Trump Backed ‘Durham Probe’ Ends In Humiliating Fashion For GOP

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Available information suggests the widely hyped investigation by Justice Department prosecutor John Durham into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation is ending without any additional charges.

The term of the grand jury recently utilized by Durham for hearing evidence expired, and according to The New York Times, no plans are in place for summoning another one and keeping the probe going on that front. A trial for one of the three people charged in broad connection with the Durham investigation is forthcoming, but this individual — Igor Danchenko — is accused of lying to federal investigators. Durham hasn’t proven the existence of any kind of political conspiracy against Trump underlying the opening of the Trump-Russia probe, which was eventually taken over by Robert Mueller. Misconduct by one of the people for whom Durham’s team handled charges wasn’t even first identified by Durham’s investigators, making the count of cases originating with the Durham probe just two. The other case from Durham’s investigation also concerned allegedly lying to investigators, but defendant Michael Sussmann was acquitted at trial.

The third case dealt with an FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, who altered a piece of email correspondence used in the Justice Department obtaining court approval for surveillance of Trump associate Carter Page. Clinesmith, who pleaded guilty and whose misconduct was uncovered in the course of a Justice Department inspector general’s investigation, wasn’t sentenced to any prison time. And that’s it: nobody was charged who was previously widely known, and the charges brought concerned lying to investigators (a serious but limited offense) and altering an email, upon which the Justice Department obtaining approval for that surveillance didn’t even entirely rely. Durham was originally tasked with leading the now years-long investigation into the origins of the Russia probe by Attorney General Bill Barr, who made him a special counsel.

Sources for the Times indicated Durham and his team are preparing to finalize a report summarizing their probe by the close of the year, with Attorney General Merrick Garland eventually responsible for whether to make the doc public. “The recent developments suggest that the chances of any more indictments are remote,” as the Times summarizes. Among other considerations, if they’re finalizing a report recapping the probe by roughly the end of the year (after the elections), time is already almost up, making it pretty clear no grand, sweeping criminal case alleging some kind of secret conspiracy will emerge. Notably, Durham even failed in effectively establishing the limited coordination he alleged in the Sussmann case. The now acquitted defendant stood accused of deceptively hiding his Clinton campaign connections when bringing investigative tips to federal authorities. Andrew DeFilippis, one of the prosecutors who worked on the Sussmann case, is apparently leaving government service altogether for a job at a private firm, while Danchenko’s trial begins next month.