In October, U.S. Attorney General William Barr has tapped U.S. attorney John Durham as the Justice Department’s special counsel to continue looking at the roots of the Russia-Trump probe.
Barr announced this designation during an Associated Press interview Dec. 1.
The move is regarded as more protection of Durham’s investigation, which first started in May 2019. Durham is a Connecticut U.S. attorney looking at the CIA and FBI’s Trump-related intelligence activities during the Obama/Biden administration.
Barr tapped Durham Oct. 19, using the legal statute developed for the special counsel’s investigation into the Trump/Russia former FBI Director Robert Mueller spearheaded.
According to Barr, Durham should have finished the investigation by summer, but the COVID-19 pandemic slowed him down.
Barr said he appointed Durham before the presidential election to ensure they could continue with the work regardless of what the election outcome would be. With Barr’s order, Durham is permitted to continue investigating any person, including federal officials or employees, that committed violations related to intelligence, counter-intelligence, etc., aimed at 2016 presidential campaigns, people associated with the campaigns and people associated with the Trump administration.
According to the order, the investigation could look at activities that occurred with the Mueller probe and FBI Crossfire Hurricane investigation. This investigation was a code name into the Trump/Russia link. Former FBI Director James Comey began the investigation but was fired by Trump, which is when Mueller took over.
Barr’s order ensures a confidential report is mandatory under the statute. The report will then be presented to the attorney general.
Although the Durham investigation is happening away from public scrutiny, the veteran prosecutor is looking at the findings that the FBI misled a federal court to attain warrants to keep an eye pm Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.
On Dec. 9, the IG released a report saying the FBI had made at least 17 grave mistakes and omissions in their applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants against the aide. A number of the mistakes came from how the FBI handled the information former British spy Christopher Steele gathered. The Clinton campaign and DNC had hired Steele to look into the Trump campaign and his ties to Russia.
Many of his allegations, put together in a dossier, were debunked or still have not been corroborated.
Durham has conducted investigations on the CIA assessment the Russian government had interfered with the 2016 Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton presidential election, helping him to win. Durham has already interviewed John Brennan, a former CIA director.
In interviews, Barr said Durham had discovered some disturbing evidence about the conduct of the FBI in regards to the Trump investigation. He said the FBI did spy on the Trump campaign in 2016. According to Barr, the Durham investigation is looking at the FBI’s activities during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
Barr did not say if Durham will be issuing indictments, but the probe has already brought criminal charges against Kevin Clinesmith, a former FBI lawyer. Clinesmith had changed an email from the CIA regarding the relationship Page had with the spy agency, which he pled guilty for.