The New York Times reports that Attorney General William Barr has assigned John Durham, the United States Attorney in Connecticut (and a Trump appointee) to look into the origins of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation.
According to the report, Durham “has a history of serving as a special prosecutor investigating potential wrongdoing among national security officials.”
Durham’s investigation of the investigators is the third ongoing look at what spurred the FBI to get a FISA warrant on Carter Page, a Trump campaign volunteer who was never accused of a crime.
The Justice Department inspector general is nearing the conclusion of his investigation into the FBI’s use of FISA applications and confidential sources in connection with the Trump-Russia probe. And former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in November 2017, asked John Huber, the U.S. attorney in Utah, to examine “whether any matters not currently under investigation warrants the opening of an investigation.”
Democrats should be worried, said a former Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration:
“If I were the Democrats I would be quite worried,” former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham Monday night.
And the reason why is, by appointing a U.S. attorney, Attorney General Barr is essentially signaling that he thinks it’s possible that criminal violations occurred in the start of the whole investigation into any kind of Trump-Russian collusion.
As Judge Barr said, there is already an inspector general investigation that’s going to come to a conclusion. That’s what you would do if you were just interested in reforming the way the department does things, the way decisions were made.
But you wouldn’t go with a U.S. Attorney like Durham, someone of his stature, unless the attorney general thinks actually something criminal might have happened, that someone might have violated the law, that there might have been malfeasance, that people at the FBI or the justice department were acting out of partisan motives, not just out of incompetence or stupidity or they were duped by the Russians or Steele or the English or by the Clinton campaign.
So if you are a Democrat, I think you would be really worried to see the appointment of a career prosecutor like this.
Last month, Attorney General William Barr told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, “Yes, I think spying did occur” on the Trump campaign.
“But, the question is whether it was predicated — adequately predicated — and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that,” Barr continued.
“I think it’s my obligation. Congress is usually very concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane and I want to make sure that happened. We have a lot of rules about that.”
Barr told the hearing on April 10, “I haven’t set up a team yet, but I do have — I have in mind having some colleagues help me pull all this information together and–and let me know whether there’s some areas that should be looked at. And I also want to make clear, this is not launching an investigation of the FBI.”
Barr said he thinks “there was probably a failure among a group of leaders there at the (FBI’s) upper echelon.”