Donald Trump Jr. says American people ‘deserve’ Durham probe results before election
Donald Trump Jr. on Friday said the American people “deserve” to know U.S. Attorney John Durham’s findings in his investigation into the origins of the Russia probe before they hit the voting booths, saying it would be a “disgrace, a disservice to the country, and a blight on the office” should he wait to release his results or initiate any potential prosecutions until after the 2020 presidential election.
Trump Jr., during a call with reporters on Friday, responded to a question from Fox News about its exclusive report this week, which revealed that the investigation, which was slated to wrap up at the end of the summer, could extend into the fall. The sources said Durham could “punt” any results of his investigation or prosecutorial actions until after the election, as Durham did not want his investigation to be viewed as “political.”
“The problem is, it is political,” Trump Jr. said Friday. “The Obama administration, Joe Biden’s involvement himself — they unmasked people, such as myself. They have been able to hold this issue over Donald Trump’s head for three and a half years.”
Trump Jr. said that President Trump “could be exonerated from this totally,” while noting that “those running against him were able to get away with that and hurt the efficacy of his administration by holding this nonsense over his head.”
“The American people deserve to know what happened and they deserve to know before the election,” Trump Jr. said. “The Democrats should not get the distinct benefit to hide from the things they coordinated to take down the duly elected president of the United States.”
Trump Jr. went on, saying that “if this had nothing to do with the people who were running against” Trump, he would understand punting the results.
“But you can’t have four years of hits, hit pieces, lies, outright lies by the media and the Democrats and the Adam Schiffs of the world saying they’ve seen evidence of collusion, and then say, ‘Well, we’re not going to give the results prior to the election,’” Trump Jr. said.
Trump Jr. claimed that former Special Counsel Robert Mueller “knew the results” of his investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential campaign ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
“But no, let’s hold this dark cloud over Donald Trump’s head,” Trump Jr. said.
“The Democrats have gotten 100 percent of the benefit of this sham – this disgrace – for four years,” he continued. “And if they try to hold until after the election… that’s a disgrace.”
He added: “That’s a disgrace, a disservice to this country, and a blight to that office.”
Trump Jr. said that Durham claimed to be “unbiased,” but said holding his findings would be the opposite.
“That is being partisan and a Democrat team player,” he said. “There is on other way to describe it.”
Trump Jr.’s comments to Fox News come after sources familiar with Durham’s investigation told Fox News that he was working expeditiously to try to finish his probe by the end of summer, but that several lines of investigation are not yet complete.
“He believes it’s critical to do them,” one source said. “He is feeling more pressure to get this done and wrapped up.”
The source also told Fox News that Durham “does not want this to be viewed political,” and the closer it gets to November, Durham could “punt it to after the election.”
A spokesman for Durham declined to comment on the status of the investigation.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill Barr told Fox News last month that Americans will be able to recognize “some” of the names under investigation in Durham’s probe, and that he is “very troubled” by “what has been called to” his attention so far. Among other issues, Durham is reviewing whether federal agencies abused their surveillance powers to pursue figures associated with the Trump campaign.
A source told Fox News that the “pattern of conduct” Durham is investigating includes misrepresentations made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to obtain warrants to surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page.
Last month, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – who oversaw the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller – testified that he would not have signed a FISA warrant renewal application for former Trump campaign aide Carter Page had he known about since-revealed “significant errors” in in the document.
Mueller’s investigation yielded no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election, though the question of whether Trump obstructed justice was left open in the final report.
Following Mueller’s investigation, Barr appointed Durham to then investigate the origins of the FBI’s original Russia probe, which began in July 2016, through the appointment of Mueller in May 2017.
Durham’s team includes a number of federal prosecutors, including Jeff Jensen, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri who was tapped by the DOJ in February to review the case against Michael Flynn. In May, Barr also tapped U.S. Attorney for Western Texas John Bash to launch a more focused review on the process of unmasking.
The Justice Department also revealed that Durham, himself, is investigating the unmasking of Trump campaign associates as part of his broader review. That line of investigation was confirmed after Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., made public a list of Obama officials who purportedly requested to “unmask” the identity of Michael Flynn, who at the time was Trump’s incoming national security adviser.
Unmasking occurs after U.S. citizens’ conversations are incidentally picked up in conversations with foreign officials who are being monitored by the intelligence community. The U.S. citizens’ identities are supposed to be protected if their participation is incidental and no wrongdoing is suspected. However, officials can determine the U.S. citizens’ names through a process that is supposed to safeguard their rights. In the typical process, when officials are requesting the unmasking of an American, they do not necessarily know the identity of the person in advance.
The roster featured top-ranking figures including then-Vice President Joe Biden, then-FBI Director James Comey, then-CIA Director John Brennan, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Obama’s then-chief of staff Denis McDonough.
Barr, though, has said that he does not expect Durham’s findings will lead to a “criminal investigation” of either former President Obama or former Vice President Joe Biden — noting that their concern of “potential criminality” in the conduct of that probe is “focused on others.”
Barr, earlier this year, said that “not every abuse of power, no matter how outrageous, is necessarily a federal crime.”
“As for President Obama and Vice President Biden, whatever their level of involvement based on what I know, I don’t expect Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man,” Barr said. “Our concern of potential criminality is focused on others.”
Meanwhile, sources told Fox News that Durham’s team had been doing their work out of New Haven, Conn., amid the coronavirus pandemic.