Angered by the lack of criminal prosecutions against his political enemies, President Donald Trump wants to use the fruits of a U.S. attorney’s investigation of the intelligence community for his 2020 reelection campaign, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham, at Attorney General Bill Barr’s direction, has for months “investigated the investigators” and sought to dig up details about the origins of the probe of Russian election meddling circa 2016. On Thursday, The New York Times reported that it appeared Durham had zeroed in on Obama-era intelligence analysts.
Trump wants to use Durham’s findings as a cudgel in his 2020 reelection campaign, the Post reported, citing unnamed people familiar with discussions of the matter.
The same sources said Trump became insistent that Durham finish his work quickly in light of the failure of another U.S. attorney, John Huber of Utah, to turn up information on Hillary Clinton in Huber’s vague “review” of the former secretary of state.
Huber ended his probe of various Clinton-related stories without much to show for his work, the Post reported in January.
Trump was enraged by Huber’s fruitless review, and by prosecutors’ initial recommendation that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn serve prison time, the Post reported citing unnamed sources. (Prosecutors, in a subsequent filing, said probation would be a reasonable sentence for Flynn.)
Another frustration for Trump: the continued lack of criminal charges against former FBI Director James Comey. The Justice Department’s inspector general referred Comey to prosecutors for potential criminal charges for leaking memos that documented his conversations with Trump. But in August, several reports indicated prosecutors concluded that charges weren’t appropriate for Comey.
“Can you [expletive] believe they didn’t charge him?” Trump said at the time, per the Post, which citing unnamed people briefed on Trump’s comments. Trump also wants charges against former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, who an inspector general’s probe found misled investigators about a leak to the media. McCabe has never been charged with a crime.
According to the Post’s sources, Trump believes it to be unacceptable that neither Comey nor McCabe has been charged criminally.