Durham Pushes Back Against Criticism of Special Counsel Investigation Into Origins of Trump-Russia Probe

Durham Pushes Back Against Criticism of Special Counsel Investigation Into Origins of Trump-Russia Probe
Special counsel John Durham arrives at federal court in Washington on May 18, 2022. (Teng Chen for The Epoch Times)
John Haughey
Zachary Stieber

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Special counsel John Durham on Oct. 17 pushed back against claims that the investigation he’s been leading was motivated by politics.

Durham was appointed in 2020 as special counsel to investigate the origins of the Donald Trump-Russia investigation, which was launched by the FBI before the 2016 presidential election and was continued later by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

Stuart Sears, a lawyer representing Steele dossier contributor Igor Danchenko, targeted how Durham was appointed during closing arguments of Danchenko’s trial.

While Danchenko provided the FBI information for years as a confidential human source, “the political winds in this country changed once then-President Trump appointed a new attorney general, William Barr,” Sears said.

“Barr not only essentially revealed Mr. Danchenko’s identity by releasing a redacted version of his January 2017 interview to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but that committee released that report within an hour of receiving it to the public. Attorney General Barr also ordered an investigation into the investigation of the Trump campaign and its connections to Russia. So a new special counsel was appointed, this special counsel, to lead that investigation.”

FBI officials testified that Danchenko, who is facing charges of lying to the bureau, was terminated as a source because his identity became public.

“I submit to you that if this trial has proven anything, it’s that the special counsel’s investigation was focused on proving crimes at any cost as opposed to investigating whether any occurred,” Sears said.

Durham, speaking after Sears, said that the FBI failed to perform certain tasks, such as vetting Danchenko’s financial situation. But he also rebutted the criticism of how he came to be special counsel.

“I think that counsel’s suggestion is, oh, it’s Bill Barr. Bill Barr did this for political reasons,” Durham said, starting to address critics of his work for the first time.

But, Durham said, the jury should reflect on how his appointment came about.

“The Mueller report had come out, and there’s no collusion that was established,” he said. “It’s not an illogical question to ask, well, then how did this all get started? Now, you can call that political. You can suggest, I guess, inferentially that somehow people who have spent a considerable period of time away from their families and whatnot did this for political reasons or what have you. If that’s your mind-set, I suppose that’s your mind-set.”

“But to look into the question of how did this all happen—Director Mueller, a patriotic American, the former director of the FBI, concludes there’s no evidence of collusion here or conspiracy,” he added. “Is it the wrong question to ask, well, then how did this get started? Respectfully, that’s not the case.”

Jurors were still deliberating as of noon on Oct. 18.

John Haughey is an award-winning Epoch Times reporter who covers U.S. elections, U.S. Congress, energy, defense, and infrastructure. Mr. Haughey has more than 45 years of media experience. You can reach John via email at [email protected]
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