Durham watch: Democrats press Barr for ‘October surprise’ vow; Brennan skates?

Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, August 9, 2020

Democrats are increasingly terrified that Attorney General William Barr will spring an “October Surprise” and release prosecutor John Durham’s report on the origins of the Trump-Russia hoax.

U.S. Attorney John Durham, left, and Attorney General William Barr

Democrats and their media, who for three years sought to generate a scandal to drive President Donald Trump from office, have framed the investigation by the Department of Justice as an ‘October Surprise.”

This in an election year which has seen the coronavirus panic and the nationwide orchestrated riots and demonstrations following the death of George Floyd.

When Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Florida Democrat, asked Barr whether he would commit to not releasing any report by Durham before the election, Barr said bluntly, “No.”

Meanwhile, NPR reported that a source told the outlet that Durham has asked to interview Obama era CIA Director John Brennan, confirming a report by NBC News.

A source told NBC that Brennan agreed to be interviewed, and the two sides are working out a time to meet.

The source cited by NPR said that Brennan is not a target of Durham’s investigation.

The Department of Justice has guidance related to “election year sensitivities,” although it is not clear that releasing Durham’s findings would violate the policy.

In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee lat last month, Barr said “I will be very careful. I know what Justice Department policy is. Any report will be, in my judgment, not one that is covered by the policy and would disrupt the election.”

In December, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz noted “the so-called ’60-Day Rule’ under which prosecutors avoid public disclosure of investigative steps related to electoral matters or the return of indictments against a candidate for office within 60 days of a primary or general election.” Horowitz noted that “the 60-Day Rule is not written or described in any Department policy,” although it is a “general practice that informs Department decisions.”

In the past year, Barr has told interviewers that Durham’s investigation has uncovered damaging information about the hoax that Democrats and their media allies pushed for more than three years.

“Trump supporters had hoped that the Durham probe would lead to criminal charges against high-profile Obama administration figures, such as Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, or former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe,” Chuck Ross noted in an Aug. 9 analysis for The Daily Caller.

“So far, the only indication of an active criminal investigation is against Kevin Clinesmith, a former FBI lawyer who also worked on the special counsel’s team,” Ross wrote.

According to the IG report, an FBI attorney identified as Clinesmith altered an email to say that Trump campaign associate Carter Page did not have a relationship with the CIA, when in fact he served as an “operational contact” for the spy agency for years.

Last week, Fred Wertheimer of the leftist group Democracy 21 appealed to Durham directly in the form of an open letter on the blog Just Security. A public release of Durham’s findings, or indictments, will become a campaign issue with political consequences, Wertheimer said.

“If your investigation is not complete, you should not complete it until after the election,” Wertheimer wrote in the Thursday letter. “If the report is complete, you should publicly oppose any release of your report before the election.”

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