Washington – House Democrats are seeking to interview a long list of Justice Department officials, including Connecticut’s U.S. Attorney John Durham, as they explore allegations of political interference in the work of that agency by President Donald Trump.

In a Friday letter, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D -N.Y., asked U.S. Attorney General Barr for documents and testimony from about 20 officials.

Durham was chosen by Barr last year to conduct an “investigation into the investigators,” a probe  into the origins of the federal investigation of Russian election interference in the 2016 presidential election. Trump has long characterized the federal investigation, which led to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment, as a “witch hunt.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Connecticut declined to comment on Barr’s letter. So did the  Justice Department in Washington D.C.

The request that Durham and other officials come in for interviews opens a new line of investigation by House Democrats into the conduct of the Trump administration and matters relating to Russia and Ukraine.

In his letter to Barr, Nadler demanded a “full briefing,” and gave the U.S. attorney general a March 13 deadline for the documents and witnesses as his panel prepares to hear Barr’s own scheduled March 31 testimony.

“These circumstances are deeply troubling,” wrote Nadler. “Although you serve at the President’s pleasure, you are also charged with the impartial administration of our laws.”

One of the matters Nadler wants to review is the Justice Department’s unusual decision to overrule federal career prosecutors and seek a lighter prison sentence for former Trump political consultant Roger Stone.

Four prosecutors withdrew from the case in protest, and are among the witnesses Nadler is trying to call.

Nadler is also seeking access to a long list of  Justice Department officials involved in issues handled by associates of the president, including former Trump campaign national security adviser Michael Flynn, or who were chosen by Barr to review cases Trump has openly criticized.

Additionally, Nadler said he wants to know why the Justice Department overruled the decision to relocate former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to Rikers Island.

The top prosecutor in Connecticut, Durham was assigned to review the Russia investigation after Barr said last spring that “some of the facts” about the inquiry “don’t hang together with the official explanations of what happened.”

Democrats say Durham’s investigation is a politically motivated scheme to undermine Mueller’s work and attack those Trump perceives as enemies.

Meanwhile Trump supporters hope Durham’s probe results in evidence there were political motivations behind the investigation of whether the Trump administration and the Trump campaign was involved in, or encouraged, Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Since he was appointed last spring, Durham has expanded his investigation. He has also opened a criminal investigation into the Russia probe.

That gives him the power to impanel a grand jury and hand down indictments.

But only one person, former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, is publicly known to be under investigation. Clinesmith altered a document in a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) request related to former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

There are also reports Durham has been examining the role former CIA Director John Brennan played in how the intelligence community assessed Russia’s election interference.

Durham has said little publicly about his investigation.

In a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said not to expect a report from Durham anytime soon and noted how “quiet” the prosecutor has been.

“When he’s ready to charge people, he’ll charge people,” Collins said.

Collins and other Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee hope to hear more about Durham’s investigation when Barr testifies next month.

One thing Republicans say they want to learn is whether Durham has enough resources to complete his probe.

“I want to hear more about the Durham investigation,” Collins said on Fox News’s Sunday Morning Futures. “Is there still adequate resources, everything needed there?”

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

Join the Conversation

5 Comments

  1. They should know not to ask regarding an in progress investigation. I guess they’re in a rush again!

  2. “Very little to go on”……yeah, you’re right, just another in long list of “hoax” or “witchhunt”. No Russia interference, it was a perfect phone call, Manafort was picked on for conjured up crimes, Stone was persecuted for no reason, Giuliani is a patriot, climate change doesn’t exist, tariffs are being paid/money pouring into our country by foreigners not American companies, Ted Cruz’s father potentially tied to JFK assassination, coronary preparedness and Dems, Bill Clinton tied to an aide’s suicide and Jeff Epstein suicide, a pillow was found over Justice Antonin Scalia’s face, Muslims dancing in the street cheering on 9/11, windmills cause cancer. I can go on and on and on…For years now, Trump has been conjuring them up as needed where he sees himself not being worshipped, where his brilliance is defied. His go to tool . I’d like to think his countless scams are catching up to him, but his supporters are too gullible.

    1. And the newest, just two days ago, regarding the coronavirus: “Since the early stages of the foreign outbreak, my administration has taken the most aggressive action in modern history to confront the spread of this disease.” (emphasis mine)

      1. Trump began cutting funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as soon as he took office. It led to an 80% cut in the resources the agency devotes to global disease outbreaks. He also shut down the entire global health security unit of the National Security Council. He ‘s the worst President in U.S. .history. He has achieved nothing. No healthcare for all these coronavirus folks either. He inherited a great economy and it has maintained its course since. small Tax cuts for individuals sucked up by high health care insurance costs and huge deductibles and tariff costs. Net effect = hasn’t helped the common man at all.

    2. Did you know about this doozy from his 2/26 press briefing on coronavirus? “With Ebola, we were talking about it before, you disintegrated.”

Leave a comment
Cancel reply