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Prosecutor quits John Durham probe into Trump Russia investigation

Connecticut prosecutor Nora R. Dannehy gets into a cab as she leaves the Law offices of Patton & Boggs after interviewing Karl Rove May 15, 2009 in Washington, DC.

Mark Wilson | Getty Images

A top prosecutor in the probe into the origins of the investigation of President Donald Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has quit, reportedly in part due to fears that political concerns were behind pressure to produce a report before the probe’s work is completed.

The Hartford Courant on Friday reported that Nora Dannehy, the top aide to U.S. Attorney John Durham in his controversial probe, told colleagues on Thursday night that she had resigned.

Dannehy’s email to colleagues in Durham’s office, in the District of Connecticut, “said nothing about political pressure,” the Courant reported.

But the newspaper also reported that “colleagues said Dannehy is not a supporter of President Donald J. Trump and has been concerned in recent weeks by what she believed was pressure from [Attorney General William] Barr — who appointed Durham — to produce results before the election.”

“They said she has been considering resignation for weeks, conflicted by loyalty to Durham and concern about politics,” the Courant reported.

Tom Carson, a spokesman for Durham’s office in Connecticut, told CNBC in an email, “We’re confirming that she has resigned from the Department of Justice and not commenting further.”

This 2018 portrait released by the U.S. Department of Justice shows Connecticut’s U.S. Attorney John Durham.

U.S. Department of Justice via AP

A spokesman for Barr, who heads the Justice Department, which in turn supervises the nation’s United States attorneys and their offices, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The resignation comes two months before the presidential election, in which the Republican Trump faces Democratic nominee Joe Biden, the former vice president.

Barr last month said he could reveal at least some of Durham’s findings before the election, sparking concerns that such an announcement could help Trump politically.

“We’ll develop this case to the extent we can before the election, and we’ll use our prudent judgment to decide what’s appropriate before the election and what should wait until after the election,” Barr said at the time.

Dannehy, who had previously worked in the Connecticut U.S. Attorney’s office, including serving as that office’s acting chief, was lured out of the private sector last year to work for Durham in his special assignment of investigating the origins of the Trump-Russia probe by the Justice Department and the FBI. Durham was tapped to run that investigation in May 2019 by Barr.

Critics of the Durham investigation have said it is a politically motivated effort by Barr and the Trump administration to smear the investigation by then-special counsel Robert Mueller, whose probe led to multiple successful criminal prosecutions of Trump associates.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. last year…

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2020-09-11 15:46:37

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