Saturday, September 12, 2020

What Role Did Nora Dannehy Play On Team Durham?

Shipwreckedcrew has an excellent new article up that speculates on the role that Nora Dannehy may have played on John Durham's investigative team: Speculation on Reasons Behind Why Durham’s Chief Deputy Resigned — Requires Inside Knowledge.

SWC starts by cautioning about what we pointed out yesterday: None of the press speculation is based on inside knowledge. That lack of knowledge is explicitly noted in the original Hartford Courant article. Therefore, says SWC, speculation that Dannehy was unhappy with supposed politicization of the investigation by AG Barr most likely reflects the biases and hopes of the MSM. I would add that the fact that that theme was immediately picked up by Andrew Weissmann is, itself, reason for caution.

Yesterday we picked up some of the material that SWC put out on his twitter thread, which drew on Dannehy's professional bio, and the likelihood that her prosecutorial days were likely in the past. That in no way is intended to denigrate her skills. It's simply the case that, having been closely involved in a number of complex and politically sensitive investigations of government personnel, Dannehy in more recent years has moved into more managerial roles.

SWC basically speculates that it was precisely Dannehy's familiarity with case management from a prosecutorial standpoint that made Dannehy an attractive addition to Team Durham.

The particular reason this was important had to do with the fact that Team Durham was going over ground from a criminal investigative standpoint that had already been covered by Michael Horowitz's OIG. By now, most readers should be familiar with the general concept that OIG investigations are basically internal investigation and are therefore more circumscribed, both in jurisdiction as well as investigative methods, than are FBI/DoJ criminal investigations. For example, OIG, while it has enormous power to acquire DoJ records, lacks grand jury and, therefore, subpoena powers. It also cannot compel the testimony of persons who do not or who no longer work for DoJ.

This last point is where SWC begins his speculation on Dannehy's role. One problem for DoJ when it steps into OIG's investigative shoes is that OIG is able to compel employees to answer OIG's questions, on pain of dismissal. That may be fine for some OIG's purposes, if only disciplinary action is contemplated, but when it comes to a criminal investigation it's a violation of the subject's constitutional right against self incrimination. Therefore, if DoJ attempts to take over OIG's investigative results and move forward on its own, using OIG's information, DoJ will need to "filter" the OIG material to avoid using information that is "tainted"--for purposes of prosecution--by the self incrimination problem. Thus, failure to thoroughly filter inherited OIG interviews to insure that no use is made of information that derived from compelled OIG interviews could end up seriously jeopardizing prosecutions down the road.

In a 'sprawling' investigation like this one, proper coordination of the filtering process is especially important, since one fact may lead in multiple directions. SWC speculates that it was this important filtering role that Dannehy coordinated for Team Durham. The fact that Dannehy has now stepped down may be a signal that all, or almost all, interviewing has been completed or that Durham doesn't foresee a further need for this "filtering" process. Therefore, Dannehy was free to step down, having completed her role.

For a deeper dive, follow the link.


  1. The reason for this speculation is due to the lack of leaks, a hall mark of Mueller’s special counsel and of the entire mess itself including impeachment.

    That in and of itself should be a positive. She did her job and it appears without bias.

    - TexasDude

    1. "She did her job and it appears without bias."
      So far.
      Wait 'til Sparklefarts' aides start to really show desperation.
      They'll get her social circle to turn up the screws, higher than she ever imagined, at least until election day.

  2. They should rename Washington D. C. "Filtertown".

  3. Ughhh....just watched the first half of Meet the Press through the Strzok interview. Chuck Todd is such a partisan hack. The press could use a Tim Russert like never before (true, a liberal's liberal, but capable of fair questioning of both sides).

    It is amazing that people who do not follow politics, who casually turn into this propaganda, still support Trump as much as they do. Imagine if we had a fair press?

    Now that hack from the Atlantic is on...time to turn off the TV and go to the gym for some more productive time.

  4. I meant to add to my comment about watching Strzok on Meet the Press that clearly Strzok is in full court press mode to re-sell the Russia conspiracy story. Adam Schiff has his new whistleblowers. The message is clear--if there is no criminal accountability, the perpetrators will do a victory lap and double down on their behavior.

    I know Barr cares a lot about the DOJ and the rule of law. He is getting a good look at how the world will look if he fails to met out accountability. I'm guessing he doesn't need this reminder, but it seems like all the bad actors are just primed to rub it in if he fails.

    I hope SWC's interpretation of the departure of his assistant and her function on the team is accurate.

  5. Joe DiGenova on WMAL interview this AM -- says his understanding is that Dannehey's role with Durham was running the "taint team."


    1. I think he's just repeating SWC and Sara, but it makes sense, because on a case like this one that role is crucial.