A top aide working for U.S. Attorney John Durham’s criminal investigation into the origins of the Russian collusion probe has resigned.
The Department of Justice confirmed the departure of attorney Nora Dannehy from the Durham probe on Friday but declined to comment on the reasons for her departure.
According to the Hartford Courant, which first reported the news, Dannehy herself did not specify a reason for leaving in her letter of resignation.
However, the Courant report suggested that she stepped down “at least partly out of concern that the investigative team is being pressed for political reasons to produce a report before its work is done,” according to unnamed “colleagues.” They also noted that while she has a long history of working with Durham, she is not a Trump supporter.
However, the Washington Examiner noted that her exit could have been prompted by timing, reporting that “she was told to expect an assignment that would last between six months and a year,” but the probe “has now been going on for a year and a half.”
Durham prosecutors have been putting in long hours working from home on the extended investigation, according to the Courant.
Many Republicans fear that should President Trump lose the election in November, the Durham team will be disbanded and their findings will never see the light of day. Meanwhile, speculation has been swirling that U.S. Attorney General William Barr is pressuring the team to produce a report quickly before the election.
While Barr has denied that he is pressuring the team, the political implications of the report are unmistakable.
Durham is investigating the origins of the FBI counterintelligence operation “Crossfire Hurricane,” and has produced one arrest so far. Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty to making a false statement in August for altering an email written by Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Barr also said this week that “there could be” more charges coming.
Time running out
The Trump-Russia collusion affair effectively hamstrung President Trump’s first two years in office, deepened the partisan division in the nation, and demonstrated that corruption is indeed real.
However, time is running out and this latest resignation puts more pressure on those still working to finish this report.