Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Byron York's Daily Memo: Special Counsel Durham

SPECIAL COUNSEL DURHAM. Attorney General William Barr did two things that made news on Tuesday. One, he told the Associated Press that the Justice Department has been looking into claims of election fraud, and "to date we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election." Barr later pointed out that that does not mean no localized incidents of irregularities or fraud occurred, just that it doesn't add up to changing the election result. It was a conclusion echoed by the Wall Street Journal editorial page, which wrote that, "We're open to evidence of major fraud, but we haven't seen claims that are credible...for Mr. Trump to win the Electoral College, he'd need to flip tens of thousands of votes in multiple states." Barr said the Justice Department will keep looking, but the likelihood of finding huge, election-changing fraud appears to be around zero.

But Barr did something else Tuesday that could have long-term consequences. He revealed that he has made John Durham, the U.S. Attorney currently investigating the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, a special counsel. Until now, Durham had been working simply on the assignment of the attorney general. But come January 20, President Joe Biden and his Democratic appointees will control the Justice Department. How eager will they be to continue an investigation that might well reveal misconduct by the Obama-Biden law enforcement and intelligence agencies?

Appointing Durham a special counsel will make it harder for Biden to get rid of him. "The best thing to do would be to appoint them under the same regulation that covered Bob Mueller," Barr told the AP, "to provide Durham and his team some assurances that they'll be able to complete their work regardless of the outcome of the election." Although it was revealed Tuesday, Barr actually made the appointment on October 19, well before the election.


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