Attorney General William Barr has appointed a U.S. attorney to examine the origins of the Russia investigation. He wants to determine if intelligence collection involving the Trump campaign was “lawful and appropriate,” a person who is familiar with this issue reported to the Associated Press on Monday.
John Durham, the U.S. Attorney in Connecticut, was asked to determine if the government’s methods of collecting intelligence involving the 2016 Trump campaign were not only in line with the law, but done in the appropriate manner. Trump and his supporters have seized on both to accuse the Justice Department and the FBI of unlawfully spying on his campaign.
The appointment 0f this attorney comes about a month after Barr told Congress he believed “spying did occur” against the Trump campaign. The attorney general did not provide any details.
Barr may have been referring to a surveillance warrant the FBI obtained on ex-Trump associate Carter Page and the use of an FBI informant to look into former Trump campaign foreign police adviser George Papadopoulos.
Durham has previously investigated law enforcement corruption, the destruction of CIA videotapes and the Boston FBI’s relationship with mobsters.
There is another investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general into the Russia probe’s origin underway, and it should be done in May or June, Barr has said.
Congressional Republicans are also planning to look into how the investigation began and whether there are any legal concerns. The agency’s watchdog is also examining the Russia probe’s origins and Barr has said he expects the watchdog report to be done in May or June.
The recently concluded investigation from special counsel Robert Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and the Kremlin that might have changed the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
In nominating Durham for his position in Connecticut, the White House said he and other nominees for U.S. attorney jobs share Trump’s vision for “making America safe again.”
Durham was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2018. In addition to conducting the inquiry, Durham will continue to serve as the chief federal prosecutor in Connecticut.
Credit: NY Post