U.S. Attorney John Durham Announces His Departure from Office, No Details of Special Counsel Role Continuing

An announcement today from the U.S. District of Connecticut John Durham is a little perplexing.  According to the announcement USAO John Durham is resigning from office effective February 28.   However, there is no information about his prior appointment as special counsel to review the DOJ and FBI conduct in the Trump investigation.

Here’s the announcement:

After serving as the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut for more than three years, and as a federal prosecutor in Connecticut for more than 38 years, John H. Durham today announced his resignation from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, effective at midnight on February 28.

“My career has been as fulfilling as I could ever have imagined when I graduated from law school way back in 1975,” said U.S. Attorney Durham.  “Much of that fulfillment has come from all the people with whom I’ve been blessed to share this workplace, and in our partner law enforcement agencies.  My love and respect for this Office and the vitally important work done here have never diminished.  It has been a tremendous honor to serve as U.S. Attorney, and as a career prosecutor before that, and I will sorely miss it.”

Prior to his appointment as an interim U.S. Attorney in November 2017 and subsequently as the presidentially appointed U.S. Attorney in February 2018, Mr. Durham served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in various positions in the District of Connecticut for 35 years, prosecuting complex organized crime, violent crime, public corruption and financial fraud matters.  From 1978 to 1982, he served as an Assistant State’s Attorney in the New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office, and from 1977 to 1978, he served as a Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Leonard C Boyle will serve as Acting U.S. Attorney upon Mr. Durham’s departure.

“The Office will be in the extraordinarily capable hands of Len and our superb supervisory team who, together, guarantee that the proper administration of justice will continue uninterrupted in our District.”

Mr. Boyle has served as First Assistant U.S. Attorney since June 2018, when he returned to the U.S. Attorney’s Office after serving as Deputy Chief State’s Attorney in Connecticut for approximately nine years.  He previously served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office from 1986 to 1998, and from 1999 to 2004.

Mr. Boyle is the 53rd U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, an office that was established in 1789.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is charged with enforcing federal criminal laws in Connecticut and representing the federal government in civil litigation.  The Office is composed of approximately 68 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and approximately 54 staff members at offices in New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport.  (LINK)

Former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr appointed John Durham as a special counsel on October 19, 2020, and did not tell anyone until after the November election. [LINK]

On December 1, 2020, the Attorney General notified congress in a letter:

However, here’s the issue… under DOJ regulations [28 cfr 600]  a special counsel must come from “outside government“; so did John Durham resign his position prior to the appointment, or has Bill Barr just given the appearance of a special counsel appointment while knowing the legal validity of it will collapse upon challenge?

§ 600.3 Qualifications of the Special Counsel.

“(a) An individual named as Special Counsel shall be a lawyer with a reputation for integrity and impartial decisionmaking, and with appropriate experience to ensure both that the investigation will be conducted ably, expeditiously and thoroughly, and that investigative and prosecutorial decisions will be supported by an informed understanding of the criminal law and Department of Justice policies. The Special Counsel shall be selected from outside the United States Government. Special Counsels shall agree that their responsibilities as Special Counsel shall take first precedence in their professional lives, and that it may be necessary to devote their full time to the investigation, depending on its complexity and the stage of the investigation.” (link)

Obviously Bill Barr is not stupid, he would know the regulations he cites would require the special counsel to come from “outside the U.S. government”, so what gives?

Did Durham resign to fulfill the statutory requirements of the special counsel?  Was everything prior to now just the review and investigative phase, and now that decisions must be made Durham needs to be “outside the United States Government”?

Or is this all just an optical pantomime and the entire Durham investigation is concluded with nothing coming from it?

The appointment:

Source

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