Attorney General Barr Orders US Attorney to Investigate Origins of Russia Probe
AG William Barr has appointed a federal prosecutor to examine Trump-Russia probe genesis
Attorney General William Barr has ordered a top Connecticut prosecutor to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, according to reports.
AG Barr has picked US Attorney John Durham to determine if the government’s practices while collecting intelligence concerning the 2016 Trump campaign were “lawful and appropriate,” the Associated Press reported, citing a source.
Prior to this appointment, Barr told Congress last month that he believed “spying did occur” against Donald Trump's campaign, but didn't elaborate on the details.
He may have been referring to the use of an FBI informant to look into the Trump campaign's former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and a FISA surveillance warrant the FBI obtained to spy on ex-Trump aide Carter Page.
Durham has previously conducted investigations into law enforcement corruption, the Boston FBI’s relationship with mobsters, and the destruction of CIA videotapes.
The choice for Durham in Connecticut to lead the project was revealed in a report by the New York Times.
The appointement of Durham will make it the third known federal probe dedicated to unearthing information about the genesis of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, which was later wrapped into special counsel Robert Mueller's effort.
According to the Washington Times, Durham, a Trump nominee who has been a Justice Department lawyer for decades, has prior experience working as a special prosecutor investigating alleged wrongdoing by national security officials.
Durham’s office and the Justice Department have yet to make a public announcement on the news.
Barr has questioned whether the Justice Department behaved appropriately during the federal Russia investigation.
He has also riled up Democrats with his talk about spying.
“I think spying did occur,” Barr said last month before the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“The question is whether it was adequately predicated.
"And I’m not suggesting that it wasn’t adequately predicated. But I need to explore that.”
Barr has said he is working closely with Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is investigating alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse.
U.S. Attorney John Huber is also conducting an investigation into the federal Russia probe.
In Congress, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is spearheading a FISA probe.
Trump nominated Durham for his current position in 2017, and Durham has conducted special investigations under administrations of both parties, according to the Times.