Durham probe cost $3.8M over past year

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Special counsel John Durham's inquiry into the origins of the investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump presidential campaign spent close to $3.8 million over its first year of operations.

That includes roughly more than $2.3 million between April 1 and Sept. 30. Of that, nearly $1.9 million was directly related to the team’s investigation and approximately $471,000 was spent by other parts of the Justice Department in connection to Durham’s work.

A previous spending report released in May showed the Durham probe had totaled about $1.5 million from Oct. 19 through March 31.

The spending, detailed in documents released Wednesday by the Department of Justice, coincides with an uptick in activity from Durham and his in recent months.

In November the special counsel indicted Igor Danchenko, a Washington-based Russian émigré who was an important source for the contentious Steele dossier that served an important role in the initial phases of the FBI inquiry Durham is now investigating. Danchenko was charged with five felony counts of making false statements to the FBI.

Prior to that, Durham brough an indictment against attorney Michael Sussmann, alleging that Sussmann similarly misled the FBI in the early stages of its probe. According to court documents, Sussmann allegedly falsely denied representing the Democratic National Committee or any other client at the time when he reported suspicions about possible links between computers at Trump Tower and a Russian bank.

Danchenko and Sussmann are among the three people who have faced criminal charges from Durham’s probe since it was commissioned by then-attorney general William Barr in May 2019. Bar later elevated Durham to special counsel status in October 2020.

Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith received a one-year probation term in January for altering an email related to a surveillance request in the course of the Russia investigation.

The special counsel designation provides an additional degree of insulation from the regular DOJ apparatus. However after the Biden administration took office, Attorney General Merrick Garland reserved the right to overrule Durham’s major decisions.

To date Garland has said little about the level of DOJ’s oversight into Durham’s activities, other than to say they are following the Justice Department’s rules regarding special counsels.

“The regulations regarding special counsels are pretty clear about what Mr. Durham does,” Garland told reporters on Dec. 6. “I don’t want to say anything beyond what is in the regulations, but we are following the regulations.”

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