Jake Sullivan’s Wife Pressured to Recuse Herself from Durham Probe While Working for DOJ

FILE - This Nov. 11, 2009 file photo shows then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Ng Han Guan/AP Photo

Jake Sullivan’s wife, Margaret Goodlander, is under pressure to recuse herself from Special Counsel John Durham’s Trump-Russia probe, which involves her husband who worked for the 2016 Clinton campaign.

As Durham investigates the Russia Hoax perpetrated on Americans after Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, Jake Sullivan, who serves as President Biden’s national security adviser and is named in an indictment involving the probe, is married to Goodlander, an attorney who works for the Justice Department under Attorney General Marek Garland.

The Durham probe is overseen by Garland, which presents a conflict of interest for Goodlander, whose boss has authority over Durham’s investigative budget, scope, and release of the probe’s outstanding report.

While Sullivan has not been reportedly indicted for any crime related to the Russia Hoax, “the national security adviser could be a witness for the investigation given that he was a foreign policy adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.

“Durham’s report could also reveal embarrassing details about Sullivan’s work on the campaign to dig up dirt on Donald Trump’s possible links to Russia,” the publication added.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told the publication Goodlander must formally recuse herself from Durham’s investigation to remove any conflict of interest that may arise during the ongoing probe involving her husband.

“The Justice Department’s standing guidance calls for employees to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, especially when it comes to ongoing criminal investigations,” Grassley said.

“It’s in Garland’s best interest—and he’s obligated—to be transparent about whether his department is walling off officials who have a real or even perceived conflict, just as prior administrations have done,” he added.

Jason Foster, founder and president of Empower Oversight, a watchdog group, told the Free Beacon Goodlander’s recusal would be “no imposition” on the Justice Department, while her recusal would build public reassurance that the probe is carried out justly.

“It would be no imposition on [Goodlander] or AG Garland to simply recuse herself from providing any advice to him in relation to that investigation—and thus reassure the public that she will continue to have no role in the future,” Foster said.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø


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