Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin on Thursday eviscerated Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe as a ‘total flop’ and urged the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Weaponization to investigate the ‘abusive ways’ the special counsel team keeps pressing for information.
During the subcommittee’s first hearing Thursday, the Maryland Democrat said it was the Trump administration that weaponized the federal government and argued that former President Donald Trump fired inspectors general and appointed Bill Barr as attorney general, who Raskin said ‘worked to kill’ investigations that were unflattering to Trump.
Raskin said Barr’s appointment of Durham to investigate the origins of the FBI’s original investigation against Trump, led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, was another example of the GOP’s weaponization of the government.
‘Consider the John Durham investigation,’ Raskin said during the hearing Thursday. ‘At the urging of Republicans, including the good chairman [Jim Jordan], the John Durham special counsel investigation was set up in 2019 by Barr to try to find wrongdoing by intelligence or law enforcement agencies in the origins of the Mueller investigation.’
‘After four years and millions of dollars spent, the Durham investigation closed as a total flop without unearthing anything like the deep-state conspiracy that Republicans have been denouncing around here for years,’ Raskin said, adding that Durham ‘couldn’t find anything of substance to it.’
‘Yet Barr and Durham kept pressing in clearly abusive ways,’ Raskin continued. ‘I hope your subcommittee will investigate.’
Raskin slammed Republicans by saying they want Durham to ‘keep this wild goose chase going today.’
The Durham probe was launched in part because after nearly two years, Mueller’s investigation into Trump yielded no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election.
House Republicans are unlikely to take up Raskin’s suggestion, but Senate Democrats said last month that they plan to investigate ‘alleged misconduct’ by Durham as he conducts his investigation.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., referenced a New York Times report that included details about the opening of and actions taken during the investigation led by Durham after he was appointed by Barr, which Durbin framed as ‘abuses of power.’
‘These reports about abuses in Special Counsel Durham’s investigation – so outrageous that even his longtime colleagues quit in protest – are but one of many instances where former President Trump and his allies weaponized the Justice Department,’ Durbin said. ‘As we wait for the results of ongoing internal reviews, the Senate Judiciary Committee will do its part and take a hard look at these repeated episodes, and the regulations and policies that enabled them, to ensure such abuses of power cannot happen again.’
Durham has been investigating the origins of the Trump-Russia probe since the spring of 2019.
In October 2020, Barr appointed Durham as special counsel to ensure that he would be able to continue his investigative work – regardless of the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
Durham has indicted three people as part of his investigation: former Clinton attorney Michael Sussmann in September 2021, Igor Danchenko in November 2021 and Kevin Clinesmith in August 2020.
Sussmann and Danchenko were found to be not guilty. Clinesmith pleaded guilty and served community service time. The investigation is ongoing.