A prosecutor who was helping lead the investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe has resigned from the US justice department.
Nora Dannehy was a top federal prosecutor on a team led by US attorney John Durham of Connecticut, who was appointed last year to lead a probe into how the FBI and other agencies set out to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and whether the Trump campaign had coordinated with the Kremlin.
A spokesman for the US attorney’s office in Connecticut confirmed Ms Dannehy’s departure, which was first reported by The Hartford Courant.
Her departure could complicate the final stretch of an investigation already slowed by the coronavirus pandemic but eagerly anticipated by US president Donald Trump and his supporters to uncover what they see as wrongdoing within the FBI during the Russia investigation.
It leaves the investigative team without one of its veteran prosecutors ahead of key decisions required before the probe wraps up.
Mr Durham’s appointment by US attorney general William Barr was made public soon after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian election interference.
In the year and a half since, he has questioned former law enforcement and intelligence officials – former CIA director John Brennan among them – about decisions made during the course of the Russia probe.
Ms Dannehy had been a top leader on the team, present for interviews with such officials, including Mr Brennan.
The investigation has not yet produced the results that Trump supporters had been hoping for.
There is also pressure to wrap up the inquiry soon given that justice department policy frowns on investigative steps that could affect an election, though Mr Barr has said that policy would not apply here since Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is not a target of the probe.
It is also not clear that Mr Durham’s work would be permitted to continue if Donald Trump loses in November and Democratic leadership assumes control at the Justice Department.
Mr Trump himself has indicated that he wants results soon, saying at a White House press conference on Thursday that Mr Durham was a “very, very respected man” and that his work would involve a “report or maybe it’s much more than that”.