On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing with Special Counsel John Durham to discuss his recently released report on the years-long, multimillion-dollar investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Trump-Russia inquiry.
During the hearing, members of the committee cited documents obtained by American Oversight that provided further evidence of the investigation’s politicized roots, including examples of Durham’s frequent contact with former Attorney General William Barr. Durham was asked about several meetings he had with Barr during his investigation, as revealed by records released through American Oversight’s Freedom of Information Act litigation.
Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee also highlighted a text message that Barr had sent to then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in June 2018 containing a memo regarding the Mueller investigation. In that memo, which was sent before his appointment as attorney general and was criticized as a potential attempt to curry favor with then-President Trump, Barr expressed concerns about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In Barr’s text, he wrote that he felt “very deeply about some of the issues taking shape in the Mueller matter.”
Jackson Lee read that text during the hearing and asked Durham how often he met with Barr in 2019. “According to now-public records, Barr scheduled at least 18 meetings or calls with [Durham] between 2019 March and October 2019,” Jackson Lee said, citing records we obtained.
Durham was also asked during the hearing about how often he and Barr texted as well as about the involvement of Seth DuCharme, then a top adviser to Barr, with committee members pointing to several examples of texts and emails obtained by American Oversight.
American Oversight recently published newly unredacted versions of records from the Durham investigation that show DuCharme was closely involved in the investigation and often attended meetings with Durham and Barr.
Rep. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania asked Durham about an email we obtained from the early days of the investigation in which DuCharme offered assistance on behalf of Barr. “The AG … asked me to provide you with my support and assistance,” DuCharme wrote in early April 2019. “I feel very lucky to be working with you.”
Dean also cited records we obtained that show Durham had met with Barr on March 25, 2019 — just three days after the Mueller report was submitted to Barr. That point was also raised by Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, who said, “While we on this committee were fighting to get access to the Mueller Report, Mr. Durham was already working on an investigation to undercut its central findings.”
In May, American Oversight received indication that the Justice Department would drop a key objection to the release of more than 4,500 pages of documents related to the Durham investigation in a FOIA lawsuit we filed in 2019.
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