Special Counsel John Durham adds additional prosecutors as investigation moves up a notch
Special Counsel John Durham is reportedly expanding his team due to the “excellent progress” he is making in his investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia hoax.
A federal law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told Fox News that Durham is adding prosecutors to his team as his probe shifts up a notch.
Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, was appointed by Attorney General Bill Barr in October as special counsel.
In May this year, it was reported that Jeff Jensen, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri was helping with Durham’s investigation.
Jensen was tapped by the Justice Department in February to review the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Flynn was pardoned by President Donald Trump last month.
Also in May, Fox News reported that now-former acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Timothy Shea was also assisting with components of Durham’s investigation.
It is unclear, at this point, whether Jensen and Shea are continuing to work with Durham, and who the additions to his team are.
By appointing Durham as special counsel, Barr helped ensure his investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe could continue into the next administration.
“On May 13, 2019, I directed John Durham, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, to investigate certain intelligence and law-enforcement activities surrounding the 2016 presidential election,” Barr wrote in a letter to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees dated Dec. 1.
“Although I had expected Mr. Durham to complete his work by the summer of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as additional information he uncovered, prevented him from doing so.
“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 wrote, adding that he appointed Durham with “the powers and authority of a Special Counsel” on Oct. 19.
In a scope order, obtained by Fox News, Barr stated 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, individuals associated with those campaigns, and individuals associated with the administration of President Donald J. Trump, including but not limited to Crossfire Hurricane and the investigation of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III.”
Under U.S. code, the special counsel would produce a “confidential report” and is ordered to “submit to the Attorney General a final report, and such interim reports as he deems appropriate in a form that will permit public dissemination.”
Fox News reported last week that Durham was moving “full speed ahead” with his investigation after Election Day.
“Durham remains full steam ahead,” the source familiar with the investigation told Fox News.
Another source told Fox News that his investigation “is definitely still happening,” despite radio silence coming from the U.S. attorney from Connecticut.
Durham’s investigation has produced one criminal charge so far, against former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who was accused of altering an email related to the surveillance of a former Trump campaign aide.
That prosecution, though, did not allege a broader conspiracy within the FBI, and the conduct it involved had largely been laid out in a Justice Department inspector general report from last December.
After the Clinesmith charge, Durham’s team went silent.
Two sources familiar with the investigation told Fox News over the summer that Durham was not finished with several lines of investigation, which he believed were “critical.”
One source told Fox News Durham had been “feeling more pressure to get this done and wrapped up” over the summer, but said that Durham “does not want this to be viewed political,” and would likely “punt it to after the election,” which he ultimately did.
Durham was appointed by Barr last year to investigate the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe, shortly after special counsel Robert Mueller completed his yearlong investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Mueller’s investigation yielded no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election.