Opinion | Jack Crane – U.S. Attorney John Durham has been assigned to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation.
This longtime lawyer is no stranger to high-stakes assignments that might not make him popular in federal law enforcement circles.
Durham has a reputation as an intense and apolitical prosecutor, and his colleagues say this has made him the go-to investigator for highly sensitive jobs.
And looking into alleged misconduct within the FBI and other government agencies could be his toughest assignment yet.
Those who know him believe he is certainly up to the task.
“He is aggressive, tireless and fair,” former U.S. attorney for Connecticut Deirdre Daly told Fox News in an interview Wednesday.
“He has been tapped by the Justice Department under previous Democratic and Republican administrations to conduct sensitive and significant investigations, so he has done this before for both sides of the aisle, so to speak.”
Durham served as counsel to Daly when she was U.S. attorney and deputy U.S. attorney. He now holds the U.S. attorney position in Connecticut,
Durham hit the national spotlight when Attorney General Bill Barr assigned him to lead the investigation into “all intelligence collection activities” related to the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election, and any misconduct during the early stages of the FBI’s original Russia probe.
The U.S. attorney is 68 and was appointed by President Trump as U.S. attorney for Connecticut in 2018. Prior to being confirmed to that post, he had been tasked multiple times with investigating alleged misconduct by national security and law enforcement officials. Durham has conducted these sensitive investigations under administrations of both political parties.
“What’s critically important here is that he is independent and apolitical,” Daly said.
One of Durham’s highest-profile cases was in 1999, when former Attorney General Janet Reno, during former President Bill Clinton’s administration, asked him to probe the FBI’s handling of Boston mob boss Whitey Bulger. Durham also helped to convict retired FBI agent John Connolly Jr., who was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on racketeering charges related to his relationship with Bulger.
In 2008, during former President George W. Bush’s administration, then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey assigned Durham to investigate the CIA’s alleged destruction of videotapes in 2005. These tapes showed the torture of terrorism suspects.
And in 2009, under the Obama administration, then-Attorney General Eric Holder expanded Durham’s task to probe whether the CIA broke any laws in its handling of detainees in custody.
Durham ultimately did not recommend charges.
“He has tremendous experience as both an investigator and a prosecutor,” Daly said. “He is also extremely familiar with the federal criminal justice system’s procedures, policies and practices.”
Others who know Durham and his work described him as a “hard-charging, bulldog” prosecutor.
Barr first announced his review of the “conduct” at the FBI during the original Russia investigation last month.
“I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted in the summer of 2016,” Barr testified on April 9.
That same day, Fox News learned Barr had assembled a “team” to investigate the origins of the investigation. Barr’s appointment of Durham comes after he testified last month that he believed “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign in 2016, and “the question is whether it was adequately predicated.”
Trump ally and unofficial legal adviser Joe diGenova, a former U.S. attorney, told Fox News that Barr made a “perfect pick” in appointing Durham.
“He is a superb career prosecutor who has accomplished remarkable things in highly-complex, sensitive cases, which is what this entire scandal is about,” diGenova, who has called for an investigation into the investigators for months, said Wednesday. “Barr has also proven his judgment is excellent and, more importantly, that he is serious by choosing Durham—serious about getting to the bottom of this national disgrace.”
He added: “If there are crimes, he will find them. And whatever he does, I certainly am willing to accept.”
Credit: Fox News