Sen. Lindsey Graham, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Tuesday urged acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson to “refrain from interfering” in Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation and the federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s “tax affairs” while the Senate works to confirm President Biden’s nominee to lead the Justice Department.
Graham, R-S.C., on Tuesday penned a letter to the acting attorney general, urging him to allow those two investigations to continue while the Senate moves forward with Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination.
Graham noted that throughout former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, he “rejected calls to end that investigation,” and referred to his legislation in 2017, that protected Mueller from being terminated.
“We now find the shoe on the other foot,” Graham wrote.
“We have two properly predicated, ongoing investigations Democrats would rather go away: Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation and the investigation by the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office into Hunter Biden,” Graham continued.
“I am writing to respectfully request that you refrain from interfering in any way with either investigation while the Senate processes the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the position of Attorney General,” Graham continued.
“The American public deserve the truth and must know that these investigations will continue without political interference,” Graham wrote.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hold a confirmation hearing for Garland, where he will likely face questions about how he will oversee the investigation into the president’s son. As attorney general, he would have the power to shut it down.
“It is very likely the topic is raised,” a spokesperson for Graham told Fox News.
Hunter Biden is under federal investigation for his “tax affairs,” which he confirmed in December.
A well-placed government source told Fox News that Hunter Biden is a subject/target of the grand jury investigation. According to the source, a “target” means that there is a “high probability that person committed a crime,” while a “subject” is someone you “don’t know for sure” has committed a crime.
The source said President-elect Biden is not a subject of any grand jury investigation at this time.
The source also tells Fox News that this investigation was predicated, in part, by Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) regarding suspicious foreign transactions.
Another source familiar with the investigation tells Fox News that the SARs were regarding funds from “China and other foreign nations.”
The investigation, according to a source familiar with the matter, began in 2018.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told “Fox News Sunday” in December that Biden would not discuss any investigation of Hunter Biden with anyone he was considering to be the next U.S. attorney general.
“He will not be discussing it with anyone he is considering for the role and he will not be discussing it with a future attorney general,” Psaki said. “It will be up to the purview of a future attorney general in his administration to determine how to handle any investigation.”
Meanwhile, former Attorney General Bill Barr appointed U.S. attorney from Connecticut John Durham as special counsel last year, to ensure he could continue his investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe during the Biden administration.
In the scope order, obtained by Fox News, Barr stated that Durham “is authorized to investigate whether any federal official, employee, or any other person or entity violated the law in connection with the intelligence, counter-intelligence, or law-enforcement activities directed at the 2016 presidential campaigns, individuals associated with those campaigns, and individuals associated with the administration of President Donald J. Trump, including but not limited to Crossfire Hurricane and the investigation of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III.”
Under U.S. code, the special counsel would produce a “confidential report” and is ordered to “submit to the Attorney General a final report, and such interim reports as he deems appropriate in a form that will permit public dissemination.”
Durham’s investigation has produced one criminal charge so far, against former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who was accused of altering an email related to the surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. That prosecution, though, did not allege a broader conspiracy within the FBI, and the conduct it involved had largely been laid out in a Justice Department inspector general report from last December.
Clinesmith in August pleaded guilty to making a false statement to Durham’s team. The offense carried a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Last week, Clinesmith was sentenced to 12 months probation and 400 hours of community service, and no fine.
The Justice Department relied on Clinesmith’s assertion as it submitted a third and final renewal application in 2017 to surveil Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Durham’s investigation began in May 2019, shortly after special counsel Robert Mueller completed his years-long investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Mueller’s investigation yielded no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election.
Meanwhile, Fox News first reported that Durham’s investigation is largely focused on the activities of the FBI as he reviews the origins of the Trump-Russia probe. Sources familiar with the investigation said the prosecution of high-level FBI officials, like former Director James Comey, is “unlikely.”
Sources told Fox News that the investigation is ongoing and Durham completed the CIA portion of his investigation last year — and has now shifted his focus to activities of the FBI.
One source also told Fox News that Durham had been pursuing “new and credible leads” through the end of the Trump administration, though it is unclear, at this point, what those lines of inquiry entail.
A spokesperson for the special counsel told Fox News that they had “no comment from Mr. Durham.”