Attorney William Barr said that special counsel John Durham was "making good progress," on the ongoing investigation into the FBI's Trump-Russia probe. His announcement on Monday comes days before Barr will step down from his position as Attorney General on December 23.
He said that Durham would bring the investigation to its proper conclusion.
"Before the election, as you know, I designated John Durham as special counsel because I wanted to provide him and his team with assurance that they’d be able to finish their work," Barr said "They’re making good progress now and I expect they will be able to finish their work."
Durham is leading an investigation of an investigation. According to reports from Fox News, he has hired more investigators to the case and narrowed his search to Hurricane Crossfire, a portion of the 2016 investigation against a newly formed Trump administration.
The current investigation, which was announced as a criminal probe earlier this month, takes a closer look at the conduct—and the possible misconduct—of the FBI during their inquiry of alleged Russian collusion at the outset of Trump's presidency.
The Department of Justice charged Durham "to investigate whether any federal official, employee or any person or entity violated the law in connection with the intelligence, counter-intelligence or law enforcement activities."
Barr originally assigned Durham to the investigation back in October, appointing him a "special counsel," like he did with Robert Mueller in the original Russia investigation. But not every government investigator receives the position of special counsel—it's a designation that indicates the most stringent and sensitive of circumstances.
Unlike most positions in government, special counsel appointees cannot be easily fired and require specific charges in order to be discharged of their duties. The US attorney general may only dismiss a special counsel in instances like misconduct, conflict of interest, or abandonment of duties.
Durham's investigation will survive into a Biden Administration and past the tenure of Barr as Attorney General.