The Durham report has been released, and it begins with Special Counsel John Durham explaining why his report is a flop.
Conducting this investigation required us to consider U.S. criminal laws, the
Constitutional protections our system provides to individuals and the high burden placed on the government to prove every element of a crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Moreover, the law does not always make a person’s bad judgment, even horribly bad judgment, standing alone, a crime. Nor does the law criminalize all unseemly or unethical conduct that political campaigns might undertake for tactical advantage, absent a violation of a particular federal criminal statute.
Finally, in almost all cases, the government is required to prove a person’s actual criminal intent not mere negligence or recklessness- before that person’s fellow citizens can lawfully find him or her guilty of a crime. The Office’s adherence to these principles explains, in numerous instances, why conduct deserving of censure or disciplinary action did not lead the Office to seek criminal charges.
There are also reasons why, in examining politically-charged and high-profile issues such as these, the Office must exercise – and has exercised – special care. First, juries can bring strongly held views to the courtroom in criminal trials involving political subject matters, and those views can, in turn, affect the likelihood of obtaining a conviction, separate and apart from the strength ofthe actual evidence and despite a court’s best efforts to empanel a fair and
impartial jury. Second, even when prosecutors believe that they can obtain a conviction, there are some instances in which it may not be advisable to expend government time and resources on a criminal prosecution, particularly where it would create the appearance – even if unfounded – that the government is seeking to criminalize the behavior of political opponents or punish the activities of a specific political party or campaign. At the same time, prosecutors should not shy away from pursuing justifiable cases solely due to the popularity of the defendant or the controversial nature of the government’s case.
The Durham report reads like a conspiracy theory. There are a ton of moral judgments about things Durham thinks the FBI should have done or might have done, but the big bottom line is that Durham didn’t find anything criminal.
Trump was hoping that the Durham report would find that he was the victim of some vast conspiracy by the intelligence community, but there was no evidence of any wrongdoing by the FBI in investigating the former president.
The report is an opinion that Republicans will pounce on, but it failed to deliver anything that Trump and the GOP promised.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association
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