Prosecutor working on probe of Russia inquiry resigns; will findings be released before election?

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A federal prosecutor working on an inquiry into the origins of the government’s probe of Russian election influence has resigned from her position without explanation.

The prosecutor, Nora Dannehy, was a top aide to U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is conducting the inquiry, report the Hartford Courant, the Washington Post, the New York Times and Politico.

She left her position with a defense contractor to join Durham’s team last year.

Dannehy informed colleagues of her decision Thursday and ended work at the Connecticut U.S. attorney’s office the next day.

Unnamed colleagues told the Hartford Courant that they think Dannehy left her position because she was concerned about pressure by U.S. Attorney William Barr to produce findings before the November 2020 election. President Donald Trump has touted the inquiry as a way to show that politics motivated the probe into Russia’s influence in the 2016 election.

Barr predicted last month that there will be “significant developments in the probe before the election,” according to Politico. However, in a Wednesday interview with Pete Williams of NBC, Barr refused to say whether there would be a report before the election.

Durham’s work recently produced a guilty plea by former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith for changing an email used to justify continued surveillance of Carter Page, a former adviser to Trump.

A December 2019 report by the U.S. Department of Justice’s inspector general found no evidence of political bias or improper motive in the FBI’s decision to open the investigation into possible coordination between members of Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.

But the inspector general did cite “at least 17 significant errors or omissions” in FBI wiretap applications in the probe. The wiretap applications relied on information from former British spy Christopher Steele, who “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected,” the inspector general said. Steele’s information was going to the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.

Durham previously said his investigation is more expansive than the IG’s probe.

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