After years of probing the origins of and possible misconduct related to the Russia -- Trump collusion investigation, Special Counsel John Durham is expected, in the words of Attorney General Merrick Garland, to finish the resulting report “relatively soon,” as Fox News reports.
That piece of news emerged during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing this week when Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) posed a question about why Michael Sussmann, a former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer who was acquitted in a case brought by Durham, was found to have had a special badge allowing him access to FBI headquarters back in 2016, according to the Daily Wire.
Offering something of a non-answer response, Garland said, “On the particular question about Sussmann, I think we're going to have to wait until Mr. Durham finishes his report, which should be relatively soon.”
Garland continued, “I certainly don't in any way want to interfere with him. And he's the one who would know the answer to that. On the more general question, I can certainly ask my team to look into how lawyers have special badges.”
Durham's probe dates back nearly four years and was initiated during the administration of former President Donald Trump, who hoped it would get to the bottom of malfeasance that may have been committed by federal employees during the investigation of alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Over the course of the probe, Durham has brought cases against a small handful of individuals but has come up short in terms of securing convictions from Washington, D.C. juries.
The prosecution of Sussmann, for instance, ended in an acquittal last spring when jurors did not believe that the case against the Clinton-linked attorney for lying to the FBI had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, as the New York Post noted at the time.
Durham's case against Igor Danchenko, the primary source of the debunked “Stelle dossier” that played such a central role in Russia-Trump collusion claims, also ended in an acquittal in September of last year, as CBS News reported.
The one bright spot for those anticipating that Durham might bring some degree of accountability to those who perpetrated the Russia hoax was the guilty plea he secured from former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who stood accused of falsifying a document so that FISA surveillance on a Trump campaign adviser could continue uninterrupted.
Even at that, Clinesmith did not serve any jail time and suffered only a temporary suspension of his bar license, as the Daily Wire pointed out.
What began with extremely high hopes several years ago, the Durham probe has led to significant frustration for numerous conservatives, as Newsweek noted last fall.
Following Danchenko's acquittal, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL-01) lamented, “Durham has been on this investigation for years, and here we are 0-2, with fewer wins than the Washington Generals.”
Gaetz continued, “Devin Nunes sent 14 criminal referrals to Durham that laid out in technicolor how these deep-state actors used the Russian hoax to really harm our country and they broke federal law in doing so.”
Former White House communications director Sean Spicer declared after that outcome, “We've been waiting and waiting and told there's more coming, just be patient. After everything that the Right has been through […] and to see all of this go down the tube and all of the faith put in special counsel John Durham – unbelievably disappointing.” Whether anything in the forthcoming report changes that assessment, only time will tell.