By Zachary Stieber
Special counsel John Durham is progressing with his probe into the counter-intelligence investigation into Donald Trump and Trump’s campaign that started in 2016, according to Attorney General William Barr.
Durham is making “significant progress,” Barr told The Wall Street Journal shortly after it was announced he will step down this month.
Updates on Durham’s probe, which centers on how the FBI’s probe of Trump and people in his orbit was riddled with errors and malfeasance, come almost exclusively from Barr.
Durham has maintained near-total silence and few leaks emerge from his team. His sole charge and guilty plea came in August against former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who altered an email about Trump campaign associate Carter Page to say Page was not a CIA asset when, in fact, Page was.
Barr secretly appointed Durham as a special counsel in October, only revealing it on Dec. 1. Top Democrats said the appointment appeared to violate Department of Justice regulations.
Trump earlier this month alleged Durham didn’t want to go after top officials like former FBI Director James Comey and Comey’s onetime replacement, Andrew McCabe.
“We’re still waiting for a report from a man named Durham, who I have never spoken to, and I have never met. They can go after me before the election as much as they want, but unfortunately Mr. Durham didn’t want to go after these people, or have anything to do with going after them before the election. So who knows if he is ever going to even do a report,” the president added.
Republicans have grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of anything concrete from Durham, who has spent about a year on his probe so far.
“I understand people’s frustration over the timing, and there are prosecutors who break more china, so to speak,” Barr said in the new interview. “But they don’t necessarily get the results,” he added.
Barr’s standing among Trump supporters isn’t clear. Some argue he helped the president by standing strong against Democrats and overseeing the weeding out of major players in the scandal that Crossfire Hurricane, the investigation into Trump, developed into. Others insist he was covering for the Department of Justice, refusing to properly hold accountable wrongdoers inside the department.
“A lot of Republicans think that’s playing by Robert’s Rules—you are being soft on the other side. And I understand that frustration. It’s painful that the system is used against Republicans and there is an AG not willing to do the same thing against Democrats. But that is the only way we find our way back,” Barr said.
Barr’s new interview stoked fresh criticism when he claimed that the CIA didn’t act improperly in the lead-up to the 2016 election. “The CIA stayed in its lane,” he said.
The CIA played a role in disseminating foreign intelligence about then-candidate Trump, The Epoch Times reported in February.
Barr also told the Journal that most of the substantive documents related to Crossfire Hurricane have been made public. Hans Mahncke, who has been researching the probe with other Twitter users, noted that a number of documents have not been made public.
“Anyone who says Russiagate documents have been made public is uninformed,” wrote Stephen McIntyre, another amateur researcher.
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