Matthew Miller, former department of public affairs director under President Barack Obama, believes Special Counsel John Durham having the "final word" on whether FBI misconduct took place could "tarnish" its reputation, the Conservative Brief reported. Instead, Miller believes the report should be filtered through an official like Attorney General Merrick Garland.
The investigation into the origins of the Russia collusion hoax against former President Donald Trump is ongoing. However, the former White House official wants to put the brakes on releasing the findings.
It's unclear what Durham will ultimately conclude in his final report. Still, Miller is already suggesting any forthcoming report could "tarnish" the bureau's reputation and thus should be carefully scrutinized before public release.
Durham was charged with examining the circumstances of the investigation into Trump that began in 2016. However, the lack of substantive prosecutions has fueled accusations that Durham flubbed the investigation that some on the left contend had no merit in the first place.
The probe secured only one conviction against an FBI employee who tampered with an email, Axios reported. A jury acquitted Michael Sussmann, an attorney for Hillary Clinton's campaign who failed to disclose that business relationship when he presented the FBI with supposed evidence against Trump.
“His cases are over," Miller said of Durham. "I think it’s clear that he’s not going to bring any more charges in this investigation, but one of the requirements for special counsels under the regulations is that they write a confidential report and submit it to the attorney general, and the attorney general then makes a decision whether to release that report to the public," he added.
"I think Merrick Garland will be under a lot of pressure from Republicans to release that report, but I have to say, this circumstance is very different from the Mueller investigation, where, obviously, the attorney general, Bill Barr, did release that report," Miller continued. The Robert Mueller investigation into the link between Trump's campaign and Russia came up empty, much to the chagrin of Democrats.
"It’s different because in that case, the subject of that investigation could not be charged, and so it was appropriate for the department to make its findings public, so Congress could decide whether to impeach and convict the then-sitting president," Miller said of the case against Trump. "That is not the case here, so to release a report in this instance...and let him have the final word, I think, probably unfairly tarnish some people at the FBI that we know he holds ill will to based on some of the things he said in this most recent trial," he added.
"But it does not have to be the last word," Miller said. "Lots of times in the past — there’s ample precedent for this — when reports like this have been written by the Justice Department, the leadership decides whether that actually reflects their view."
Miller added that Durham "does not get to be the final arbiter of what the Justice Department believes," and that the attorney general or a "senior career official" should review any report first. Despite all of this speculation and protestation, it's still unclear when Durham will end his probe and what his findings will be.
Regardless of what the Durham probe turns up, other indications of possible politicization within the FBI persist. Several FBI whistleblowers say they have had their clearances revoked in retaliation, while others contend that conservatives within the bureau are being "purged," Fox News reported.
Democrats pounced on anything that tarnished Trump's reputation. However, there is a double standard when real questions arise about the people investigating him.