Who Is John Durham, The Man Assigned To Examine The Origins Of The Russia Investigation?

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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  • Attorney General William Barr reportedly assigned U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation.
  • President Donald Trump nominated Durham to his current position as the Connecticut U.S. attorney in 2017. 
  • He enjoys a bipartisan reputation and successful track record in investigating high-profile cases including Whitey Bulger and CIA abuse of terrorism suspects.

Attorney General William Barr reportedly assigned U.S. Attorney John H. Durham to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation, but this is not the first high-profile case Durham has undertaken.

Durham became a Justice Department lawyer in 1982 and has conducted special investigations for both the Republican and Democratic Parties, The New York Times reported Monday.

Durham went after Connecticut street gangs in 1992 and prosecuted mobsters in the Gambino, Genovese and Patriarca crime families, TIME Magazine reported. Durham was also responsible for exposing former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland’s corruption in 2004, which led to the governor spending a year in prison.

Former Attorney General Janet Reno commissioned Durham to investigate the FBI’s relationship with informant and Boston mobster Whitey Bulger in 1999. Durham’s team was responsible for indicting Bulger cronies Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi and special agent John Connolly Jr. who are portrayed in “Black Mass,” according to The Day.

Durham also investigated a case at the request of former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey in 2008 involving videotapes the CIA destroyed that depicted the torture of terrorism suspects. He further examined the CIA’s handling of detainees at the request of former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. under the Obama administration in 2009, according to The NYT.

President Donald Trump nominated Durham in 2017 to be Connecticut’s U.S. attorney. Durham received bipartisan support and the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed him in February 2018, according to New York Magazine.

“Though a registered Republican, Durham generally is regarded as apolitical,” The Washington Post reported in 2009 as Durham began to investigate the CIA.

“We are confident that Durham will continue this record of success in providing strong leadership to the office. … John Durham has earned immense respect as a no-nonsense, fierce, and fair prosecutor,” Democratic Connecticut Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy said when they recommended him to Trump, according to Heavy.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr speaks during a farewell ceremony. REUTERS/Leah Millis - RC1236236300

U.S. Attorney General William Barr speaks during a farewell ceremony. REUTERS/Leah Millis

“Colleagues say Durham is thorough and cautious in deciding whether a case deserves to be prosecuted,” a TIME Magazine article noted of Durham in 2009. “But once he fixes on a target, the veteran lawyer usually catches his prey.”

Durham is married to Susan Durham and has four sons and eight grandchildren. Two of his sons are prosecutors.

“Other than an overwhelming commitment to the cause of justice, the two great devotions of John’s life are his Catholic faith and his family,” John Durham’s longtime friend and colleague, Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Leonard C. Boyle, said in 2018, according to The Day.

Boyle also added that John Durham has “an extreme work ethic” and strong abilities to take the complicated details of a case and “weave it together into a tapestry of detail.”

John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation is the third known investigation into the 2016 election and potential Russian interference, according to The NYT. (RELATED: Russia Probe Under The Microscope? Barr Reportedly Taps US Attorney Known For Investigating Officials)

Trump and his officials have encouraged the Justice Department to appoint one person to investigate why Trump associates were spied upon, particularly after the release of the special counsel’s report.

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