A number of President Donald Trump’s prominent supporters have recently inquired about the status of an investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham into the early days of an FBI probe regarding alleged collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign team and Russia.
According to Fox News, Durham might have been silent over the past several weeks due to the election, but Attorney General Bill Barr’s move to appoint him as special counsel means the investigation will continue even if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is successful in taking office next year.
Barr makes his move
Although Durham’s appointment took place on Oct. 19, it was not revealed publicly until this week, Barr said, according to Fox.
In a statement confirming Durham’s new title, the attorney general explained that he initially appointed the federal prosecutor to “investigate certain intelligence and law-enforcement activities surrounding the 2016 presidential election,” as Fox reported.
Barr said that he initially believed Durham’s report would be ready by this past summer, but blamed the pandemic — as well as “additional information he uncovered” — for the highly anticipated report not being released ahead of the election.
According to Fox, he also made it clear that the Durham probe is still a top priority, revealing that he took his most recent steps in an effort to prevent an interruption by a potential new administration.
“In advance of the presidential election, I decided to appoint Mr. Durham as a Special Counsel to provide him and his team with the assurance that they could complete their work, without regard to the outcome of the election,” Barr said.
“Authorized to investigate”
Along with an extra measure of job security, the designation of special counsel promises Durham a wealth of resources, independence, and financial wherewithal to carry out what could be a long and complex investigation.
Furthermore, Barr provided Durham with an impressive amount of leeway into the direction of his probe. The AG explained in his statement that Durham “is authorized to investigate whether any federal official, employee, or any other person or entity violated the law in connection with the intelligence, counter-intelligence, or law-enforcement activities directed at the 2016 presidential campaigns.”
According to USA Today opinion columnist Jonathan Turley, Durham’s initial investigation uncovered significant information pertaining to the scope of his mission.
While that might bode well for Trump, it could present a Biden administration with the incentive to nip the ongoing investigation in the bud.
With Durham’s appointment as a special counsel, however, the Democrats’ hands are largely tied on the matter.