and intelligence officials who boosted the Russia hoax against President Donald Trump and his 2016 election campaign.
He was appointed to determine if intelligence collection involving the Trump campaign was “lawful and appropriate” by Barr in October last year.
Barr’s scope order stated that Durham “is authorized to investigate whether any federal official, employee, or any other person or entity violated the law in connection with the intelligence, counter-intelligence, or law-enforcement activities directed at the 2016 presidential campaigns, individuals associated with those campaigns, and individuals associated with the administration of President Donald J. Trump, including but not limited to Crossfire Hurricane and the investigation of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
Mueller did not find evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election.
Durham was empowered to impanel a grand jury and hand down indictments since last fall, but he has been leading a seemingly lethargic, and at times comatose probe.
Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith is the only person charged with a crime for allegedly altering an email regarding Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act filings of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
The FBI illegally surveilled Page because they suspected him of being an agent of Russia. Page was never charged with wrongdoing.
The Justice Department said at least two of four FISA warrants used to spy on Page, an American petroleum industry consultant and former foreign-policy adviser to Trump, as well as his campaign, were “not valid.”
Many observers have been impatiently waiting for Durham to exercise his prosecutorial powers on the numerous documented liars and leakers in the FBI who orchestrated the Mueller investigation, but they have all been living well without any criminal liability.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found 17 “significant errors or omissions” the FBI made in its four applications to surveil Page. The IG concluded that the FBI was unable to corroborate allegations that Page was a Russian agent.
His report accused FBI agents of willfully withholding exculpatory information related to Page, and information that was damaging to the credibility of Steele, who implicated Page as a Russian asset.
Internal FBI documents unsealed in April also indicate that former head of FBI counterintelligence Peter Strzok ordered an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn to remain open after investigators failed to dig up “derogatory” information.
Handwritten notes revealed that agents were pondering whether their “goal” was to “get him to lie,” so they could “prosecute him or get him fired” when questioning him about Russian contacts.
The notes are believed to have been written by former FBI counterintelligence director Bill Priestap. They were taken in January 2017, following a meeting with former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Republicans are also zeroing in on FBI agent Joe Pientka, who participated in the January 24, 2017 White House interview that led to Flynn’s prosecution for one count of making false statements to the FBI. Pientka was also a central figure in the Page probe.
Durham’s probe was due to be completed sometime this summer but the timeline was extended due to the coronavirus outbreak.