Criminal Justice

Special counsel inquiry into origins of Russia probe appears to be nearing end

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John Durham

The government’s probe into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election by special counsel John Durham appears to be winding down. Photo from the U.S. Department of Justice via the Associated Press.

A special counsel appears to be wrapping up his work three years after former U.S. Attorney General William Barr first asked him to examine the origins of the government’s probe into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.

According to the New York Times, the probe by special counsel John Durham appears to be winding down “without anything close to the results” that former President Donald Trump was seeking.

Durham has not yet issued his report. Trump wrote on social media last month that the report “should reveal corruption at a level never seen before in our country.”

Barr asked Durham to conduct a preliminary review in May 2019 and appointed him as special counsel in October 2020.

Durham had charged two people with lying to the FBI in connection with the Russia investigation. One of them, former Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussmann, was acquitted in May 2022.

Sussmann had been accused of lying by telling the FBI that he wasn’t acting on behalf of any client when he disclosed allegations about a secret channel of communications between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank. The indictment claimed that Sussmann was actually bringing the allegations to the FBI on behalf of two clients, including Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The other person charged with lying was a Russian-born researcher who is scheduled for trial next month.

Durham also brought charges against former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who pleaded guilty in 2020 to altering an email to justify surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Clinesmith was sentenced to probation in January 2021.

“The recent developments suggest that the chances of any more indictments are remote,” according to the New York Times.

See also: “Judge refuses to toss criminal charge against former Perkins Coie partner in special counsel probe” “Prosecutor working on probe of Russia inquiry resigns; will findings be released before election?” “Perkins Coie partner resigns from firm after he is charged by special counsel”

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