By Jack Phillips
The pending report from special counsel John Durham, who was tasked with investigating the origins of the FBI’s Trump–Russia probe, should be released to the public, Senate Republicans argued in a letter this week.
More than 40 Republican senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), signed a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking that Durham, a former U.S. attorney, be allowed to continue his investigation and that his report is released to the public.
There have been questions about whether Durham’s investigation will lack funding past the end of the federal government’s fiscal year on Sept. 30. He was tapped by then-Attorney General William Barr to investigate the FBI’s operations when it surveilled former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. Barr elevated Durham to become special counsel in October 2020.
“The Special Counsel’s ongoing work is important to many Americans who were disturbed that government agents subverted lawful process to conduct inappropriate surveillance for political purposes,” the Republican senators’ letter reads. “The truth pursued by this investigation is necessary to ensure transparency in our intelligence agencies and restore faith in our civil liberties. Thus, it is essential that the Special Counsel’s ongoing review should be allowed to continue unimpeded and without undue limitations.”
The Republicans called on Garland to make a pledge to release the full report and allow Durham to investigate past September.
“We are over two years into the investigation of how the Obama–Biden FBI spied on an incoming president, and we still do not have answers. America’s national security apparatus was weaponized to take down President Trump, and the American people deserve to know how this occurred,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who is leading the effort, said in a statement.
In recent months, however, there have been scant reports about the progress of Durham’s investigation. According to an Aug. 13 report from The Wall Street Journal, Durham’s investigation is still active and is presenting evidence to a grand jury. The WSJ report cited anonymous sources.
If Durham presents evidence before a grand jury, it suggests that he’s considering more criminal charges beyond the case against former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who pleaded guilty to altering an email about former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. During the 2016 campaign, Page was placed under FBI surveillance in an operation that was later flagged in a December 2019 report (pdf) conducted by the Department of Justice’s inspector general, who found errors and omissions in how the agency operated.
The Department of Justice didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.