Why did John Durham resign? Ex-AG Bill Barr's appointee to look into Russia probe slammed: 'So he did nothing?'

Durham will retire as US Attorney of Connecticut but stay on as special counsel to probe the start of Robert Mueller's investigation into former president Donald Trump's alleged ties with Russia

Why did John Durham resign? Ex-AG Bill Barr's appointee to look into Russia probe slammed: 'So he did nothing?'
John Durham (R), who had been appointed as special counsel by former AG William Barr (Getty Images), has resigned (United States Department of Justice)
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The US Attorney for the District of Connecticut, John Durham, has announced his resignation from the role effective Sunday, February 28, midnight. The announcement was made by the Justice Department late on Friday, February 26. First Assistant US Attorney Leonard C Boyle will serve as Acting US Attorney for the district the department said. However, Durham will stay on as special counsel to investigate the start of Robert Mueller's investigation into former president Donald Trump's alleged ties with Russia.

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Associated Press reporter Mike Balasno noted that the US Justice Department website has been updated to reflect that Durham will now be based in Washington DC.  The announcement does not come as a shock, as Durham was widely expected to leave the office after Joe Biden became president. A Trump appointee, Durham is just one of the many US attorneys being replaced by the new administration.

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Durham has been a federal prosecutor in Connecticut for more than 38 years, according to the statement released. Durham said, "It has been a tremendous honor to serve as U.S. Attorney, and as a career prosecutor before that, and I will sorely miss it." 

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John Durham (United States Department of Justice)

Garland says 'no reason' for Durham to stay

Merrick Garland, Biden's pick for Attorney General (AG) said there was no reason for Durham to stay at his confirmation hearings. Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa pressed Garland on the matter at a hearing on Monday, February 22. "Will you commit to providing Special Counsel Durham with staff, resources and funds needed to thoroughly complete his investigation?" Grassley asked. Garland responded by saying, "I don’t have any reason, from what I know now, which is really very little, to make any determination on that ground... But I have no reason to think he should not remain in place."

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Durham was assigned by Bill Barr, the AG under Trump to look into how Muller's probe into Trump's ties with Russia began. Trump believed that the Muller investigation was nothing more than a smear campaign since it resulted in convictions for some of his closest allies -  Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and George Papadopoulos. Barr appointed Durham to look into the case, which has so far come up short. Kevin Klinesmith, a former FBI lawyer is so far the only person convicted in the case. The order appointing Durham as a special counsel allows him to investigate whether any federal official or employee broke the law in connection with the investigation into the 2016 presidential campaigns and people associated with the Trump administration. It also specifies that Durham will submit a final report to the attorney general “in a form that will permit public dissemination.”

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Along with Durham, David C Weiss the US Attorney in Delaware is the only other Trump-era AG expected to stay on in federal employment. Weiss is currently heading an investigation into the president's son, Hunter Biden's taxes. It is routine for a new federal government to appoint US Attorneys, but many Twitter users wonder if it means the 'Durham investigation' is now dead.

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Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Getty Images)

Twitter says 'what a sham'

Reacting to the news, Twitter was divided over the news of Durham's retirement. "So he did nothing? No report? No indictments? What a sham" one user tweeted. Another user said, "DURHAM GAVE US, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, NOTHING FOR OUR TAX DOLLARS. We deserve more!!! Where is the report??"

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Another user attacked the Trump DoJ, saying "Durham, Barr and the Supreme Court all turned their backs on America and The People. All left the Patriots high and dry. That is the reason. They are bought and paid and evil."

It was clear that not everyone was happy with the news. One user tweeted "I'm absolutely LIVID about this BS! All these agencies are completely compromised and useless. No justice for the right!"

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With Durham still staying on as Special Counsel, it is possible that his investigation could turn up something more in the coming months. But so far it has failed to find a link of 'deep state conspiracies' as Trump put it

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