OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
An Obama-era spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice claims that Special Counsel John Durham should not have the final say in his own investigation into alleged misconduct in the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation.
Matthew Miller, who served as the director of the department’s public affairs office from 2009 to 2011, argued that Attorney General Merrick Garland, or another high-ranking official within the department, should review the report before it is shared with Americans, the Washington Examiner reported.
“His cases are over. I think it’s clear that he’s not going to bring any more charges in this investigation, but one of the requirements for special counsels under the regulations is that they write a confidential report and submit it to the attorney general, and the attorney general then makes a decision whether to release that report to the public,” Miller said.
“I think Merrick Garland will be under a lot of pressure from Republicans to release that report, but I have to say, this circumstance is very different from the Mueller investigation, where, obviously, the attorney general, Bill Barr, did release that report,” Miller added.
“It’s different because in that case, the subject of that investigation could not be charged, and so it was appropriate for the department to make its findings public, so Congress could decide whether to impeach and convict the then-sitting president,” he continued. “That is not the case here, so to release a report in this instance — given what we know about the way that Durham has behaved, some of his inappropriate public statements during this investigation, the poor judgments he has made in bringing these charges — to release a report publicly and let him have the final word I think probably unfairly tarnish some people at the FBI that we know he holds ill will to based on some of the things he said in this most recent trial.”
“But it does not have to be the last word. Lots of times in the past — there’s ample precedent for this — when reports like this have been written by the Justice Department, the leadership decides whether that actually reflects their view,” Miller said. “John Durham does not get to be the final arbiter of what the Justice Department believes, so it would be appropriate for Merrick Garland to either review it and come up with his conclusions or, maybe more appropriately, refer it to the senior career official as has been done in the past and let that individual review it and decide whether he believes the conclusions John Durham has drawn, conclusions which we know at least in two public cases have been rejected by juries, are the conclusions that the Justice Department in its considered wisdom actually agrees with and wants to let stand before the public.”
Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson recently revealed that Durham’s investigation has “hindered Congress as lawmakers seek to root out FBI misconduct and examine the shady business dealings of Hunter Biden.”
“Blame was cast during a recent interview on Newsmax in which Johnson vented about a dearth of successful prosecutions in Durham’s endeavor, which appears to be wrapping up as the prosecutor takes the alleged main source for a now-infamous dossier alleging ties between former President Donald Trump and Russia to court this month. The senator said he was unsatisfied, noting the lack of a conviction against lawyer Michael Sussmann, who was acquitted in May,” the Washington Examiner reported.
“Our efforts in terms of investigating Hunter Biden, and corruption within the FBI was certainly hampered because we had an active criminal investigation under John Durham,” Johnson said.
“The Newsmax interview with Johnson began with hosts Sean Spicer, Trump’s first White House press secretary, and Lyndsay Keith, discussing dozens of FBI whistleblowers that Republican lawmakers say have come forward to them in recent months to raise allegations of politicization in the bureau. One of those lawmakers is Johnson, who has also investigated Hunter Biden, the adult son of President Joe Biden, and raised concerns about influence peddling,” the report added.
“Although Johnson suggested Durham’s investigation, which is looking for misconduct in the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation and has secured one conviction so far, poses a roadblock for congressional oversight, Republicans are gearing up for a wider investigation into the allegations of FBI malfeasance if they win control of at least one chamber in the November midterm elections,” the report continued.
“The American public deserves to know the truth of the corruption that was occurring within the Department of Justice and the FBI,” Johnson said.
It is unclear when Durham’s investigation will end or when his final report is expected to be submitted to the Department of Justice.