Former CIA Director John Brennan appears to have dodged prosecution in U.S. Attorney John Durham’s criminal inquiry into the Russia investigation.
After NBC News reported Thursday that Brennan agreed to do an interview with Durham, signaling that his investigation is nearing its end, a lawyer familiar with the situation told NPR that the Obama-era CIA director has been told he is not a target of prosecutors. Instead, this source said, the interview will mainly consist of technical questions.
The news is sure to disappoint some of President Trump’s most ardent supporters who believe Brennan and other top officials in the Obama administration sought to sabotage Trump’s candidacy in 2016 and later his presidency.
Still, while Brennan may escape an indictment, he may yet be harshly criticized in a report. Attorney General William Barr said he expects “developments” from Durham’s inquiry by the end of the summer.
“It’s hard to prove criminal intent at their level, and unless there’s a smoking gun, like an email or text, they’ll probably get off with a damning report about their activities,” former Assistant FBI Director Chris Swecker, who claims to know Durham personally, told RealClearInvestigations in reference to Brennan and other top intelligence community and law enforcement officials from the Obama administration.
Durham has reportedly scrutinized Brennan’s emails, call logs, and other records from the CIA as his team looked into the 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian election interference, whether there was an effort to hide information from other agencies, British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s flawed anti-Trump dossier, and other issues.
Democrats, some Justice Department veterans, and legal experts have raised concerns about the public release of Durham’s findings or indictments less than 90 days from the election. Under questioning last week by Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a Florida Democrat, Barr refused to commit under oath to not releasing a report before the November contest and pledged it would not “disrupt” the election.
Timing is also a mounting concern for the president’s allies who fear the federal prosecutor’s work will get buried should former Vice President Joe Biden defeat Trump.
Brennan, who has traded barbs with Trump over the past couple years, found out he had been blocked from accessing his classified notes and records while working on his forthcoming memoir.