Durham prosecutor resigns without providing a reason, sparking speculation

U.S. Attorney John Durham’s probe made headlines again this week when it was reported that one of his top aides resigned from the team. Prosecutor Nora Dannehy’s resignation has been confirmed by both the Justice Department as well as Durham’s office in Connecticut, but no further details for her departure were provided, Fox News reported.

Numerous media reports have been pushing the theory that she left due to alleged political pressure to complete the investigation before the election. But another theory, while not as exciting, could also be at play, according to a report from RedState.

Political pressure?

Starting in 2019, U.S. Attorney John Durham has been quietly leading a team tasked with uncovering the truth about the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion investigation and how it was used against President Donald Trump.

The departure of Dannehy from Durham’s team was first reported on Friday by the Hartford Courant. According to the report, Dannehy had previously worked with Durham for several years in the Connecticut U.S. Attorney’s Office prior to leaving government service for a job in the private sector. Durham convinced her to return to the team in 2019 for the special investigation.

Citing unnamed sources, the Courant alleged that Dannehy is not a Trump supporter and tendered her resignation partly in response to rising pressure for Durham to wrap up the investigation before the election.

The thinking behind the speculation about political pressure is that, if President Trump were to lose his re-election bid and Democratic nominee Joe Biden were to assume the presidency, Durham’s probe might well be shut down.

An alternate theory..

However, there is an alternate theory for why Dannehy has now left Durham’s team, though it lacks the political intrigue of the Courant’s speculation.

A writer for RedState noted that Dannehy had left the Justice Department in 2010 with 19 years of federal service under her belt, just one year shy of being fully vested in a pension.

The theory goes that, because of her skills and good working relationship with Durham, she may have been asked to return both to help with the probe as well as obtain that additional year of service to reach full status on her pension.

Without getting too deep into the weeds, it was further speculated, based upon her prior history as a prosecutor, that she was placed on or in charge of a special team that stands separate from the rest of the investigation and reviews all prior evidence and materials to ensure that the investigators don’t come across anything they shouldn’t or wouldn’t otherwise see that could taint the investigation.

The full report is worth a look. Read it at RedState.

If this theory is correct, and Durham’s probe is drawing near a close — as has been widely speculated — then Dannehy’s work would no longer be necessary and, having now attained that extra year of service, she is free to move on. Of course, unless Dannehy or Durham come forward with more details, we may never know for sure exactly why she has stepped away from the investigation.

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