(Headline USA) President Donald Trump will allow special council John Durham‘s office to share classified information with a grand jury—a move that may herald the arrival of new, high-level indictments in the final month of Trump’s first presidential term.
The White House announced today that Trump signed an order on Dec. 18 giving John Durham the authority to present classified information to a grand jury investigating the Russian collusion hoax.
Previous DOJ regulations required the consent of the specific classifying agency. pic.twitter.com/VvqxKChb7B
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 22, 2020
The new order cuts through the red tape that would have required Durham to seek permission from the specific agencies that classified the material, reported the Gateway Pundit.
Some of those agencies, including the FBI and CIA, are at the heart of the investigation itself, with a vested interest in covering up their own misconduct and letting the push for transparency go dormant under a sympathetic—and/or corrupt—Joe Biden administration.
The recent memorandum came a few days after Attorney General William Barr announced his intention to resign in what was seen as a cordial oval office meeting—although Barr later appeared to take parting shots at the president, dismissing the need for additional special counsels to investigate vote fraud and Hunter Biden.
Following Barr’s departure, deputy attorney general Jeffrey Rosen is taking over the department on Thursday. It remains to be seen whether he would support moving forward with the new special counsel appointments.
Regardless of whether the other investigations move forward, Barr’s appointment of Durham as special counsel has added a wrinkle in the selection process for Biden’s presumptive attorney general since Democrats have continually sought to downplay and dismiss Durham’s probe as political theater.
While there may be strong impetus within his party and prospective administration for Biden to appoint a deep-state-friendly figure who would derail the probe from within, Republican senators who commended Barr’s decision may refuse to back someone viewed as overly partisan or perceived to be ethically unscrupulous for that reason.
But further questions over Barr’s loyalties have led some to speculate that his appointment of Durham as special counsel in the long-running probe of the FBI’s Russia hoax conspiracy might have been intended to thwart Trump from further public declassifications on his way out the door, as well as making it more difficult for Biden to pull the plug.
Trump has been publicly frustrated with the Justice Department over what was seen as bureaucratic foot-dragging at best and, at worst, an active attempt to cover up the probes, which could have serious implications for its own leading investigative agency.
The effective weaponization of classified information as a means of preventing progress has been at the heart of the frustration.
Nonetheless, loyal Trump allies like former acting Director of National Defense Ric Grenell and current DNI John Ratcliffe have worked with the president to shed light on some of the egregious abuses of power that took place during the Obama administration—and even into Trump’s own term—as part of an effort to undermine the Republican leader.
With the new authorization, Durham now has the authority to use classified information indefinitely in his investigation, The Right Scoop reported.
Trump’s order eliminates the ability of the CIA or other intelligence community agencies from exercising a veto over whether documents or info they generated may be presented to a grand jury empaneled by John Durham to investigate the Russia hoax. https://t.co/1RPRyrlfKI
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 22, 2020
A number of those close to the investigation—including Rick Gates, a former lobbyist who was implicated original Mueller probe into allegations of Russian collusion—have said they believe top FBI officials such as former director James Comey, former deputy director Andrew McCabe and former counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok could be in the crosshairs of Durham’s sweeping probe.
It is also known that he has expanded it to include actions of the Hillary Clinton‘s 2016 presidential campaign after the declassification of a document showing that Clinton had originally formulated the narrative about Trump’s Russia ties as part of a campaign-related misinformation scheme.
The Democrat campaign would go on to commission the Steele Dossier, the debunked series of reports, provided to the FBI, which it used, in part, as justification to spy on Trump campaign officials.
The ongoing Durham investigation followed Trump’s repeated calls to “investigate the investigators,” and it has periodically mirrored the Mueller probe that preceded and–in some ways—predicated it.
In fact, there is some speculation that members of Mueller’s own office may even be implicated in it by virtue of their displays of partisan bias and overreach, as well as a subsequent cover-up that included the mysterious disappearance and deletion of proprietary cell-phone data.
The probe took a hit early on after Strzok and his mistress, FBI Lisa Page, both of whom were involved with the special counsel’s office, were discovered in a parallel congressional inquiry to have exchanged shocking anti-Trump text messages while leading the FBI’s initial “Crossfire Hurricane” probe.
Also on Tuesday, Trump appointed Ezra Cohen, of the District of Columbia, to chair the Public Interest Declassification Board. Cohen, a Trump loyalist, currently is acting undersecretary of defense for intelligence.
The board advises the president about issues pertaining to national classification and declassification policy. Created by Congress, the board is tasked with promoting robust public access to materials that document U.S. national security decisions and activities.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press