Durham expands prosecutorial team, said to be making ‘excellent progress’

U.S. Attorney John Durham is reportedly expanding his prosecutorial team in his criminal probe into the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence operation targeting President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

According to a federal law enforcement official familiar with the probe, Durham is also said to be making “excellent progress,” Fox News reported.

Durham, who is the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, was named a special prosecutor earlier this month by Attorney General William Barr.

Fox News said that at this point, it isn’t clear who the prosecutors are.

As the country was becoming preoccupied with the COVID-19 pandemic in April, Durham previously expanded his prosecutorial and investigative team in Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

Additions to the team reportedly included FBI agents and Anthony Scarpelli, chief of the Violent Crimes and Narcotics Trafficking Section in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington.

CNN reported at the time that the focus of Durham’s investigation had shifted “toward decisions made by top officials overseeing the intelligence analysis of Russian election interference efforts in 2016, and particularly the leadership of then-CIA director John Brennan and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.”

As Durham’s team expanded earlier this year, Barr told radio host Hugh Hewitt he was “troubled” by what the U.S. attorney had discovered thus far.

“I wouldn’t use the word shocked. I’m very troubled by it, but you know, I think the reason that we have this investigation is because there are a lot of things that are unexplained,” Barr said.

“And I think we’re getting deeper into the situation, and we’ll be able to sort out exactly what happened.”

The following month, Fox News reported that “Jeff Jensen, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri who was tapped by the Justice Department in February to review the case of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, is continuing to help with Durham’s investigation even after the DOJ’s move last week to drop the case against Flynn.”

Sources also told the network in May that now-former acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Timothy Shea was also assisting Durham.

“They farmed the investigation out because it is too much for Durham and he didn’t want to be distracted,” a source told the network. “He’s going full throttle, and they’re looking at everything.”

In appointing Durham a special prosecutor, Barr is ensuring that Durham’s probe survives into the Biden-Harris administration, should the former VP assume the presidency.

“On May 13, 2019, I directed John Durham, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, to investigate certain intelligence and law-enforcement activities surrounding the 2016 presidential election,” Barr wrote in a letter to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees on Dec. 1.

“Although I had expected Mr. Durham to complete his work by the summer of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as additional information he uncovered, prevented him from doing so,” Barr added.

“In advance of the presidential election, I decided to appoint Mr. Durham as a Special Counsel to provide him and his team with the assurance that they could complete their work, without regard to the outcome of the election,” Barr said, noting further that Durham had “the powers and authority of a Special Counsel” on Oct. 19.

The scope order says Durham “is authorized to investigate whether any federal official, employee, or any other person or entity violated the law in connection with the intelligence, counter-intelligence, or law-enforcement activities directed at the 2016 presidential campaigns, individuals associated with those campaigns, and individuals associated with the administration of President Donald J. Trump, including but not limited to Crossfire Hurricane and the investigation of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III.”

While some have criticized the apparent slow pace of Durham’s probe, “Durham remains full steam ahead,” a source told Fox News last week.

Another said the investigation “is definitely still happening,” the network reported.

Separately, the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross reported that Durham has requested notes from a meeting Russian dossier author Christopher Steele had with the FBI in 2016, enlisting the assistance of a London-based law firm in order to obtain them.

Citing a Politico report, Ross notes that an FBI agent who took part in an interview with the former British spy told the Justice Department Steele “clearly … wasn’t truthful” regarding his contacts with the media.

Jon Dougherty

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