Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), the Democratic vice president candidate, joined nine other Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in calling for an inquiry into United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham’s investigation.
Durham, who was appointed by Attorney General William Barr, is investigating the origins of the Trump-Russia probe.
“We write to request that you investigate whether U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation complies with Department of Justice policies, including policies that protect criminal investigations from political influence,” Harris and her Senate colleagues wrote to Inspector General Michael Horowitz on Thursday, Sept. 17.
“The Department’s mission ‘to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans’ requires that its prosecutorial decisions be insulated from political influence. To that end, long-standing rules restrain Department personnel from publicly commenting on public investigations, taking actions that may affect an upcoming election, and communicating with the White House about ongoing criminal investigations,” they added.
Horowitz released a report last December, criticizing the Justice Department and the FBI for at least 17 “significant errors and omissions” related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants against a Trump campaign aide and for the bureau’s reliance on the Democratic-funded discredited dossier complied by British ex-spy Christopher Steele.
Declassified footnotes from Horowitz’s report also showed that the FBI was aware that Steele’s dossier might have been fed by Russian disinformation.
The senators suggested Barr and President Donald Trump are “violating these long-standing rules.” They cited a recent Hartford Courier report featuring sources who said that Nora Dannehy, a longtime federal prosecutor and a member of Durham’s team, resigned from the Justice Department, in part, over concerns that Durham “is being pressed for political reasons to produce a report before its work is done” prior to the November election.
Dannehy’s claim has been pushed back by one source who told Fox News earlier this week that she “came in for a brief job” and “questions surrounding her departure were simply from an ‘echo chamber trying to make things look bad'” for Barr.
“They’re doing their job,” the source told Fox News. “It’s not easy to do stuff like this. Takes time.”
Barr has denied that he is being pressured by President Trump in Durham’s investigation and said that any actions taken won’t affect the 2020 election. He also noted that former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden are not targets of the investigation.
Barr said last week that there “could be” more charges arising from Durham’s investigation after Durham announced his first criminal charge against former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith for “making a false statement within both the jurisdiction of the executive branch and judicial branch of the U.S. government.”
The Democratic senators’ request came after newly released Justice Department records showed numerous phones belonging to members of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team were wiped of information before the Justice Department inspector general’s office could review the devices.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has hinted that developments in Durham’s investigation will soon be released.
Graham announced Thursday that former FBI director James Comey will be testifying before the committee at the end of September.