(DCWatchdog.com) – Democrats had an entirely different reaction to John Durham’s appointment as special counsel investigating the origins of the same Russia probe they fought to protect when special counsel Robert Mueller was heading the investigation.
With Mueller, Democratic lawmakers were quick to defend the investigation — and Mueller’s autonomy — in an effort to eradicate interference, Durham has not been extended the same courtesy.
Since former Attorney General William Barr announced his appointment as special counsel on December 1, 2020, Durham has indicted two people: Michael Sussmann in September 2021 and Igor Danchenko in November 2021. Durham also indicted Kevin Clinesmith in August 2020, two months before his October 19, 2020, appointment as special counsel.
Durham’s appointment as special counsel was met with substantial backlash from Democratic lawmakers who questioned its legitimacy. But since the powers of hiring and firing special counsel remain in the hands of the Attorney General, the party has been unable to remove Durham from the position. However, they have not been silent about their reservations and misgivings.
In December 2020, Democratic Representative Adam Schiff (CA.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, criticized former Attorney General Barr, saying he was using special counsel law “to continue a politically motivated investigation long after Barr leaves office.”
But two years before, Schiff was adamant about protecting the special counsel’s office to avoid any interference into Mueller’s Russia investigation. At the time (2018), Schiff told Rachell Maddow of MSNBC that it was important for Congress to “take up a bill to protect Mueller so that we don’t invite a crisis.”
In December 2020, the announcement of Durham’s appointment raised the ire of another Democratic lawmaker who had previously fought to protect Mueller’s Russia investigation from “improper interference.”
In a statement in December 2020, Democratic Representative Jerry Nadler (N.Y.) called Durham’s appointment “one more desperate attempt to feed President Trump’s fixation on events that have been investigated over and over again.”
In his recent court filing, Durham alleges lawyers for Hilary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign — which includes Sussman — paid to have servers at the Trump Towers, and then later the White House infiltrated to establish a “narrative” that links the Trump administration to Russia.