Acquittal of Russia Analyst Deals Another Blow to Trump-Era Prosecutor

Special Counsel Durham Loses Again in Steele Dossier Case

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Igor Danchenko, an analyst who provided much of the research in a notorious dossier of unproven assertions and rumors about former President Donald J. Trump and Russia, was acquitted on Tuesday on four counts of lying to the F.B.I. about one of his sources.

The verdict was another stinging defeat for the special counsel, John H. Durham, who was appointed by Attorney General William P. Barr three years ago to investigate the F.B.I.’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

Mr. Trump and his supporters have long insisted the inquiry would prove a “deep state” conspiracy against him, but after pursuing various baseless theories, Mr. Durham never found and charged one. Instead he developed two narrow cases accusing people involved in outside efforts to scrutinize purported links between Mr. Trump and Russia of making false statements.

New York Times

According to his most recent expenditure reports, Durham, who was appointed by then-Attorney General William Barr, spent nearly four and a half million dollars (as of his last report) prosecuting Danchenko (who has now been acquitted), Sussmann, and Clinesmith. LAW&CRIME

The verdict in federal court in Alexandria, Va., is another blow for special counsel JohnDurham, who has now lost both cases that have gone to trial as part of his nearly 3½-year investigation. Durham, who was asked by Attorney General William P. Barr in 2019 to review the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign in 2016,is sure to face renewed pressure to wrap up his work following the verdict.

Trump predicted Durham would uncover “the crime of the century” inside the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies that investigated his campaign’s links to Russia. But so far,no one charged by the special counsel has gone to prison, and only one government employee has pleaded guilty to a criminal offense. In both trials this year, Durham argued that people deceived FBI agents, not that investigators corruptly targeted Trump.

The trial could be Durham’s last. A grand jury that the special counsel had been using in Alexandria is now inactive, people familiar with the matter have told The Washington Post, though the status of a similar panel in D.C. was not immediately clear. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment when asked whether Durham would continue as special counsel in the wake of the Danchenko acquittal.

Washington Post

Trump’s response is in.

“The disgraceful judicial system was on full display yet again with the Danchenko Verdict,” Trump wrote. “Durham could not get a fair shake in the Swamp of biased and partisan juries, where you are told that no Republican based or supported case can be won no matter how good it is, & judges that are so biased, unfair and angry that it is literally dangerous to be in court! I was told by many that Durham’s case was a great one but he has ZERO chance of winning in ‘that Court.’ Sorry Justice Roberts, but so true!”

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