Forty-six senators are urging Attorney General Merrick Garland not to interfere with Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the counterintelligence probe of Donald Trump’s campaign.
Durham is investigating the error-riddled probe that plagued former President Trump for years. The investigation has led to a former FBI lawyer pleading guilty to manipulating a key email regarding a former Trump campaign associate and charges against Russian analyst Igor Danchenko and former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann.
In his latest filing, Durham revealed that the White House and Trump’s residences were surveilled while he was in office.
As Durham continues his work, Garland should respect his independence and make sure he has all the resources he needs, Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and nearly the rest of the Republican caucus in the upper chamber said in a letter (pdf) dated Feb. 16.
“As you are aware, Special Counsel Durham continues to uncover alarming information related to the origins of the FBI investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. Those findings include the highly concerning, and potentially criminal, manipulation and exploitation of federal law enforcement resources to target American citizens, including a presidential candidate, based upon fabricated evidence that had been procured and disseminated by individuals closely connected with a rival political campaign,” the senators wrote.
“The fraudulent abuse of the FBI’s investigative powers by those malign actors has left a dark stain on the reputation and credibility of the nation’s premier law enforcement agency. We hope you agree that those responsible for that manipulation and exploitation must be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law by Special Counsel Durham. We further expect you will support his important work until all those responsible for the fraud committed upon the American people are brought to justice.”
A request for comment from Garland wasn’t returned.
The only Senate Republicans who didn’t sign the letter were Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
Durham was a U.S. attorney when he was tapped by William Barr, the attorney general under Trump. Durham resigned from the U.S. attorney position in February but maintained the special counsel role.
When being considered by senators, Garland, nominated by President Joe Biden, told them that he saw “no reason” that Durham shouldn’t be allowed to continue to probe into the botched FBI investigation.
“I don’t have any reason, from what I know now, which is really very little, to make any determination on that ground,” he said at the time. “But I have no reason to think he should not remain in place.”
In October 2021, Garland was asked during a separate hearing whether he would commit to letting the Durham investigation proceed free from political influence.
Garland said Durham’s budget was approved and that “you would know if he weren’t continuing to do his work.”
“I’m not determining what he’s investigating,” Garland added.