Connecticut US Attorney John Durham is not expected to release the findings of his review of the FBI’s Russia probe until after the Nov. 3 election — a bitter disappointment to Republicans who believe revelations in the report would galvanize support for President Trump.
Attorney General William Barr has communicated the news to Republicans on Capitol Hill, dashing hopes of a bombshell report that validates Trump’s contention he was smeared as a Russian colluder by “dirty cops” and powerful Democrats.
A Trump administration source told The Post that “if there’s a chance people can be prosecuted, we can’t put out a report before [that happens].”
The administration source said that there remains the possibility of additional prosecutions.
In August, Durham announced the first guilty plea. Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith admitted he falsified records to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
“A report is a byproduct of this investigation, not a goal,” the administration source said, paraphrasing April remarks by Barr.
A Republican Capitol Hill source familiar with developments in the probe told The Post, “I don’t even really expect a report at all.”
“Durham is focused on indictments and prosecutions. Do more indictments come before Election Day? Doubtful. But let’s hope they come before year’s end,” he said.
The Hill source said, “I don’t think Republicans are thrilled here.”
“There is also an understanding that Durham is slow walking. However, it’s going to be hard to explain all this to the base if there aren’t big indictments,” he said.
Trump in recent days blasted Cabinet members for not moving faster. On Wednesday, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe made available to the Justice Department a “foot tall binder” of documents on the Russia probe.
But the president said in a Thursday morning interview on Fox Business Network he was frustrated.
“To be honest, Bill Barr is going to go down as either the greatest attorney general in the history of the country or he’s going to go down as, you know, a very sad situation,” Trump said. “He’s got all the information he needs. They want to get more, more, more. They keep getting more. I said, ‘you don’t need any more.’”
Trump said, “These people should be indicted. This was the greatest political crime in the history of our country and that includes [former President Barack] Obama and it includes [Democratic presidential candidate Joe] Biden.”
Trump also said FBI Director Christopher Wray “has been disappointing,”
A Durham report was seen as a potentially game-changing boost for Republicans who say Trump’s administration was undercut by the years-long investigation. Last year special counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Trump often notes that the FBI used a discredited dossier financed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee to secure surveillance warrants against Trump adviser Carter Page. Last week, Ratcliffe revealed that an unproven claim that Clinton engineered the Russia scandal had been briefed to then-President Obama by his CIA director, John Brennan.
Trump allies also allege a possible role by Biden. A Jan. 4, 2017, note attributed to disgraced FBI operative Peter Strzok implicates the then-vice president in selecting the never-used Logan Act of 1799 as a rationale to keep open an investigation of Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn that the FBI was ready to close. Flynn later pleaded guilty to lying to Strzok in a case the Justice Department is seeking to dismiss, arguing there was no valid basis to interview Flynn.
A Republican close to the White House told The Post, “It’s a sad state of affairs when the very agency responsible for perpetrating these crimes is covering them up in broad daylight.”
He added: “If anyone has a problem with Biden’s answer to the SCOTUS packing question — ‘I’ll tell you after the election’ — this should enrage them. This is banana republic stuff.”
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