The Justice Department always had the ability to investigate the Trump/Russia story. What it didn’t have was the right person to run the investigation. Until now.
Attorney General William Barr, in asking U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, is determined to restore Justice’s credibility.
“If the Justice Department had done this two years ago,” observes Kimberley A. Strassel in the WSJ, “the country would be in a much better place.”
Bull Durham at Justice
The Durham appointment is a perfect example of that effort. This is how Justice ought to operate, from the nature of the probe to the choice of prosecutor. It’s a striking contrast to the hash that became of the Mueller investigation.
Durham a Straight Arrow, Not a Showboater
Even Chris Murphy, Mr. Durham’s home state Democratic senator, praised him this week as “apolitical,” “serious,” and “fair.” In a 37-year tenure at the Justice Department, Mr. Durham has served six presidents. Federal records show he has never donated to a political candidate. He’s the antithesis of a showboater; he doesn’t do news conferences and he doesn’t do leaks.
Investigating FBI, DOJ Abuse of Power
Mr. Durham has also specialized in investigations into government actors—from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the Central Intelligence Agency to political figures. The record shows that he doesn’t bring prosecutions lightly, but also isn’t afraid to hold the powerful to account. I’ve confirmed he’ll be joined by the highly respected Nora Dannehy. Ms. Dannehy was herself once the U.S. attorney in Connecticut and in 2008 led the probe into the George W. Bush administration’s controversial firing of U.S. attorneys. She only recently returned to Justice from private practice and is working as counsel in Mr. Durham’s office.
Durham Not a Freewheeling Special Counsel
Because Mr. Durham is operating as a U.S. attorney and not as a freewheeling special counsel, he will share findings with the attorney general as his review progresses. Based on what we’ve seen so far from Mr. Barr, expect him to be as transparent with information as possible—especially with regard to Congress. What a refreshing departure from a Justice Department that for two years used the Mueller probe as its excuse not to comply with Congressional oversight.
Americans demand a few basic things from government—accountability, transparency, blind justice. We are finally—two years late—getting them.
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