Politics & Policy

Federal Prosecutor Resigns from Durham Probe over Alleged Pressure to Wrap Up ahead of Election

Federal Prosecutor Nora Dannehy walks to a taxi after interviewing former Bush White House official Karl Rove in Washington, D.C., May 15, 2009. (Robert Giroux/Reuters)

Nora Dannehy, a top federal prosecutor working with U.S. Attorney John Durham on his investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe, resigned from the Justice Department on Thursday, partially over concern that Attorney General William Barr is pressuring investigators to conclude their work prematurely for political purposes.

Dannehy, a career prosecutor who has worked with Durham over decades and joined his team in spring of last year, submitted her resignation in an email Thursday night that made no mention of political pressure, the Hartford Courant first reported.

Durham was appointed by Barr last year to investigate the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe. His appointment came just after former Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted his final report to the Justice Department concluding that the Trump campaign did not conspire with Russians to influence the election, but could not reach a conclusion on whether President Trump committed obstruction of justice.

Colleagues reportedly said that Dannehy, who does not support President Trump, was concerned about pressure from Barr to produce a report on the investigation before the presidential election in November and had been considering leaving the probe for weeks.

Additionally, some Durham associates suggested that Durham is under pressure to produce results in some form before the election, citing concerns that the probe could be dissolved should Trump lose in November, the paper reported.

Last month, Durham announced the first criminal charge resulting from his investigation against former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who pled guilty to doctoring an email that investigators relied on to justify an application to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser, according to court documents.

Barr suggested this week that more charges could be forthcoming from Durham’s probe of the Russia investigation.

“Yeah, there could be,” Barr said during an interview with NBC News, but he declined to say whether additional charges would be announced before Election Day.

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