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Barr's appointment of John Durham as Particular Counsel seems to be unlawful

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said Barr's appointment of Durham as special adviser is against DOJ rules.

Chairman Nadler said in a statement to PoliticusUSA:

This order only further undermines the credibility of the Justice Department under Attorney General Barr's tenure. On the face of it, this appointment appears to violate the Department's regulations, which, among other things, stipulate that "the Special Counsel should be selected from outside the United States government". The U.S. seated attorney for the Connecticut District just isn't eligible for the job. In addition, the Attorney General has provided no real explanation for his decision to appoint a special adviser at this point or for his decision to postpone notifying Congress until today.

And let's not lose sight of the bigger picture: in the dwindling days of the Trump administration, the attorney general has again used the powers of his office to settle old bills for the president. The order is another desperate attempt to fuel President Trump's fixation on events that have been investigated time and again, including by the department's independent inspector general. It's a distraction to divert attention from the president's failure to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and his resounding defeat in the presidential election.

I asked the attorney general to call me and promptly provide an explanation for this order.

If the appointment violates the DOJ's guidelines, nothing will stop the next attorney general from revoking the appointment and closing Durham. Barr and Trump are betting that shutting down Durham would make it seem like Biden is hiding something and damaging his presidency.

The Durham Special Counsel appointment was about sabotaging Joe Biden.

Barr, like anyone outside of Trump's name, has known for months that Biden would likely win the election, so Durham's appointment was an act of sabotage deserving of being undone by the next attorney general.

For more discussions on this story, join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC groups.

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Mr. Easley is the Founder / Senior Editor, White House Press Pool, and a Congressional Correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a bachelor's degree in political science. His thesis focused on public order 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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