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Russia-Hoax Watchers Reading Tea Leaves over Top Durham Prosecutor’s Departure

'Americans are relying on this report to fully inform them of any misconduct by top-ranked federal officials. We have waited for justice long enough...'

(Headline USA) The resignation of a federal prosecutor who was helping lead the investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Russia hoax could signal that the long awaited investigation is nearing the end.

Or it could signal serious complications as a team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut tries to round its final stretch before the November election.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Connecticut confirmed the departure of top prosecutor Nora Dannehy—first reported by The Hartford Courant—but declined to comment further.

The dismissal of staff was one of several indicators that political prognosticators used during special counsel Robert Mueller‘s initial two-year investigation into allegations of collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.

Mueller’s probe in many ways parallels the task that Durham has faced with investigating the investigators.

Durham’s appointment by Attorney General William Barr was made public soon after the release of Mueller’s report, and both lawmen were authorized by the Justice Department to pursue criminal indictments before a grand jury.

Thus far, Durham has charged only one person—former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith—in what many believe was a plea agreement, much as Mueller sought to do with several close advisers to the Trump campaign.

However, insiders have said more charges will be forthcoming shortly in the Durham probe.

In the year and a half since, he has questioned former law enforcement and intelligence officials—former CIA Director John Brennan among them—about decisions made during the course of the Russia probe.

Dannehy had been a top leader on the team, present for interviews with such officials, including Brennan.

Her departure could complicate the final stretch of an investigation already slowed by the coronavirus pandemic as key decisions presumably await before the probe wraps up.

There is also pressure to wrap up soon, given that Justice Department policy frowns on investigative steps that could affect an election.

Barr has said that policy would not apply here since Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is not a target of the probe.

It’s also not clear that Durham’s work would be permitted to continue if Trump loses in November and Democratic leadership assumes control at the Justice Department.

On Friday, Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, urged Barr to move “expeditiously” in reaching his conclusions.

“An election schedule should not dictate when the findings of John Durham’s investigation, once concluded, are made public,” Babin wrote in a letter to the attorney general.

“As potentially one of the country’s biggest political crimes, the American people deserve to know, in an expeditious manner, about any criminal actions that took place in past investigations,” he continued. “Americans are relying on this report to fully inform them of any misconduct by top-ranked federal officials. We have waited for justice long enough.”

Trump himself has indicated that he wants results soon, saying at a White House press conference on Thursday that Durham was a “very, very respected man” and that his work would involve a “report or maybe it’s much more than that.”

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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