Congressional Democrats weren’t happy to learn Tuesday that Attorney General William Barr appointed John Durham as a special counsel in October to continue investigating the origins of the now thoroughly discredited Trump-Russia “collusion” probe into the 2016 presidential election.
Barr has extended the protection of Justice Department regulations to Durham. These regulations will make it difficult for a new attorney general in a Biden administration (assuming President Donald Trump’s legal challenges to the election don’t succeed) to do what Democrats, such as Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., have made clear they would want him to do; namely, fire Durham and end the investigation.
The fondest wish of Democrats in Congress is apparently to ensure that no officials in the FBI or the Obama Justice Department are punished for their misconduct and misuse of their authority for instigating an unjustified, partisan investigation of false allegations that Russia worked with the Trump campaign to help Trump be elected president in 2016.
As the politically appointed U.S. attorney for Connecticut, Durham serves—like all political appointees—at the pleasure of the president. Thus, assuming Biden becomes president, he could fire Durham the moment he takes office, ending Durham’s investigation. In fact, President Bill Clinton initiated such a mass firing in March 1993, removing all 93 U.S. attorneys two months after becoming president.
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But the Justice Department has a special set of regulations governing the appointment of special counsels, starting at 28 CFR § 600.1. That states that a special counsel is appointed as a “confidential employee” of the Justice Department. As a special counsel, Durham can “request the assignment of appropriate Department employees” as well as “additional personnel” as needed “from outside the Department.”
In other words, Durham can get whatever staff he needs from the Justice Department to continue what he has been doing since 2019 as a U.S. attorney—probing who was involved in investigating the Trump campaign over the false claim that campaign officials were colluding with Russia four years ago.
Or as the order obtained by Fox News states, Durham now has the power “to investigate whether any federal official, employee, or any other person or entity violated the law in connection with the intelligence, counter-intelligence, or law-enforcement activities directed at the 2016 presidential campaign, individuals associated with those campaigns, and individuals associated with the administration of President Donald J. Trump.”
Durham’s appointment takes him out from under the direct supervision of the attorney general, including a new attorney general who might want to sideline or marginalize his investigation.
The regulations state that the special counsel has “the full power and independent authority to exercise all investigative and prosecutorial functions of any United States Attorney” and “shall determine whether and to what extent to inform or consult with the Attorney General … about the conduct of his or her duties and responsibilities.”
Moreover, the special counsel is not “subject to the day-to-day supervision of any official of the Department.”
The special counsel is required to provide the attorney general with a “confidential report” at the end of his work “explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.”
The attorney general can also request that the special counsel “provide an explanation for any investigative or prosecutorial” action and may order that action “not be pursued” if the attorney general concludes that it is “inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices.”
So, if some former Obama administration official complains to a Biden White House or a Biden attorney general that he is being investigated, subpoenaed, or interviewed, Durham can’t be told by the attorney general to stop what he is doing unless it is “inappropriate or unwarranted.”
If the attorney general takes such action to squash something the special counsel wants to do, he is required under the regulation to “notify Congress.”
Durham has the ability to propose a budget, and the Justice Department is directed to provide him with “all appropriate resources.” Special counsel Robert Mueller spent nearly $32 million in “appropriate resources” over two years and had a very large staff.
Most importantly, and probably the key reason why the Durham appointment was made, is that under the Justice Department regulations, Durham can only be removed from office by “the personal action of the Attorney General.”
In addition, the attorney general—whoever he or she might be—will only be able to remove Durham for “misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause.” In other words, Durham can’t be removed just because a Biden administration thinks Durham’s investigation is politically embarrassing for Joe Biden’s friends, allies, and supporters at risk of prosecution.
The constitutional argument can be made that any president can fire a special counsel, regardless of any Justice Department regulations. As the Supreme Court said in 1926 in Myers v. U.S., the president’s authority under Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution to appoint officers of the executive branch necessarily carries with it the authority to remove such officers (with certain exceptions, such as federal judges).
Would a President Joe Biden fire Durham so he can’t complete his investigation into the Russia collusion hoax? Maybe, but Barr has made it more difficult for Biden to do so, especially from a political and public relations point of view.
This column originally appeared at Foxnews.com.
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Source: Daily Signal : Naming Durham as Special Counsel Will Make It Harder for Biden to End Russia Hoax Probe
FBI Knew Russia Collusion Story Was Bogus
Senator Lindsey Graham, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has released several hundred more documents from his committee’s investigation into the origins of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign for president. Included in the document dump was the transcript of closed testimony given last June by former Justice Department official Dana J. Boente.
Boente was acting deputy attorney general in charge of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation for several months in 2017 and told the committee that he was briefed on the program at least six times.
“I felt that it was important to know something about it,” said Mr. Boente, according to a transcript. “I don’t know if and when I was told that. I think — I recall being told at some point, maybe not February, between February and April, because thankfully my involvement ended in April, that there was no evidence of collusion with the Trump campaign.”
The FBI not only didn’t shut down the probe, they expanded it.
During this time, the FBI also won a judge’s approval for continued wiretapping of campaign volunteer Carter Page. The FBI’s affidavit was based almost exclusively on evidence provided by a Democratic Party-financed dossier prepared by ex-British spy Christopher Steele and sourced to the Kremlin.
The FBI learned in January that Mr. Steele’s main source, Russian-born Igor Danchenko, had told agents his information was unconfirmed hearsay. But the FBI continued to rely on the dossier.
Graham was obviously upset when he spoke of what was in the transcripts.
