Vice-presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris and nine other Senate Democrats on Thursday sent a letter to Justice Department (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz’s office asking the IG to investigate DOJ-appointed Attorney John Durham’s criminal investigation into the origins of the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” probe over concerns that the Durham “is being misused for partisan political purposes.”
The letter was signed by Sens. Harris, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT.), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).
The letter comes following the resignation of Nora Dannehy, Durham’s top aide, from the DOJ.
Dennehy said she resigned because Attorney General William Barr pushed investigators to concluded the probe by the November election, allegedly so that President Trump and Republicans could use the results to attack Democrats, Law & Crime reported.
“We write to request that you investigate whether U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation complies with Department of Justice policies, including policies that protect criminal investigations from political influence,” the letter reads.
“The Department’s mission to ‘ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans’ requires that its prosecutorial decisions be insulated from political influence. To that end, longstanding rules restrain Department personnel from publicly commenting on pending investigations, taking actions that may affect an upcoming election, and communicating with the White House about ongoing criminal investigations,” the letter says, before shifting attention to what “[r]ecent reports suggest.”
“Nora Dannehy, a respected career prosecutor and Durham’s former top assistant, reportedly resigned from the Department out of concern that Durham ‘is being pressed for political reasons to produce a report before its work is done’ and before the 2020 election,” the letter continues.
The Democrats also cited Barr’s announcement of “significant developments” in the investigation as ostensible evidence of political bias “before the election.”
“Attorney General Barr has repeatedly commented on the Durham investigation and recently promised that ‘there are going to be developments, significant developments, before the election,’” the letter said.
The senators then cited White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’s remarks claiming to have seen documents that boded “trouble” for the “Peter Strzoks, the Andy McCabes, the James Comeys.”
IG Horowitz previously called former FBI director James Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation as an “unjustified usurpation of authority” and that deviates from “longstanding Department practice.”
“These actions suggest that the Durham investigation is being misused for partisan political purposes and undermine the legitimacy of any investigative steps Mr. Durham takes,” the Democratic senators wrote.
The letter concludes: “In addition, it remains unclear what rules and authority permit the public release of a ‘report’ by U.S. Attorney Durham, raising additional concerns about the legitimacy of his appointment and work. We therefore request that your office investigate whether the Durham investigation has operated consistent with Department rules governing the appointment of U.S. Attorneys and the Department’s rules on public statements concerning pending investigations, taking action that may impact an upcoming election, and White House-Department communications concerning pending criminal investigations.”
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