Barr names Connecticut prosecutor to investigate Russian probe's origins: report
Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrTrump lashes out at Dem talk of ‘constitutional crisis’ Dems warn of ‘constitutional crisis’ but wary of impeachment Schiff dismisses Trump’s threat to investigate Biden MORE has reportedly assigned a federal prosecutor in Connecticut to evaluate the origins of the investigation into Russian election interference and alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
The New York Times, citing two people familiar with the matter, reported on Monday night that John H. Durham, U.S. attorney in Connecticut, had been tapped by Barr to examine the probe’s inception. The newspaper noted that the inquiry is the third publicly known investigation focused on the FBI’s counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign.
DOJ inspector general Michael E. Horowitz is currently reviewing how investigators used wiretap applications and informants, as well as whether political bias motivated decision making.
John W. Huber, the United States attorney in Utah, is also examining aspects of the investigation, The Times noted.
A spokesman for Durham’s office and the Department of Justice (DOJ) declined a request for comment from The Times. DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
Durham was nominated by Trump in 2017 and has served as a lawyer within the Justice Department for nearly 40 years, according to The Times. He has a history of performing special investigations.
For example, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey assigned Durham to conduct a probe of the Central Intelligence Agency in 2008. The probe related to the agency destroying videotapes that showed terrorism suspects being tortured.
Bloomberg News reported in April that Barr had formed a team to review the actions of the Justice Department and FBI leading up to the Russia investigation. He told Congress around that time that he was reviewing” the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016.”
He also testified before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that he believed “spying” took place.
“But the question is whether it was adequately predicated and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that,” he said.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said last week that he wouldn’t use “spying” to describe lawful investigative activities taken up by the FBI.
Durham’s new assignment comes just weeks after the Justice Department released special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE‘s report, which detailed the findings of his 22-month investigation into President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates fight Trump rollback of Obama lightbulb rules Authorities investigating shooting near Trump resort in Florida Trump: ‘China is dreaming’ Biden, other Dems get elected MORE.
Mueller’s investigation did not uncover evidence to conclude that a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow took place. But the report noted that Mueller could not come to a conclusive determination in regards to whether the president obstructed justice.
UPDATED 9:06 p.m.