It took less than 10 hours for a jury in Special Counsel John Durham's case against Steele dossier informant Igor Danchenko to acquit him of all charges, in a final failure of the entire case against the "Russia hoax".
A jury on Tuesday found Igor Danchenko — a private researcher who was a primary source for a 2016 dossier of allegations about former president Donald Trump’s ties to Russia — not guilty of lying to the FBI about where he got his information.
The verdict in federal court in Alexandria, Va., is another blow for special counsel John Durham, who has now lost both cases that have gone to trial as part of his nearly 3½-year investigation. Durham, who was asked by Attorney General William P. Barr in 2019 to review the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign in 2016, is sure to face renewed pressure to wrap up his work following the verdict.
Trump predicted Durham would uncover “the crime of the century” inside the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies that investigated his campaign’s links to Russia. But so far, no one charged by the special counsel has gone to prison, and only one government employee has pleaded guilty to a criminal offense. In both trials this year, Durham argued that people deceived FBI agents, not that investigators corruptly targeted Trump.
The jury in Danchenko’s case deliberated for about nine hours over two days. Juror Joel Greene said in an interview that there were no holdouts in the deliberations and that the decision was “pretty unanimous.”
“We looked at everything really closely,” said Greene, who declined to comment on the politics of the case. “The conclusion we reached was the conclusion we all were able to reach.”
Durham, a longtime federal prosecutor who was U.S. attorney in Connecticut during the Trump administration, personally argued much of the government’s case against Danchenko. The special counsel alleged that Danchenko misled the FBI officials asking in 2017 about his sources, after the agency determined the researcher was the unnamed person behind some of the most explosive allegations about Trump in reports compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.
The trial could be Durham’s last. A grand jury that the special counsel had been using in Alexandria is now inactive, people familiar with the matter have told The Washington Post, though the status of a similar panel in D.C. was not immediately clear. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment when asked whether Durham would continue as special counsel in the wake of the Danchenko acquittal.
Barr, reached by phone Tuesday afternoon after the jury announced its verdict, declined to comment. In a statement released by the Justice Department after the verdict, Durham said, “While we are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the jury’s decision and thank them for their service. I also want to recognize and thank the investigators and the prosecution team for their dedicated efforts in seeking truth and justice in this case.”
A representative for Trump could not immediately be reached for comment.
And with that, given four years and endless resources, Durham couldn't find a damn thing. The fabled conspiracy to get Trump was just that, a conspiracy. Meanwhile, Trump now faces multiple cases in multiple jurisdictions and at least one of them will nail him to the wall for good.
This was all Bill Barr's idiocy, a convenient smokescreen that petered out because it was bullshit all along. Unlike the Mueller probe, Durham's bag of turds dropped off the Empire State Building landed with a splat and no convictions.
It should be the end of his career. Of course like Barr, Durham will be fine, having done his job in damaging American democracy for years to come.