President Donald Trump signed an order earlier this month that will allow U.S. Attorney John Durham to submit classified information to a grand jury as part of his probe into the origins of the infamous Trump–Russia collusion investigation.
In a memo to Cabinet officials, Trump said that in addition to being authorized “to declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence that relates to his review,” Durham — an appointee of then-Attorney General Bill Barr — is now “authorized to use classified information as he deems necessary in connection with his review, including in a grand jury or other proceeding.”
“The Attorney General is currently conducting a review of intelligence activities relating to the campaigns in the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters,” Trump wrote on Dec. 18, less than a week before Barr stepped down from his role as AG, as Just the News reported.
“On May 13, 2019, the Attorney General directed John Durham to conduct that review, which subsequently developed into a criminal investigation,” the memo explained. “On October 19, 2020, the Attorney General appointed Mr. Durham to conduct that investigation pursuant to the powers and independence afforded by the Special Counsel regulations of the Department of Justice.”
“It’s a sign”
In a video last week, Just the News editor in chief John Solomon broke down the move and what its implications might be.
“[This] means that the investigation is getting near a point where decisions might be made on indictments and therefore classified information needs to be shared with grand jurors,” Solomon said, noting that “it’s a rare thing for a president to sign such an order.”
“It’s a sign that the John Durham investigation, that many people have been waiting for for a long time, is revving up to a very important point — perhaps a point of accountability that many in the political world have been looking for for some time,” Solomon argued. Take a look:
Justice and accountability
Thus far, Durham’s probe has resulted in only one prosecution, with former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleading guilty in August to illegally altering an email about former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, according to Fox News.
Clinesmith’s attorney later said his client understood that “what he did was wrong and accepts responsibility,” Fox reported.
Less than a month after this year’s presidential election, USA Today reported that then-Attorney General Barr had made Durham a special counsel, providing investigators some “assurances that they could complete their work without regard to the outcome of the election,” Barr said.
With Barr gone and President Trump likely to soon follow, however, it remains to be seen whether more accountability will ever come out of Durham’s probe, which has gone over for more than a year and a half with little to show for it.