A Top Prosecutor in FBI Russia Probe Resigns Amid Push by Barr
(Bloomberg) -- A top prosecutor working on the criminal investigation into the FBI’s Russia probe has resigned from the Justice Department after Attorney General William Barr said he plans to reveal its findings before the election.
Tom Carson, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut, who’s leading the investigation, confirmed on Friday that Nora Dannehy stepped down. Carson declined to give a reason.
The Hartford Courant newspaper in Connecticut reported that Dannehy quit at least partly out of concern over political pressure to produce a report before the investigative work is done, citing colleagues of the prosecutor it didn’t identify.
Durham was appointed by Barr to probe whether FBI and intelligence officials committed any crimes or other wrongdoing when they investigated whether anyone associated with President Donald Trump’s election campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. Barr has embraced Trump’s claim that he was the victim of improper spying.
So far, Durham has revealed one charge against a low-level former FBI official who admitted to falsifying an email in seeking to renew a secret warrant to conduct surveillance on a former campaign adviser, Carter Page, after Trump was elected.
Trump and his Republican allies have been demanding that Durham’s findings be made public, indicating that they would use the information to help the president in his re-election campaign.
“An election schedule should not dictate when the findings of John Durham’s investigation, once concluded, are made public,” Republican Representative Brian Babin of Texas said in a statement Friday. “As potentially one of the country’s biggest political crimes, the American people deserve to know, in an expeditious manner, about any criminal actions that took place in past investigations.”
Barr has said he plans to reveal Durham’s findings in the coming weeks, even though critics argue that doing so would violate long-standing Justice Department guidelines that prosecutors must not take investigative steps or issue criminal charges for the purpose of influencing an election or helping a particular candidate or party when the vote is less than two months away.
Barr contends that the Justice Department deadline isn’t relevant because neither Trump nor his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, is the subject of the inquiry. And he has rejected accusations that he’s trying to influence voting.
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