In a statement, Graham said: “I believe that Crossfire Hurricane was one of the most incompetent and corrupt investigations in the history of the FBI and DOJ.”
The senator added the committee had released “as much material as possible” – but said some material had been withheld as it was still “classified”.
Graham slammed the leadership of the FBI under James Comey and Andrew McCabe, saying it was either “grossly incompetent” or they “knowingly allowed tremendous misdeeds”.
Why didn’t the FBI and Justice drop a bogus investigation into a sitting president of the United States? Graham said: “The only logical explanation is that the investigators wanted an outcome because of their bias.”
But the FBI would never let their biases interfere with their professional judgment, right?
Author: Rick Moran
Biden Signing Exec. Orders, Travel Ban, Paris Agreement
Big changes are only days away
President-elect Joe Biden will sign about a dozen executive orders on his first day in the White House, reversing several key policies enacted by the Trump administration.
Biden’s transition team revealed on Saturday that the incoming administration would sign executive orders regarding climate change, immigration, student loans, and the coronavirus pandemic.
Incoming Biden chief of staff Ron Klain sent a memo to his staff on Saturday, outlining a 10-day plan of action. Included in the memo to the new White House staff, the Biden administration declared it would address “four overlapping and compounding crises: the Covid-19 crisis, the resulting economic crisis, the climate crisis, and a racial equity crisis.”
“All of these crises demand urgent action,” Klain wrote. “In his first 10 days in office, President-elect Biden will take decisive action to address these four crises, prevent other urgent and irreversible harms, and restore America’s place in the world.”
Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday when he will reportedly sign a number of executive orders. On day one, Biden will allegedly sign executive orders to return the United States to the Paris agreement on climate change, which President Donald Trump withdrew from in June 2017.
“The bottom line is that the Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States,” Trump said at the time of the withdrawal, adding that it provided China and India a competitive advantage.
The incoming administration will also rescind Trump’s controversial travel ban of nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, and certain government officials from Venezuela.
Biden will reportedly introduce a “groundbreaking legislative package” addressing immigration reform, and provide a pathway to citizenship to the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States.
The Biden administration will allegedly sign executive actions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic that will “change the course of the COVID-19 crisis and safely re-open schools and businesses.”
Biden will purportedly introduce the “100 Day Masking Challenge,” which will implement face mask mandates on federal property and for interstate travel.
The president-elect will reportedly extend the pause on repayment of and interest on student loans, and continue restrictions on nationwide evictions and foreclosures.
“Between Jan. 25 and Feb. 1, Biden will sign more executive actions, memoranda and issues additional Cabinet directives, including ones addressing equity and support in communities of color and underserved communities, and criminal justice system reforms,” USA Today reported.
Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, and the swearing-in of the 46th president of the United States will feature an unprecedented security presence of up to 25,000 troops. The largest security force at an inauguration in U.S. history stems from the storming of the Capitol building on Jan. 6, and the subsequent threats of violence thereafter.
Author: Paul Sacca
Trump Plans Unprecedented Military Farewell Event With 21-Gun Salute, Military Band
Trump plans to leave town early so he can use call sign “Air Force One” on trip home
President Trump wants to go out in style.
Trump, who has announced he will skip Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president and plans to leave Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning, is reportedly planning an unprecedented farewell event at Joint Base Andrews, an Air Force base in Maryland where Air Force One is hangared.
“Officials are considering an elaborate send-off event reminiscent of the receptions he’s received during state visits abroad, complete with a red carpet, color guard, military band and even a 21-gun salute, according to a person familiar with the planning who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement,” The Associated Press reported.
Leaving while he is still president will allow Trump to use the presidential plane and use the call sign “Air Force One” for his flight to Palm Beach, Florida. If Trump were to leave Washington after Biden was sworn in, he would have to ask Biden for permission to use the plane for his trip home.
“Trump told people he did not like the idea of departing Washington for a final time as an ex-president, flying aboard an airplane no longer known as Air Force One,” CNN reported. “He also did not particularly like the thought of requesting the use of the plane from Biden, according to a person familiar with the matter.”
“Final plans for Trump’s departure were still being laid a week ahead of time, but Trump has expressed interest to some in a military-style sendoff and a crowd of supporters, according to a person with whom he has discussed the matter,” CNN reported. “Whether that occurs at the White House, Joint Base Andrews or his final destination — Palm Beach International Airport — wasn’t clear. Trump is expected to be ensconced in his Mar-a-Lago club or his nearby golf course by noon on Inauguration Day, when his term officially ends.”
But Defense One, a military website, said the Pentagon will offer no farewell ceremony for Trump.
“The Pentagon, in a break with recent tradition, will not host an Armed Forces Farewell tribute to President Donald Trump,” Executive Editor Kevin Baron wrote in a commentary piece.
“It’s a shame, but not a surprise. Trump will leave office in disgrace, one week after the House voted a second time for his impeachment, two weeks after his supporters staged a deadly siege in the Capitol Building, six months after he dragged his Joint Chiefs chairman into a political firestorm, and after four years of nonstop assaults on truth. One of those disgraces is how he is ghosting the U.S. troops that he commanded,” Baron wrote.
The city is locked down after the violent riot that broke out at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Thousands of National Guard soldiers are in town to make sure violence doesn’t spark again.
Biden’s inaugural parade has been canceled to limit crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers announced the decision earlier this month, saying that a “virtual parade across America” will be held instead.
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- FBI Knew Russia Collusion Story Was Bogus
- Biden Signing Exec. Orders, Travel Ban, Paris Agreement
- Trump Plans Unprecedented Military Farewell Event With 21-Gun Salute, Military Band
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