Though the spring of 2019 marked the official start of Durham’s investigation, it was clear Barr tapped him for the role months sooner. But almost from the start, Durham’s investigation ran up on the shoals of hard truth. Despite Barr escorting him around the world in an effort to find something that could be turned into evidence behind Trump’s claims, it turned out that allied intelligence services refused to play along. It Italy, Australia, and the U.K., attempts to “prove” that Trump was somehow ensnared into making over 100 contacts with Russian agents were slapped away by officials unwilling to play along.
That was a setback. However, Durham only expanded his scope to look beyond current officials and those directly involved in decisions that led to Trump’s investigation. In fact, he appeared to be digging into unrelated events as an excuse to go after former officials under President Obama.
Still, despite unlimited assistance, Barr’s personal attention, and Trump cheering on the sidelines, Durham’s report never seemed to appear. At first, it seemed as if he intended to have something ready to blow up media attention on Trump’s first impeachment trial. That didn’t happen.
Then all through the summer, Barr hinted that the report was right around the corner. Except it wasn’t.
At the start of September, it seemed that Barr and Durham were still planning a genuine “October surprise.” But then Durham’s longtime assistant left the investigation in mid-September, with language that made it seem as if there was nothing there. Durham soon had his remaining staff looking at the Clinton Foundation for absolutely unspecified reasons because … why not? However, as actual October arrived, it seemed the real surprise was going to be on Trump.
Because there was no Durham report. The single charge levied back in August began to look like the only bullet in Durham’s pop gun.
Unless there is still some serious information, and more charges, not only is Durham leaving after a fruitless quest into unwarranted claims, this will also mean that Barr repeatedly and seriously overstated the significance of what Durham had uncovered. This is an investigation that was repeatedly put forward as if it had unearthed significant evidence in support of the idea that Trump was unfairly targeted, or that the Mueller investigation took partisan actions. None of that evidence has appeared.
Durham may be resigning, but this might not be the last time he visits the Department of Justice.