Attorney General Merrick Garland shared on Tuesday his expectations for when a report from John Durham‘s special counsel investigation will be completed, and it doesn’t appear to be that far off in the future.
The rare update on Durham’s inquiry into potential misconduct in the Trump-Russia probe came during testimony before a Senate committee. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) asked Garland about why former Hillary Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann, who was found not guilty of lying to the FBI in a blow to Durham’s investigation, apparently had a badge to get into the bureau’s headquarters in the run-up to the 2016 election.
“On the particular question about Sussman, I think we’re going to have to wait until Mr. Durham finishes his report, which should be relatively soon,” Garland said.
“I certainly don’t in any way want to interfere with him,” Garland continued. “And he’s the one who would know the answer to that. On the more general question, I can certainly ask my team to look into how lawyers have special badges.”
Durham has been working on this investigation for nearly four years, dating back to the Trump administration. Though Durham resigned as U.S. attorney after President Joe Biden took office, Garland allowed his special counsel probe to continue. Garland testified to Congress in October 2021 that he hopes to make “as much as possible” of Durham’s report public, but not that he has “to be concerned about Privacy Act concerns and classification.”
The investigation has been cheered by former President Donald Trump and his allies while Democrats and others have criticized it as a politically tainted endeavor meant to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller and top officials from the FBI. Democrats have even begun to call for investigations into Durham’s endeavor.
Durham has secured one guilty plea: that of former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who was accused of falsifying a document in efforts to renew the authority to conduct FISA surveillance on onetime Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page. Clinesmith was spared prison time and faced a one-year bar suspension.
Last year, Durham endured setbacks when prosecutions against Sussmann and Igor Danchenko, a key source for British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s anti-Trump dossier, ended in acquittal in Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia, respectively.
The last public update on the investigation provided by the Department of Justice came in December, just before Christmas, in the form of a financial disclosure.